20th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I am prompted to submit my question to the Minister for Immigration because of the appalling number of fatal road accidents among European immigrants while riding motor cycles. In many instances the victims have been survived by widows and children. Many of these accidents are due to ignorance on the part of immigrants of our road geography, traffic codes and language and also because licences are not difficult to obtain. In view of this great loss of life, will the Minister confer with State police departments in order to see whether regulations may be gazetted to prohibit the issue of motor cyclists’ licences to European immigrants until they have been resident in Australia for from three to six months during which period, as the result of instruction and experience, they may be enabled to understand our language and traffic codes? I point out that in Holland traffic proceeds on the right-hand side of the road, whereas in Australia it proceeds on the left-hand side.
– Some information on the subject that the honorable member has raised has been - conveyed to European immigrants in the publications that circulate among them. However, I shall examine all the matters that are contained in his question in order to see what information I can give to him.
– -Recent official statements have indicated that in the future a greater proportion of immigrant labour will be provided for primary industries. I understand that some immigrants have already arrived under this classification. Will the Minister for Immigration indicate the countries in which these immigrants are being selected and the proportion of experienced personnel that is likely to be made available for this purpose? Will allocations be made in accordance with the requirements of each State? May applications for the employment of these new Australians be submitted to the district employment officers of the Commonwealth Employment Service !
– At present, the selected immigrants, suitable for rural work, who are coming to Australia under the Government’s own scheme are being drawn primarily from Holland and Italy. As no substantial source of rural workers was available in the United Kingdom,” we found it necessary to turn to other sources,. The number made available will be determined largely by the requests that we receive from the farming community in Australia. Already, a few thousand have been selected and according to the volume of requests the number can be increased should that course be found to be desirable. We have advertised publicly inviting farmers who wish to obtain labour of this type to contact district employment officers of the Commonwealth Employment Service. The allocation of these immigrants among the States will depend largely upon the demand forthcoming from each State; but I shall certainly ensure that the requests that are received from each State shall be dealt with equitably.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Immigration relating to the deceitful attempt tha>t im being made) at the present time, by (he Government of. Yugoslavia to induce former Yugoslavs to, return to that, country.. In view of. the fact that not many of. those- people study, Australian newspapers and read, the: announcements, in them,, will he- arrange; fox notices to be. prepared, by his department, and exhibited, informing: Yugoslav* of the unfortunate results, of. the previous: attempt by. the Yugoslav Government to induce even naturalized persons to return to Yugoslavia, of their inability to return’ to Australia and of the fact that I had’ to suggest in this House invoking the assistance of. the United Nations in order tosecure the return to Australia of naturalized people who had formerly been Yugoslavs, and thus stop worthy naturalized citizens- from being forced under false, .promises to return to Yugo-, slavia?’
– My statement on. this subject waa widely, published, I believe,, bat I shall, give, consideration to the suggestion, that. has: been made by the honor- . able. member in order to ascertain whether any further notification should be givento Yugoslavs in Australia.
– Can the Minister for Civil Aviation inform me whether representations by the North-West Whaling Company for the reconditioning: of the Point Cloates landing strip in order to enable DG3’ aircraft to land, and thereby give to the company and’ the population that has been established by this- enterprising effort, a regular air. service, has yet been finally considered ? If so, when will the reconstruction work be commenced’?.
– It is not the. policy of the. Department of Civil Aviation ta construct landing grounds or landing strips except on. established and recognized air. routes, and then principally the inter-capital, city routes.
– The Point. Cloates, aix strip is, a licensed landing ground.
– Yea. The responsibility for other aerodromes rests with the local authority concerned, unless a service has been established, there for. a. period of time which, the. department considers^ warrants it taking’ over the, landing ground. That provision does not apply in-, respect of the landing ground at Point Cloates. Technical” assistance, and plant can be made available to the company, but it will1 be required’ to- pay the’ net cost of the use of the equipment..
– My question to the Postmaster-General is> of great interest to persons waa send food parcels to Great Britain… As thos people, of that country have recently suffered” drastic, food cuts as a. result of their economic difficulties, and as many thousands of Australians sincerely desire to send food parcels to them, wilt the Postmaster-General discuss the position with the- postal authorities-, in Great Britain with- a view to ascertaining whether the high postal rates on such parcels may be reduced ?
– Tie- cost of. conveying food parcels- from. Australia to the recipients in Great Britain is. shared by the British and’ the Australian postal authorities respectively-, and our share of the. receipts, is not sufficient, to cover the actual costs. As a matter of fact, the Postmaster-General’s. Department makes a loss on every parcel that it conveys to Great Britain, but does not mind that.. The- Australian postal authorities have discussed: the’ matter from time, to time with the’ British postal’ authorities, who- have not. been amenable to. the: suggestion that: .their share, of the charges- might be reduced!,
– I understand that a bill is to be introduced relative to the price of sugar. Will the- Prime Minister, who. is representing, the Treasurer during his absence abroad, assure the House that the Minister who will have charge of that bill will inform the Parliament of. the. percentage of the receipts– from the increased charge that will.be allotted to the Colonial. Sugar Refining Company?
– The matter to which the honorable- gentleman has referred ha: yet to come before Cabinet and. be determined by it. Until then, I shall not be in a position to answer bis- question.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister, who is representing the Treasurer. I point OUt by way of explanation, that the report of the Commissioner of Taxation, which was laid on (she table- of the House last week mentioned,, among1 other- things, the names of persons who were suspected of income tax evasion and of having furnished false returns. I mention, in passing,, that one of the persons named in that report has been dead for a number of years. That list of names was also published in the. daily press. Is the Prime Minister aware that the persons concerned have not seen that report to date, that some of them have no knowledge of its contents, and that they are unable to obtain copies of the document so that they may answer the serious charges that have been made against them? Will the right honorable gentleman info ito me whether it is the normal practice to issue such news to the press before either the Parliament or the public concerned has been informed of it?
– This information was not issued to the press. It is contained in a report that was tabled- in this .House and was not available to the press until, first, the paper had been tabled, and’, secondly, the House had voted, that it be printed. When the House voted that it be printed, it then became a parliamentary document and was available to the press and the public. If, in. any individual ease, somebody wishes to have a copy of the report–
– There are no copies.
– I am rather astonished to learn, tha.t there are no copies. If that is the position, I shall certainly make it my business- to see that copies shall be made available at the earliest possible moment for distribution to- persons who require them.
– In view of the widespread misunderstanding that exists with regard to- the 40 per. cent, initial’ depreciation’ deduction for income tax purposes on farm equipment, will the Prime- Minister, in his capacity as- Acting Treasurer, make’ it clear whether it is still allowable in respect, of such equipment thai is purchased during the current financial year ?
– The Treasurer, in the course of his budget speech, announced that the special initial depreciation provision was to terminate as from the 1st JulY of last. year. Since then I have made an announcement that affects plant of certain- types which would have been installed and had the benefit of that deduction. I am not speaking with precision on the matter, but the. particular class of plant concerned was plant that had been ordered within that period, and was in course of delivery ; that is, it had been appropriated, to the contract, and, in fact, was installed after the 1st July of last year but before the 1st July of this year. Cabinet agreed to that modification and. it will be embodied in legislation that will be introduced before the end of the financial year.
– In view of the Prime Minister’s reply to my question, I ask him. whether he will consider the reintroduction of the special 40 per cent, depreciation allowance for farm equipment that is bought during the current financial year by those persons on the land who have lost their machinery and plant in. bush fires.
– There have been various proposals of the kind indicated; by the honorable member for Indi tha.t have financial implications in. relation to primary industries and food production. Cabinet has already given some consideration to those matters,, but it is impossible to consider them finally except in the pattern of the general financial and economic policy. As; the honorable gentleman is probably aware, the Treasurer will return later this week, and we shall then hold a series of financial discussions arising out of his visit abroad and concerning some of these particular local problems. Therefore, I am not at present in a position to make any final statement on such, a point.
– I ask the Postmaster-General whether the regulations; of his department require telephone subscribers to pay to the department the cost of telephones that have been destroyed by fire. If so, will he review the regulations in the light of the recent bush fires and prevent the sending of accounts by his department to persons who have lost all their possessions in the fires and who now have been warned that they must pay the cost of the department’s instruments? In view of the fact that it is within the knowledge of the PostmasterGeneral that these citizens were in no way responsible for the disaster that beset .them, will he instruct that the department must bear the cost of the destroyed instruments, as bush fire sufferers already have sufficient losses to bear?
– This matter has not previously been brought to my notice either directly or indirectly. I shall have full inquiries made and will consider all aspects of the honorable member’s question.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that the Commonwealth Bank recently circulated a statement in which it was announced that the Mortgage Bank Department had not sufficient funds to undertake the endorsement of ballot applications to guarantee financial assistance to persons who wished to enter land ballots ? In view of the serious position in which this will place a number of persons, particularly ex-servicemen, who wish to go on the laud, will the right honorable gentleman make investigations in order to ascertain whether anything can be done to enable the Mortgage Bank Department of the Commonwealth Bank to have funds available for this purpose?
– I bad not heard of the matter to which the honorable member has referred. I shall ascertain the position promptly and will advise him accordingly.
-Is the Prime Minister aware that the Commonwealth Bank is refusing to give overdraft accommodation to municipal councils for the construction of private streets? Can it be inferred that this is a matter of general policy, and will the right honorable gentleman undertake to investigate the position in order to ascertain the effect of this action on housing generally? I refer in particular to the needs of the council of the City of Williamstown.
– I shall ask the Commonwealth Bank to give to me a statement of the reasons that have actuated it in the case referred to by the honorable member, and in regard to the principle that is being generally applied in such cases.
– Will the Minister for Social Services give consideration to the making of arrangements for invalids who have been receiving the invalid pension but who have been adjudged to be less than S5 per cent, incapacitated, to continue to receive the pension until suitable employment is found for them instead of enforcing the present system under which such persons arc allowed to receive only the sickness benefit or the unemployment benefit, the rate of which is much lower than the invalid pension?
– The honorable member’s question poses two problems. Under the existing legislation the invalid pension is paid to persons who are So per cent, or more incapacitated. It seems to me that, if we accept pensioners on that basis, it would be wrong to taper off the qualification at the other end. Furthermore, provision is made for invalid pensioners under my department’s rehabilitation scheme, and a person who has been in receipt of pension but whose disability falls below the level of 85 per cent, incapacity can usually obtain help until he is able to go back to work. I shall be very pleased to consider any individual cases that the honorable member has in mind if he will supply to me the relevant facts.
– Since pensioners and parents of children will be hardest hit by the announced dearer food policy of the Government, will the Minister for Social Services say whether he has submitted any plan to Cabinet to provide for increases of pensions and child endowment to meet the increased cost of food ? If so, will he indicate what he thinks are the prospects of the plan receiving the approval of the Cabinet, and if he has not submitted such a plan will he undertake to do so ?
– If the honorable member will undertake to let me have a copy of the plan for dearer food that he alleges the Cabinet is considering, I shall be pleased to answer his question.
– In view of the Prime Minister’s prompting of the Minister for Social Services when he was replying to my question about food, will the right honorable gentleman assure the House that the Government is opposed to any policy that will lead to dearer food for the people?
– The honorable member for Yarra will not misunderstand me if I say that it is not my practice - nor do I intend it to be - to make statements of policy in answer to questions. I did say to my colleague, and I now say to the honorable member, that no statement of any such policy has been made by the Government, or on behalf of it.
– I ask the Minister for Social Services whether it is a fact that his department has refused to pay sickness benefit to an eligible applicant because medical advice suggests that the person is eligible for the invalid pension. Does he not realize that the applicant is suffering severe hardship pending the determination of the claim for invalid pension ?
– Many thousands of claims are made for sickness and other benefits and it would be utterly impossible for me to keep details of them in my mind. However, if the honorable member will let me have the facts of the case that he has mentioned, I shall inquire into it.
– Is the procedure that I have mentioned in line with the policy of the department?
– Of course not.
– Since the Minister for Social Services has declared that it is not government policy to withhold payment of sickness benefit because it is considered that an applicant may be eligible for the invalid pension, will the Minister ascertain why the practice of withholding payment is being observed by his department throughout Australia and will he issue instructions for its immediate termination?
– The honorable member is splitting straws. Unemployment benefit and sickness benefit belong to one class of social service, and the invalid pension belongs to another class. One class is temporary and the other is virtually permanent. When a claim for . sickness benefit is received and the applicant appears to be permanently incapacitated, he receives the benefit until his entitlement for an invalid pension is considered. Then, if the application for a pension is successful, an appropriate adjustment is made.
– That is not 30.
– Gan the Prime Minister give to the House any information about the sum of £250,000 that has been set aside to aid former Australian prisoners of war?
– The honorable member was good enough to tell me that he intended to ask me this question. The answer is that the Prisoners of War Trust Fund was established to assist prisoners of war of the 1939-45 War. Trustees were appointed and provision was made that the fund should be used for those persons considered by the Board of Trustees to have some special disability, not common to other members of the Services, which was the direct result of their war service. The trustees met and decided that in order to insure that all exprisoners of war shall have an equal opportunity to state their cases and to make claims against the fund, a circular letter should be sent to each of the ex-prisoners of war explaining the purpose of the fund. That letter is now being sent out, and, indeed, I think that perhaps it has now gone out to the last-known private address of approximately 25,000 former prisoners of war. All applications for grants from the fund will be examined by the trustees, who, in the light of the evidence submitted by the applicants, will make their decisions about the amount to be granted in any individual case.
– My question is directed to the Minister for the Interior. In view of tie fact that both in the city and in the country fire might, under certain circumstances, form an important part of any scheme of aggression against Australia, should not protection against fire form ,an important part of ourdeffence plans ? What progress has been made with the development of a civil defence organization to deal with fire hazards, both those that may be caused by an enemy and ‘those that occur from natural causes? Will the Government give sympathetic consideration to the suggestion that it should co-operate with volunteer bodies to provide the necessary defences against fire and to -provide the necessary equipment for use against fire?
– The Government has already given very serious consideration to the matter mentioned by the honorable member, and considerable progress has been made in certain directions. At this stage 1 do not think that I can make a statement on the matter in elaboration of what I said last week.
– I ask the Minister for the Navy whether it is a fact that some Naval Reserve cadets who had already been accepted by the Naval Reserve and had voluntarily undertaken a good deal of naval training were drafted into the Army as national service trainees when their time arrived to do their national -service? If that is a fact does the Minister agree that those youths who have had the enthusiasm and public spirit to join voluntarily the Naval Reserve cadets should make the best .material for the Navy and should be given first preference in naval training? Will the Minister look into this matter in order to ascertain whether such cadets may be given that preference in the future?
– The naval cadet reserves are given first priority for draftjug into the Royal Australian Navy when undergoing their recruit training. We have had no example of any cadet being refused entry to the Royal Australian Navy. We welcome them :a;nd believe ‘that they provide the best field from which we can obtain future recruits. I assure the honorable member :that unless ‘there are medical reasons or some adverse report >on a cadet’s record, they are automatically drafted into .the Navy when undergoing Meruit training. If the honorable mem.ber .for Evans -will ,give to me details of any specific cases I .shall make inquiries and shall reply to his representations.
– Is the ‘Minister for Supply .aware that Holland Mills Limited, of Villawood, a modernly equipped textile factory, can manufacture cotton drill similar to that which has been imported from Japan? Is the Minister aware that unlimited cotton material is available from Rougley .and Company, in Brisbane, for Holland Mills Limited .and other factories? Will the Minister give .preference to Australian .manufacturers for the supply of cotton drill in view of the degree of unemployment in the textile industry?
– My department will certainly give preference to Australian manufacturers for the supply of cotton textiles for the Services as long .as those textiles comply with departmental specifications. I propose to give more details on this subject in an answer that I have prepared to a question by the honorable member for Darling.
By leave, I take this opportunity to reply to a question that the honorable member for Darling addressed to me last Thursday. He asked why my department had refused to place orders for khaki drill with an Australian firm, which, he said, had been endeavouring for months to obtain such orders, whereas I had placed such orders with Japanese manufacturers. The honorable gentleman later advised me of the name of the firm in question. I have inquired into the matter. I find that the honorable gentleman has been misinformed. Late last year tenders were called, and many were received, including nine from Australian manufacturers. Eight of the nine Australian tenderers received contracts to the maximum of their capacity, totalling 2,500,000 yards. That represented the full Australian capacity, with the exception of the case to which the honorable member referred, and it would keep those firms in production until ‘the end of 1952. The remaining Australian ‘tenderer was the firm that has been mentioned by the honorable member. It tendered for’ 160,000 yards of the material. Its first attempt to comply with the specifications failed to do so, because its sample was not up to them. We did not reject that tender, but asked the manufacturer for another sample. He gave to us a second sample, ‘and then a third sample. We still did not reject the tender, but gave to the firm the assistance of our own inspection officers in -an endeavour to -get a better sample that would comply with the specifications. On the 15th February last, .the .managing director of the firm called at the office of the Director of ^Contracts :in .Melbourne, and said that he greatly appreciated the help that our inspection officers had given to him in his attempt to produce a sample of drill up ‘to .the specification. The .firm is about to give to us another sample. I inform the honorable member and the House that as soon as a satisfactory sample is given to us, which I believe the firm will be able to do shortly, it will be given a contract for the quantity for which it has tendered, subject to the usual price-fixing regulations. That will mean that the entire Australian capacity will have been absorbed, and that every tender submitted by an Australian manufacturer will have been taken up by my department. Two things, therefore, emerge from that position. One is that no contract was offered abroad by my department for this cotton material until all the Australian capacity had been absorbed. The other is that, far from being offhand with and rejecting the tender of this firm, I consider that we have treated it with patience and loving care.
– Will the Prime Minister make a statement that will correct an error that has crept into the singing of the National Anthem ? Printed versions of the anthem give the last line ‘as -
God aave the Queen.
I ‘am told, however, that the last line :of the anthem as sung at a memorial service held in King’s Hall, Parliament House, which was broadcast recently, seemed to listeners to be -
God save our Queen.
I suggest that if there is any public ignorance on this point the Prime Minister might well correct it.
– I do .not know that I shall attempt the function of correcting the error. Every time that I have seen the anthem ^printed the last line o’f each verse has been given as -
God save the Queen.
I invariably sing- r
God .save our .Queen, and .shall continue to do so.
– Will the Prime Minister say whether it is a fact that a number of temporary employees of the Public Service, many of whom are ex-servicemen with many years of service in the Public Service, have been, or are to be in the near future, dismissed, and their places taken by girls, many of ‘whom are juniors ? If so, will the Prime Minister state approximately the number of men already affected and the number due for early dismissal?
– I am not aware of any such proposal, but I shall investigate the matter and advise the honorable member of the result.
– I ask the Minister for External Affairs, who is Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, whether he is aware that a well-known dentist in Perth has perfected a system, known as the P.E.N, system, for the safer wiring of domestic and industrial portable electrical appliances, and that the system has already received the endorsement of leading electrical engineers in Western Australia? In view of that fact and the additional fact that the system has been bef ore the ^Standards Association of Australia for a considersable time, but has ,n0t yet been accepted by it because, I understand, a patent has been applied for, will lie advise me whether it is possible to have the system investigated by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in order to hasten the day when unnecessary loss of life which, in many instances, is apparently the direct result of obsolete wiring systems, will be avoided ?
– I am without personal knowledge of the matter that the honorable gentleman has mentioned, but I shall certainly discuss it with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization if he will give to me any information about it that he possesses. I shall ask the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization whether investigation of such a matter comes within its province and, if not, what other authority it can recommend to investigate the matter, which is Certainly one of public interest.
– I point out to the Prime Minister that at the conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers that was held in August last the Queensland Government placed a request before the Australian Government for a subsidy and for other assistance for the coalmining industry in that State, particularly for the development of the Blair Athol and Collinsville coal-fields. Nearly twelve months ago, an investigator representing the Australian Government visited certain coal-fields in that State and the Minister for National Development visited the same fields approximately five months ago. Having regard to those facts, and to the anxiety of the people of Queensland who are anxious to know whether the Australian Government intends to assist in the development and full utilization of these coal deposits, will the right honorable gentleman inform the House of what assistance his Government is prepared to render to the coal-mining industry in that State?
– As I have replied on previous occasions to questions with respect to the Collinsville coal-field, I see no occasion to repeat what I then said. As the honorable member knows, the Blair
Athol and certain other fields nave engaged the close personal attention of the Minister for National Development. The matter is not yet ripe for any decision because his investigations are not yet complete. It will have occurred to the honorable member that such investigations cannot be brought to a conclusion very quickly, since the government of which he was a member had eight years to make them and did not achieve any result.
-(Hon. Archie Cameron). - I have to advise the House that I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General the following reply from the Private Secretary to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the .Second to the resolution of the House which was transmitted to the Queen on Her Majesty’s accession to the Throne : -
I have laid before The Queen the unanimous resolution of the House of Representatives. Please convey to the Members Her Majesty’s sincere thanks for their congratulations on her accession and the assurance of their loyalty.
– Last year, the Parliament amended the War Service Homes Act by increasing from ?2,000 to ?2,750 the maximum loan that could be made available by the War Service Homes Division for the construction of homes under its supervision. It was also provided that loans that were sought for the purchase of existing houses encumbered by mortgage would be approved in certain instances only, but that persons who wished to purchase an existing war service home could borrow up to ?2,000 for that purpose. I ask the Minister for Social Services to say whether any alteration has been made in respect of those provisions. Is it not a fact that, at present, a person cannot obtain a loan even up to ?2,000 for the purpose of purchasing an existing building with the result that many persons who cannot undertake new construction are denied such accommodation?
– The policy of the War Service Homes Division has not been changed in any respect whatever
This Government, since it assumed office, lias an astounding record of achievement in the construction of war service homes. During the year before we came into office, the previous Government had established a record by providing 6,000 war service homes.
– Order ! The Minister is going beyond the scope of the. question.
– The Government is continuing to improve upon its record, and this year will build a greater number of homes.
– Order ! The Minister must either answer the question or exercise his right to refrain from doing so.
– I repeat that the policy of the War Service Homes Division has not been altered in any respect whatever. However, so great has the demand for war service homes become that the division is being overwhelmed with applications. Consequently, there will obviously be a long waiting list and many applicants will have to be informed that their requirements cannot be met before next June, or July.
– Can the Minister for Social Services state the number of war service homes that has been constructed by the War Service Homes Division since the Government came into office and compare it with the best result that was achieved by the preceding Government ?
– During the year before the present Government came into office, provision was made for 6,084 war service homes at a cost of approximately £8,500,000, whilst during our first year of office provision was made for 15,200 war service homes at a cost of £25,000,000. I am hopeful that during the current year the division will make provision for between 17,000 and 18,000 war service homes at a cost of £27,000,000.
– Is the Minister for Supply in a position to give an answer to the question that I addressed to him on a previous occasion with respect to the allocation of nickel sheet steel in Australia?
– I am sorry to say that I failed to bring the relevant papers with me into the House this afternoon.. I shall supply the details to the honorable member later.
– Hundreds of male persons, all of whom are Australians, are unemployed in northern Queensland, and no new Australians are out of work in that part of the State. I remind the Minister for Immigration that when the mass immigration plan was initiated by his predecessor in office, it was never intended that new Australians should be in employment while Australians were without jobs. Will the honorable gentleman take steps to remove the new Australians from the projects in north Queensland, on which they are now engaged, and allow Australians to occupy those positions? The new Australians can be returned to those projects when the seasonal industries resume operations.
– When a similar question was asked previously, I pointed out that nearly 5,000 jobs were registered as vacant in Queensland, although certainly not in northern Queensland. Most of the new Australian labour that has been supplied to north Queensland has been for seasonal work, and has been transferred elsewhere upon the completion of it. I do not know what projects the honorable member for Herbert has in mind when he suggests that new Australians may be transferred elsewhere in order to make way for Australian workers but I am prepared to examine that matter in order to ascertain whether new Australian labour may be placed in the southern States, and thereby provide occupational opportunities for Australians who reside in north Queensland. If the honorable member will furnish the details. I shall have them carefully examined.
– I ask the Minister for Immigration whether it is true that on an area at Watsonia in Victoria, there is a housing centre for immigrants as well as an emergency centre for Australians. That area was previously held by the military authorities. If the. Australians are to be evicted from the emergency housing: centre on the 1st March, next, what, is to become- of the considerable number of new Australians who. are accommodated on the same area?
– I have not: the details of that matter with me, but I. think that approximately 60 persons are involved in the category mentioned by the honorable1 member for Burke. I understand that, arrangements have been made for them to be transferred, to other accommodation.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Supply. Does Australia import considerable quantities of copper from Africa- and! other countries? Could’ not that position be avoided if a greater effort were made to- find new copper fields in this country ?f Will the Minister stimulate the prospecting for new fields of copper so that Australia may be- sulf-supporting in respect of this important, metal
– It is true that Australia imports large quantities- of copper’ because local production- is not sufficient to meet our needs, which a:re approximately 50,0.00- tons a year. I do not know what; can be done immediately- to increase tha production of copper- in, this country. The real key to the copper position is; coal, and every honorable member knowsthat we are deeply committed to the: increase, of coal production. I assure the honorable, gentleman that the. Government is doing) and will continue to do,, its. utmost to. stimulate copper production, which,, of course, is preferable to theimportation of quantities of that metal.
– My question is sUpplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Cunningham. Last year the present Minister for External Affairs, and the Minister for Trade and Customs visited Mount Isa and the Cloncurry copper fields of western Queensland. The Cloncurry region is one of the most prolific copper fields in Australia..
-Order ! Unless the honorable gentleman proceeds, to put his question, I shall be forced to ask him to resume his seat. He- knows the- rules of the House and he must abide by them.
– Has the: Government decided to implement: any recom mendations that may have;- been, made: b>y the two. Ministers after they had visited the areas, that I have mentioned? Does it intend to take steps; to re-open the copper-producing area, at Cloncurry?
– I join with the honorable member in. stressing, the importance of increased copper production in Australia. The Government at present has under close consideration specific plans for the stimulation of copper production in Australia. I am not in a position to supply the honorable member with details of those plans at the moment, but I hope that a statement may be made on- the subject in the near future.
– In view of the dismissals that are reported, to. be taking place on the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric project, will the Prime Minister give to; the House an assurance that there will be no slowing down of work on. this vital and urgent project,, which is so essential to. the development of Australia. ?
– As I am not personally acquainted with the facts relating to that particular- project, I shall ask the Minister who- is in charge of it to see whether he can provide me to-morrow, with an. answer to the honorable gentleman’s question.
– Can- the Minister for Supply say whether it- is a fact that his department has placed orders for the supply of electric- torches with manufacturers in Hong Kong?: Is it also a f actthat the. Celco Manufacturing Company, of West Ryde in New South Wales, manufacturers of electric: torches, has beencompelled to dismiss a number of ks employees because of lack of ‘ orders?
– I do not know whether the Department of Supply has placed orders- for electric torches in Hong Kong, but i shall ascertain the position and inform the honorable member of it. have some knowledge of the Celco Manufacturing Company, which is- an admirable little manufacturing concern in my own electorate. The honorable gentleman may be sure that I shall ensure that justice shall be done to that firm as well as to every other manufacturer who submits tenders to my department.
– Last NovemberI asked the Minister for Immigration a question in connexion with the issue of passports to persons who had travelled behind the Iron Curtain. Although such persons had been obliged to surrender their passports they were able to return to Australia without them. I asked the Minister whether he could not evolve some more effective means of preventing Australians from adopting this practice and also asked what test was applied to persons who were given passports to go freely behind the Iron Curtain, sometimes as selling agents for strategic materials. Unfortunately, in his reply, the Minister overlooked those two specific questions. I should like to have answers to them now.
– I made a statement to the House on this matter on the last day of meeting last year.
– About 4 o’clock in the morning.
– It was early in the morning, and I shared the discomfort of the honorable member. All I can say now, although I shall be glad to give a copy of my statement to the honorable member, is that the principle that underlay the Government’s revision of policy was that travel should be made as free as possible having regard to the security requirements of this country. The revised a rrangement was that persons who wished to go to those parts of Europe that had been excluded for the purposes of the passports that were originally issued should be granted permission to do so without hindrance upon notification of their intention to do so and their reasons for wishing to do so. That policy applies at the present time.
– The guard that was stationed at the Prime Minister’s Lodge at the time when the Communist Party Dissolution Bill was under con sideration has been retained. As this is a novel precaution that was not deemed to be necessary by any previous Prime Minister, will the right honorable gentleman, for the benefit of visitors to the Australian Capital Territory, arrange for an official ceremony to be associated with the changing of the guard ?
– It is very small wonder that nobody thought of having a gatekeeper at the Prime Minister’s Lodge under previous Prime Ministers, because, as far as I know, I am the only Prime Minister who has lived regularly at the lodge during the last ten years. I can say nothing about the period of time when the lodge was largely unoccupied, but I do know that, if the Prime Minister’s Lodge in Canberra did not have somebody at the gate, it would be the only Prime Minister’s residence in the world in that position. The honorable member, drawing an inspiration from his own feelings, seems to think that the gatekeeper was installed to protect me from the Communists. That is a novel thought.I have been much nearer to hostile Communists in my time than the honorable member ever will be.
Motion (by Mr. McEwen, through Mr. Eric J. Harrison) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill foran act relating to fisheries in certain Australian waters.
Bill presented by Mr. Eric J. Harrison, and read a first time.
Motion (by Mr. McEwen, through Mr. Eric J. Harrison) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill foran act relating to pearl shell, trochus, beche-de-mer and green snail fisheries in certain Australian waters.
Bill presented by Mr. Eric J. Harrison, and read a first time.
Debate resumed from the 22nd February (vide page 297), on motion by Mr. Casey -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– I rise to support this bill, not because I am any more pleased about the peace treaty than is any other honorable member, but because I realize that it has not been possible to include more restrictions than are proposed on Japanese rearmament. Honorable members opposite seem to have the idea that Australia is the only country concerned in this peace treaty, and is the only country that has suffered from Japanese militarism. Let us consider the matter from the point of view of the United States Government. That Government has been for some time maintaining large forces in Japan. It has expended large sums of money in feeding the Japanese people and in restoring the Japanese economy. The United States Government realizes that it cannot continue- to do that indefinitely. The American taxpayer has been asked to meet heavy commitments because of the United States occupation of Japan. Because of its great commitments, both in Europe and for its own defence, the American Government has now decided that it must withdraw from Japan. However, the Japanese have realized that they cannot become selfprotecting within the next five years, and so have granted to America the use of bases in their country. No doubt those bases will be powerfully manned and strongly held.
The United States Government had to approach this matter realistically. The alternative to this treaty was that Japan should be occupied indefinitely, which inevitably would have developed a freedom movement. Then, as it is impossible to subjugate 80,000,000 people for all time, when the Americans ultimately had to leave Japan they would have left in an atmosphere of bitterness and hatred. The American Government apparently believed that it was better to withdraw at once on comparatively friendly terms. If America had not obtained the use of bases in Japan it would have been only a matter of weeks before Russia would have stepped in and “ liberated “ the country as it has already “ liberated “ Czechoslovakia and many other countries. Thus at one blow the enormous economic and war potential of Japan would have fallen into Russian hands. The peace treaty does not contain a clause severely restraining armaments because the Americans realize that a nation can always find ways of overcoming restrictions. That was proved by the actions of Germany after the 1914-18 war. The treaty of Versailles, which ended that war, was a very hard treaty, but that did not prevent the Germans under Hitler from building up a mightly military machine which ultimately almost conquered the world. The United States had to take a risk under this treaty, and the risk has been taken.
I have already said that we are not the only people who suffered from Japanese aggression. We all remember the attack on Pearl Harbour, although, no doubt, the American memory of it is more bitter than ours. A large number of American troops was killed in the Philippines, and many more were made prisoners of the Japanese and as such suffered the same hardships as did our own people. The Americans will not forget that. Although they are now trusting Japan they are certainly keeping their powder dry. If we are realistic we must agree that they could not do otherwise. Although the Americans remember these things about the Japanese let it not be forgotten that they also remember certain actions that were taken by Australia. They remember that, as the result of the action of the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), who is now Leader of the Opposition, but at the time was Minister for External Affairs, they were denied the use of Manus Island and had to abandon a strategic base on which they had expended millions of dollars. They also remember that at San Francisco the right honorable gentleman supported Molotov’s proposal to use Japanese prisoners to build the Port Arthur railway, despite the fact that he must have known that Russia had unlimited man-power and that the release of men from the Port Arthur railway would make available even greater numbers of men to strengthen Russia’s aggressive army, with which it was threatening the west. They remember, too, that the right honorable member for Barton, when president of the General Assembly of the United Nations, interfered with the Berlin air
J if t to the embarrassment of the Governments of Britain and the United States of America. It is pleasing to note, however, that they have forgiven us some of the sins of our erstwhile foreign policy. They have joined with us in” a Pacific pact of friendship and defence with the result that we now have as our friend and protector one of the strongest nations in the world.
Should an honorable member refer to the past misdeeds of the right honorable member for Barton he is invariably accused of making a personal attack upon him. When a person sets himself up as a potential Prime Minister of Australia and a world figure it is essential for us to examine his record in order to ascertain what manner of man he is, lest by some terrible calamity he should become the leader of the government in this country. The right honorable gentleman has had the impertinence and the temerity to say that those who have supported the treaty with Japan are traitors. If he wished to commit an act of treachery against this country he could not do better than he did when he forced the Americans out of Manus Island and when he took the control of New Guinea out of the hands of Australia and placed it in the hands of the United Nations. It is very difficult to penetrate the mind of a person who would want to do such things. Some persons have concluded that the right honorable gentleman was impelled to take these actions in order to gratify his vanity. .1 am inclined to agree with them. I believe that the right honorable gentleman has not forgotten that, when he was Minister for External Affairs, the late President Roosevelt admonished him for his anti-British sentiments. That censure probably has much to do with his attitude towards this treaty. He has stated what he regarded as many reasons why this treaty should not be signed, but he did not say one word about the fact that in the formulation of the treaty the United States and the other Allied nations had to take into consideration the possibility that unless adequate safeguards were taken Russia would move in and rearm Japan, and appoint Moscow-trained Communists to key posi tions. The Leader of the Opposition has been consistent only in preaching the policy propounded by the Tribune.
If we do not sign this treaty, as the Americans ask, “ So what ? “ We shall then be in the position of BerwickonTweed after the conclusion of the Napoleonic war. When the treaty of peace was signed with France, BerwickonTweed, which had declared war on Napoleon, was not mentioned in it, and consequently Berwick-on-Tweed is still technically at war with France. If we do not sign the treaty of peace with Japan our refusal to do so will have just as much effect on the world as has the fact that Berwick-on-Tweed was left out of the treaty with France. Our failure to sign the treaty would probably have serious consequences on the people of this country. What those consequences would be I shall leave to the decision of the conscience of honorable members. One does not need to have a very vivid imagination to realize what could happen if we remained technically at war with Japan for an indefinite period.
The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) has suggested that, as an alternative to the treaty, we should rely upon the Potsdam Agreement: I remind him that that agreement has been so violated by the Soviet Union that it is worthless. Its provisions could not be applied at the present time. Another Opposition member has complained that Japan has not suffered sufficiently for the part it played in the war. Such a. suggestion comes strangely from the representative of a party which, when it was in office, neglected its duty to bring Japanese war criminals to trial. We all remember that the first act of the present Government after it had assumed office in December, 1949, was to deal with an ultimatum that had been received from General Douglas MacArthur that if Australia did not do something about Japanese prisoners who had been held for war crimes for two years, he would release them from captivity in January, 1950.
I do not relish the thought that the Japanese will be able to rearm, but I realize that the Americans know what they are doing in this matter. Under the provisions of the Pacific pact we have been -afforded “the shelter and protection of the United -States of America. The Americans have forgiven us our sins of the past and are ready to come to our aid if we should need it. It is essential that w.e .should sign this treaty as the best instrument of peace that it is possible to devise, and accordingly I shall vote for the .bill.
.- The .honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Treloar) has dealt with this matter purely on party .political lines. If .a person had been listening to one portion of the honorable member’s speech, he might have been ‘forgiven for having gained the impression .that we were discussing a treaty of peace, not with Japan, but with the United States of America. British speaking peoples have short memories of the misdeeds of .their enemies and long memories of the misdeeds of their friends. As a Resident of a northern electorate I was , closely in -touch with -events that took place in -the north of Australia in the immediate pre-war years. I well remember that when the Japanese pearling fleets were poaching in Australian waters the mother ships fleet remained outside the 3-niile limit and received cargoes of shell from the poaching vessels operating within the 3-mile limit. At that time a small Australian vessel was engaged in an attempt to police the activities of the Japanese pearlers. The captain of the vessel, knowing that a mother ship was collecting pearl shell illegally obtained in Australian waters, took charge of it and ran it into Darwin. The Japanese owners of the mother ship subsequently proceeded against the Commonwealth for illegal detention and received damages amounting to some thousands of pounds. Incidentally, these mother ships were suitable for use as mine-layers and, in addition to collecting cargoes of shell from the poaching vessels, were conducting a survey of our northern coast. (Before Japan’s entry into “World “War II., she was at peace with the whole world. The Japanese Ambassador was in the United States of America negotiating with the authorities when Pearl Harbour was bombed and thousands of unsuspecting Americans were killed and wounded. What is the value of a treaty to people like ‘the Japanese? We have short memories of the deeds of our enemies, “when we negotiate with them. It isuseless to sign a treaty with people who ignore treaties. The people of Australia, will .gain nothing from this treaty whether they sign it or not. On per capita basis there are as many Communists in Japan as there are in China. But with either a Communist .government or an Imperial government the Japanese would still attack Australia if they thought that they could do so successfully. The few troopswho have occupied Japan for the Allies could make no impression on their religiour or psychological traits. The J Japanese character is the same as it was before thewar. I am an admirer of the United States of America and of that nation’s part in assisting in the defence of Australia during the recent war; but obviously the United States of America signed this treaty for trade reasons. We are considering the welfare of our people. Australia should have its own policy. It should not blindly ‘ follow Great Britain, the United States of America, or any other nation. Unless we stand on our own feet we shall never be a nation. Therefore I think that we should not sign the treaty with Japan. Japanese raids on islands near Australia show that they are prepared to be aggressive, if they think they can be successful. The Melbourne press last week reported that the Japanese were protesting to the Americans against the retention of American troops in Japan. They are already becoming aggressive.
– That was the Japanese Communist party.
– I understood that the protest was made by the representatives of the Japanese Government. I looked at the news item only casually and if the reference was, to the Communist party, that alters my view somewhat. I believe that the Japanese will soon be exploiting the pearling industry of Australia to the detriment of Australians who are engaged in that industry.
– Will that not happen if we do not sign the treaty ?
– That is what I have been trying to impress upon the House. Even if we do sign the treaty, we have no reason to believe -that the Japanese will honour it.. They have not. honoured their agreements in the past. No good purpose can be. served, by dwelling upon the sufferings of Austraiian prisoners at the hands of th& Japanese. The story is well known all over the world, but unfortunately many people seem to have short memories- so. far as the acts of our enemies are concerned.. We can. readily imagine the reactions of the many thousands of Australian prisoners of the Japanese to the Government’s proposal to sign a peace treaty with Japan. That is why I shall vote against the bill.
.- There seems to be a lack of realism in this debate because the arguments that have been advanced against the proposal that Australia shall ratify the Japanese Peace: Treaty are largely arguments that- should have been directed to the United States of America some- time ago. With the exception of Russia. Czechoslovakia, Poland and Australia all the nations, that are entitled to ratify the treaty are either- preparing to ratify it or have already done so. The House should look upon, the ratifying of the treaty as an historic event. It is not often that the Parliament of any nation is called upon to consider and ratify a. peace treaty with a recent enemy. With the exception, parhaps, of the right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes), no member of this House has previously been called upon to consider a problem such as this, and. it is the earnest hope of all of us that we shall never again find ourselves in a similar situation. For that reason, if for no other, consideration of this bill should be divorced entirely from party politics, and guided only by a broad national outlook.
I congratulate the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) upon, the quality of a speech, which, as the hon.orable member himself must have known, can evoke nothing, but disagreement amongst honorable members on this side of the House. I consider that the most important, contribution to the debate was made by the Minister for the Interior (Mr,. Kent Hughes) who was entitled to speak, on this, measure as few members of this, chamber are. I think that only seven, honorable, members: were: prisoners of war.. The, Minister succeeded in preventing his outlook on the proposed treaty from being clouded, by the emotionalism that one might expect from a. former Japanese prisoner of war. He spoke of his sufferings-, but he maintained that nothing worthwhile could be built on hatreds. I agree with the honorable gentleman too that any attempt to foster bitter, though well-founded hatreds amongst the Australian people as a. means of gaining some party political advantage is despicable and unworthy, of this House. I know from meetings that have been held in my own electorate,, that most ex-servicemen believe it to be. my duty to support the ratifica-tion of the treaty by Australia.
Honorable members have- a two-fold duty in considering this legislation. First, we must remember that we are guardians– of the democratic system. We all have been democratically elected, and we all believe in the fundamental principles of Christian democracy for which we have fought, and for which our prisoners of war suffered. On this occasion, as on all others, our decision must be based on Christian ethical standards. Democracy is not a very virile plant in the East. If it is to spread to other countries and influence the lives of the people who live round us, we must ensure that democratic idealism and democratic thought shall find expression in the decisions that we make. That is our first duty in considering a peace settlement that will govern our relations with a nation, with which we have been at war.
Our second duty may seem rather to modify the- first : I refer to our obligation to safeguard the lives of the Australian people. Let us examine those two- duties briefly. On the first we all are fundamentally in agreement. If we believe that democracy can be spread throughout the nations to one north which, for many reasons, have not been able to embrace democratic ideals in the past - we must believe that or we are completely wrong in trying to maintain democracy ourselves - we must also accept the belief that some generosity or magnanimity in victory will bring favorable results. 1 have a condition to attach to that assumption but at least the view is worth considering. The Minister for the Interior said he believed that there were some signs in Japan that democracy could be spread in that country. If there is really some ground, however slight, for so believing we cannot afford to overlook it. He cited two things that seemed to be important. One of them was the unselfish service of a Japanese doctor in Manchuria; the other was the look on the faces of the women in the streets of a Japanese city as the tortured scarecrows who were Australian prisoners of war were marched through the city. The mere fact that those things impressed themselves on his mind and that i bey exist gives us some hope of having some foundation on which to work. Those may be very flimsy foundations on which to build, nevertheless they are foundations. The conduct of Australia and of its war-time Allies will decide whether such things will grow and have their part in the future life of Japan. I believe that they will. It is apparent that we have to take the risk of a resurgence of the Japanese, and obviously we shall have h resurgent Japan unless we adopt the course that the honorable member for St. George (Mr. Graham) suggested as the only alternative to taking some risks, and follow the drastic expedient of exterminating the whole of the Japanese nation. i. believe that, after a period of occupation, the risk that we shall take by adhering to the principles for which we have fought and in which we really believe, will always be the lesser risk of the two.
Now let us examine how far the risks really exist, how far they have been provided against and how far we, or anybody else, can lessen them. It is conceivable that we might have succeeded in persuading the nations that have signed the treaty to agree to more drastic terms. We all should have been grateful if limitations had been placed on the rearmament of Japan, including limitations on long range naval vessels, particularly submarines, and long range aircraft which are not needed for defence. Last week the honorable member for Darebin (Mr.
Andrews) suggested that we had not tried to achieve the placing of such limitationson Japanese rearmament. He assumed that, because he had not seen- in thepress any account of the fight that we had made, that we had not made such a fight. That, of course, is rubbish. TheAustralian representatives strove right to the very last minute to have such limitations placed on Japanese rearmament. Any limitation of the manufacture of armament or of the means of war, or the policing of factories that can be turned to war purposes, is dependent entirely on the forces that occupy a conquered country. The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) suggested in the course of his thoughtful speech, that the western nations had had a glorious opportunity to re-educate the Japanese people, and that. if they continued the occupation for another ten years they could raise the ethical standards of the Japanese to a standard that would be comparable withwhat we hope is our own standard. I hope that if the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) speaks in this debate he will have something to say on the futility of believing that an occupied country will willingly accept anything of that nature from the occupying forces. The people of an occupying country will hate the occupying force and will accept from it as little as they possibly can. Instead, they will devote their energies to getting rid of it as quickly as possible. It is a glorious idea that we might stay in a conquered country by force and educate its people to other ways, but I do not consider that it would work in practice as well as we might hope. We had a good deal of experience of that in Germany in the ‘twenties.
The next problem with which I wish to deal is the fundamental one of supplying the occupying force that would be necessary to impose a limitation of armaments on Japan. In order to impose any such limitation some force would have to stay there and occupy the country. What the Opposition is actually proposing in regard to the ratification of this treaty is that we grown-up responsible men, met in this House, should say that because the Americans will not continue to occupy Japan we shall refuse to ratify the treaty.
We have had from honorable, members opposite no suggestion of any other method of occupation. Not one of them has made any suggestion so futile as that Australia should itself maintain the occupation. The Opposition proposes that we should say that, because somebody else has dared to question a policy that might have support in Australia, we have decided that we shall not ratify the treaty. I submit that that is complete humbug. The Opposition, which would be the alternative government of Australia if the present Government were to leave office, is suggesting that the treaty be not ratified, but it has never given any indication that it is prepared to assist in a recruiting campaign that will call on men to serve outside Australia and its territories. It has never given any indication, even in the stress of war, that it is prepared to relax that strange and conservative principle of the Labour party that conscription to serve this country must be watered down as far as possible, so that we must draw on volunteers only, and not the whole available man-power of the nation, for service overseas. Even in the stress of war a Labour government persisted in having the Army divided into two parts, one of which was formed of men who would fight anywhere that strategic necessities demanded, the other being formed of men who would fight only in a limited area around Australia. Any suggestion that Australia, which, under the Labour Government, maintained that policy as a considered policy in war and peace, should insist on Great Britain or America conscripting men to provide a force to occupy Japan, is the most arrant political humbug. It would be complete nonsense for us to say that if those countries will not continue to occupy Japan we will not ratify the peace treaty.
We did not secure the limitation of Japanese rearmament that we desired, hut is the resultant risk as desperate and serious as has been suggested? Let us consider the risks associated with Japanese rearmament because, let me repeat, any attempt to control the kind of rearmament that Japan will have will require an occupying force. If we do not provide that force, we must accept the position that we cannot limit Japanese rearmament. The treaty will give to the United States of America bases in the Japanese islands. Japan has been stripped of its external territories, its shipbuilding industry and other heavy industries, some of which have been destroyed. It has been cut off from access to the raw materials that it needs. Japan took 30 years to arm itself for its recent adventures. During fifteen or sixteen years of that time, it had the mineral resources of Manchuria under its direct control. Those are now denied to Japan. Are the risks involved in Japanese rearmament as serious as has been suggested? I should say that, during the next, fifteen to twenty years, Japan will be unable to make any serious attempt to rearm itself on a scale sufficiently gr eatto enable it to engage in aggression.
The honorable member for Angas made and extraordinary statement, to which I must direct attention. He said that we have taken a short-term view by proceeding upon the basis that we must use Japan as a bulwark against communism. He said that we should take a long-term view and think of Japan itself. Is the building of a bulwark against communism such a short-term view as some people suggest that it is? Communism has made great advances since 1917. In that year, the movement started in quite a small way in Moscow, and some years elapsed before it spread through the provinces of Russia. But it has spread a. very long way in 35 years. Are we indulging in short-term thinking when we try to deal with something which we have seen grow during the last 35 years, and which is still aggressive and growing? I do not think that either this House or the Australian nation has really got down to the bottom of the problem, even when it considers the lessons of Korea, Indo-China, Malaya and Burma; and, possibly, Persia, Egypt and Indonesia. I cannot believe that anybody who realizes how Communist aggression has spread regards as short-terra or risky thinking a proposal to take the slight, and I think much lesser risk, that will he involved in building Japan up as a country that will come in on our side, or that could be made to come in on our side. Fundamentally the world is divided into two armed camps. :The rate of expansion of the armed forces of both camps is alarming. We have to face the possibility ‘of a catastrophe occurring any day. If, by generosity and magnanimity in victory, having regard at the same time to our own -safety, we could bring a vigorous and virile nation into our camp, we should do “so. We should be taking a profound and ‘desperate risk with the security of Australia if we did not attempt to bring such a nation into our camp.
The point ‘that I wish to make in conclusion has ‘been made before, but it cannot be emphasized too strongly. If it be true that the ‘Communist forces in Eastern Asia have adopted an expansionist and imperialistic policy, Japan must be defended, and defended efficiently. Do honorable gentlemen opposite seriously suggest that Japan .should be defended by Australians rather than by Japanese? That is a fair and reasonable question. This House has a duty to the people of Australia to ratify this treaty. I support the bill.
.- I oppose this .bill. The remarks -of the -honorable member for McMillan (Mr. Brown) conformed to those of other honorable gentlemen opposite. He consistently played -down the greatness of the Australian nation and, one might say, bui’lt up our ‘insignificance. Honorable gentlemen opposite refuse to recognize that what we lack in numbers we make up in quality. In our battles against the Japanese during the last war, ten Japanese fell for every Australian. There is no nation like the Australian nation. Australia should not be relegated to a position of insignificance. It should not -be treated, as the Government is treating it, as a small -cog in the machinery of international politics. It is one of the .mainsprings that drives that machine.
Any agreement that is entered into is dependent upon the character of the parties to it. What evidence have we of the nature of the Japanese character? I must draw upon my own observations of it in war-time and upon what I have read. My ‘observations were made at times in the quietness and darkness of the jungle, waiting for the illogical moves of Japanese commanders. The Japanese people, according to our standards, are completely unorthodox. They weep when they are happy. ‘.They laugh at the sight of their dead -comrades. They destroy themselves ‘by hanging or hy other means when they are despondent. They are treacherous. They feign death and, when their -adversaries have passed, rise and stab them in the back. They are cruel and sadistic. ‘They lack a sense of humour and are completely without a sense of sportsmanship. Their habits are crude and fil’th.y. The whole nature of these people is a heathen mixture devoid of any stabilizing influence. That is the race with Which we have made an ‘agreement. Those who have been in close contact with the Japanese have come quickly to the conclusion that the Japanese character and temperament is completely different from anything we know An the Western world. If we turn to Japanese virtues, we .see a similar face. Their virtues -of .national .pride, industry, ingenuity and technical skill are all [practiced so intensely that they have become, not virtues but vices. They are directed towards the fulfilment of an insatiable ambition. Those people are the ‘Other party !to this peace treaty.
I am satisfied from my own observation that the Japanese are quite unbalanced in their mental outlook. That being so, we must provide proper safeguards in order to ensure that any arrangement that we may make with them shall be effectively supervised. One usually follows such a procedure w’hen one is dealing with mad people. The parties to the Potsdam Agreement were well aware of this need. They correctly appreciated at the beginning the sort of people with whom “they would have ‘to make an agreement. They believed that as a prerequisite for a permanent and lasting peace, the Japanese should be allowed .sufficient time to effect a change .of character to conform to a greater degree to our own character in important respects. It is clear from the treaty now before the House that that period ‘has elapsed, lt is ‘supposed in some quarters that during ‘the brief period since the end of World War IT. the Japanese have -changed their outlook, that ‘they are now quite chastened and that ‘they are prepared to deal with -t)he -rest of the world in much the same way as we are prepared to deal with it. Let supporters -of the Government ask themselves whether they really believe that to be a fact. Does the Minister if or the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes) really believe -that the character of the -Japanese people has changed during the last few years ? , Is he satisfied that they -can be expected from now on to exhibit a feeling of friendliness, respect and goodwill for other peoples? What was in the mind of the honorable member for St. ‘George (Mr. Graham) when he asked a question in this House last Friday about ‘the action of certain Japanese seamen in taking photographs in this country ? The honorable gentleman inquired whether the security service had taken any action in that matter. What was in the honorable gentleman’s mind when he asked that question ? What has the Government really in mind in introducing legislation with respect to fisheries ‘and pearl fishing in Australian waters? It is clear that supporters of the Government as well as members of the Opposition are fully apprehensive ‘of the danger of permitting the Japanese to rearm, almost before the glow of battle ‘has died .down. We shall make a grave mistake if we ratify this treaty, because the re-education of the Japanese people will take .a long time. As one who believes -that Christian influences will play the greatest part in reforming the -character of the Japanese, I cannot escape the fact that Christianity is making slower progress in Japan than in any other country in the world. That should not be a cause for impatience; -but it is a clear indication that many years must .elapse before any appreciable change can -be .effected in the -Japanese mind.
The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has pointed out that this treaty is designed to win the Japanese to our side in -any war that may eventuate between the Western democracies and Russia. “That assumption is based on the -fact that the Japanese and the
Russians have an inherent dislike of one another.. However,, we have no reason to feel confident that in the event of such . a war occurring the Japanese will enter the conflict .as our ally, or even that it will remain neutral. During World War II. the Japanese waited until the democracies were fully engaged in Europe and -the Middle East before they chose to put their own designs into operation. They became hostile overnight. The Japanese tactics .invariably involved them in one mistake after another -and we can expect them to act in the future as they have acted in the past. We can expect them to attack us when we are least able to defend ourselves. That is an inherent ‘characteristic of the Japanese.
Government supporters have asked what alternative can be suggested to this peace .treaty. Japan should again be completely occupied, just as Great Britain has had to occupy India, Egypt, Malaya and other . countries. Although such an occupation would he prolonged it would not be nearly so costly as another war with the Japanese would be. Occupations of the kind that I have in mind have in the long Tun produced good results. I do not think that it can be said that the British occupation of India and Pakistan has been entirely unproductive of good. After a few years of occupation by British forces Egypt, as the result of recent events, has come to learn who are its real friends. These prolonged occupations have achieved much in promoting peace and abetter understanding. In bringing about a change of character of the people concerned they have in the long run proved to be the best guarantee of permanent peace. Government supporters have asked who should carry out an occupation of Japan of ‘the kind to which I ‘ have referred. Australia must play its part in such an occupation which, I believe, ‘in the long run, would not be comparatively costly. The alternative to this peace ‘treaty, I repeat, is a .prolonged occupation of Japan which, although it may be tedious and economically expensive, would ultimately produce ^better and more lasting results. I believe that the ‘whole idea that underlines £his treaty ‘is that of encouraging not the peace potential, but the war potential of Japan, and, therefore, I oppose its ratification.
.- I was astonished to hear the sentiments that the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Joshua) has just expressed because, as honorable members know, he has had a long and distinguished career as a soldier of this country beyond its shores and, consequently, has had opportunities to observe the proposals of other countries and become aware of Australia’s needs in relation to them. It would appear that on this occasion he has discarded anything that he might have learned in that respect. I agree with one, or two, of the observations that he made, but none of them had the faintest bearing on whether we should sign this peace treaty with Japan. It is not a matter of whether we like, or dislike, the Japanese or of whether the Japanese like, or dislike, us. Neither is it a matter whether the Japanese, as the honorable member said, are an uncivilized and bestial people.
This peace treaty, in common with every component of our foreign policy, must be judged by two conditions. The first object of foreign policy must always be to keep our own country out of war while we have time to build up our defences and acquire sufficient strength so that, come what may, we will be able to defend ourselves effectively. The second object of foreign policy must be to ensure that if events beyond our control move in such a way as to make war inevitable we shall be able to go to war in circumstances most favorable to our cause; that those who might fight on our side will actually do so; and that those who might be won over by bribes by our enemies will not enter the field against us. Any action that the Government may take that conforms to these two conditions must be right, just as any action that fails to conform to them must be wrong. Some honorable members opposite appear to have ignored these primary considerations altogether.
It is natural that in a debate of this nature sentiment and the feeling of individual members should play a big part and they most certainly played a big part in the speech of the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), excellent although that speech may have been. Some honorable members have certain memories of their own experiences and others know what happened to those near to them during the war with the Japanese. But on an occasion such as this sentiment and prejudice should not be uppermost in the minds of honorable members. It is understandable that honorable, members such as the honorable member for Angas should consider with horror the thought of any alliance with the Japanese but I remind him that he is here in order to make the best possible arrangements that can be made for the future welfare of our country. Some honorable members opposite who have never themselves endured the. horrors of war but who have described them in the debate in an endeavour to confuse the issue and bring discredit on the Government have played an utterly contemptible part. This is a practical matter. There is nothing very mysterious about foreign affairs. They are open for a common-sense examination. The facts of the position are quite plain. The threat to this country, as to every other member of the Western democracies, comes from Communist Russia. It is not a fortuitous circumstance that those who oppose this measure most bitterly in Australia and all over the world are Communists.
It is a sad indictment of members of the once great Australian Labour party that their own allies in their present stand are Communists, left-wingers and cranks. I am astounded that the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Joshua) should place himself in such a category. As I have already said, it is our duty to make the best arrangements possible for our country. It is unfortunate that in all foreign relationships, whether diplomatic or commercial, we always are not able to ally ourselves with those whom we would most prefer to be our allies. It is necessary to accept those allies who present themselves and we find, at present, that we are of necessity forced to ally ourselves with many of our ex-enemies. I have heard little criticism of the alliance with Italy that has been formed by the Western democracies nor do I offer any myself ill though many of the charges that have been laid against the Japanese could also be laid against the Italians in view of their treatment of Australian prisoners of war. We have allied ourselves with Germany. We have allied ourselves indirectly but most definitely with Spain, n country which is governed by a regime with which honorable members on both sides of the House have little sympathy. Now we are in the position of having to ally ourselves with Japan or have that nation place the resources of its great industrial potential, man-power and martial spirit at the disposal of our enemies. Do we prefer that Japan should be on our side or on the side of our enemies ?
Many honorable members opposite have said that it would be unwise to ally ourselves with the Japanese because of the terrible suffering that they inflicted on our people and on other peoples during the recent war. I sincerely believe that the Japanese are not much better or worse than most oriental people nor are they much better or worse than a great number of non-oriental peoples. The Japanese have treated their prisoners in a terrible way, but so have most other peoples - particularly those who have never been influenced by the Christian religion. I do not wish to cite nations as examples for fear of giving offence. But in almost every period of history the same behaviour has marked oriental Avars and periods of occupation as that which have been criticized in connexion with the Japanese occupation of South-East Asia and the islands. How can any country maintain its security if it resolutely sets it? face against any sort of arrangement with a beaten enemy? Great Britain has maintained itself over the years in the most devious ways, bearing in mind only that it must make the best possible arrangements for the survival of the British people. The British have been allied with the French and have also fought them; they have been allied with the Dutch .and have fought them; they have been allied with the Russians and have fought them. We must always have before us the welfare and security of our own land. No other factor has any bearing on this question. It is purile to con tend that we cannot ever come to terms with any nation with which we have been at war.
I agree with the statement of the honorable member for Ballarat that Japan has not suffered a change of heart as the result of the occupation. I agree that the Japanese will not necessarily ally themselves with the Western democracies against Russian aggression because they like us or because they dislike the Russians. But they will assist us and, if necessary, fight, with us, purely from motives of self-interest, just as we or any other power, would be prepared to enter into an agreement with another country for reasons of self-interest. I believe that the Western democracies are in a position to help Japan very greatly in matters of finance, rehabilitation, health and education. We have shown a willingness to render that assistance and if we can demonstrate to the people of Japan that their best interests lie with us and if we support them long enough for thom to realize what would happen to them if they allied themselves with Russia, we shall have done very well indeed. The honorable member for McMillan (Mr. Brown) correctly stated that it it not impossible to control Japan. The Japanese are a great people who are tremendously industrious, ingenious and brave. But, fortunately for us, they lack many of the basic materials that are essential in modern war - particularly steel and other metals. They must import these materials from abroad, mostly from Australia, the United States of America, South Africa, and countries that are allied with the Western democracies. It should not be beyond our ability to ration the supply of those materials to Japan, and watch its industrial development over the years in such a way as will make . it impossible for that country to mount a major war offensive. The other factor from which I, at least, take considerable comfort is that every advance which modern science makes in warfare, not only such as the great advances that have been made in relation to the atomic bomb, but also in relation to the smaller developments such as the British automatic rifle, enormously increases the power of the smaller, more intelligent, industrialized peoples to fight against the masses of Asia. Every time a. further advance is made in our equipment, our capacity to hold this country increases, and the threat from Asia diminishes, because however ingenious Asiatic peoples may be they have not the necessary industrial and mechanical training to enable them fully to use those modern weapons.
The ratification of the peace treaty with Japan is not a step in which any honorable member can take great plea. sure. We have memories of the Japanese that we shall not forget. I do not suppose any honorable member likes the Japanese. I certainly do not like them, and I do not wish, to have anything to do with them, at any time in. a personal way, any more than do Opposition members, who have spoken so bitterly against the Japanese as a people. But it is a mistake to suppose that we can live- in the same world as the Japanese, and yet completely cut ourselves off from them either in- trading or in the use of the normal facilities which exist among civilized nations. In this post-war world we cannot hope to establish permanently a relationship among nations so that peace will be assured and perpetual without great efforts on our own part. The greatest of those efforts will be made, not in the diplomatic field, but on the home front in Australia, because no matter how many agreements we may make, the security of this country and our ability to live here will depend fundamentally upon our ability to- hold it. Opposition members have severely criticized the ratification of the peace treaty with Japan, but I emphasize to them that is is essential for our welfare. Let them consider the defence of this country. I believe that it will be only By our own- efforts in that field that we shall ever- really establish our home here, and take care of our future.
.- The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) has. told, us that those persons who are opposed to, ratification of the peace treaty with J Japan a-re Communists; or follow the Communist, line. I believe that the honorable gentleman spoke ber fore he had. given, much thought to. his words, because. I am- sure that he did not think for a. moment that the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), who is a member of the Liberal party,, is a Communist,, or that he supports communism. The honorable member for Angas made a most eloquent speech last Friday in opposition, to the Japanese peace treaty and he expressed his views probably with as much sincerity and -vigour as have Opposition members. In this debate, Government supporters generally have run true- to- form. Whenever they lack a valid argument, they trot out the old Communist bogy. I thought that the result of the referendum on communism last year would deter them from doing so, but the honorable member for Henty was obliged to resort to it in order to bolster his case in support of the bill.
Had’ it not been for the speech of the honorable member for Angas, I probably would not have taken part in this debate. I had not intended to speak, but circumstances influenced me to change my mind. When I was in my electorate last week-end, I found that many, people had listened to the speech of the honorable member for Angas, and to speeches of Opposition members against this bill, and were most indignant at the decision of the Government to ratify the peace treaty with Japan. They told me that they were most impressed with the speech of the honorable member for Angas,, and I then realized how much the people of Australia were opposed to this treaty. What does the treaty offer Australia? The honorable member for Henty has said that victorious nations must make arrangements with a beaten enemy. I agree with that statement. I also agree that the victors must at some time make a treaty with the vanquished. But I contend that the Australia-n Government is not bound to display such, haste as it. is showing to ratify this treaty with Japan. Real doubts exist in the minds of. Government supporters about the wisdom of this course. Surely it would be wiser for Australia to wait a little while before it ratifies this treaty. Let us endeavour to.- obtain, a peace settlement, with Japan that is more satisfactory to the Australian Government and the. Australian, people than is. the present, treaty. Let us seek, a treaty that will ensure out security in future. Few Australians believe that the treaty which we are now called upon to ratify will give this country security.
The principal argument which is advanced by supporters of the bill is that the treaty will be a safeguard against the march of communism, because it will ensure that the Japanese will keep back the forces of communism and, if necessary, fight against the Communists. Have we any assurance that when we have rearmed the Japanese, they will fight against the Communists ? How has Japan in the past honoured treaties and pacts to which it has been a signatory? Surely our memories are not so short that we have forgotten? There is no guarantee that a re-armed Japan will support the democracies against the Communists. In the absence of such a guarantee, we should hesitate before we re-arm the Japanese and thereby give them an opportunity, perhaps, to make a pact with Soviet Russia and to drive southwards again. What is our security for the future? This peace treaty is really a gigantic gamble. We hope that the Japanese will behave as we want them to behave. The gamble involves the future of your children and mine-
– Of course their future is involved in the gamble. If that gamble does not come off, the people who support this treaty will have a lot to answer for.
– Nonsense !
– History will prove whether it is nonsense. If the Japanese threaten Australia in the future, the people who advocated the ratification of this peace treaty will have to answer for it. Almost every Government supporter who has spoken in this debate has said that he does not like the provisions of the treaty. It is the duty of this Parliament, and of this Government, to safeguard the welfare of the people of Australia. An overwhelming majority of Australians are opposed to this treaty. Wherever we go, we hear discussions about it, and the hope is expressed that, even now, the ratification of the treaty will be delayed. The
Japanese in their post-war constitution have formally renounced war forever. They have also renounced the threat or use of force as a means of settling disputes with other nations. They have gone even further, and declared in their constitution that land, sea and air forces as well as other war potential will never be maintained. But the signatories to this peace treaty say to Japan, in effect, “ forget your constitution. We shall assist you to rearm so long as you fight by our side”. But which way will they go?
– The ee big shots “ are in the saddle.
– I agree with the interjection of the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) that the “big shots “ are back in the saddle. The militaristic Ministers are again in office in Japan, and their strength is mounting daily. But what do honorable members opposite care about that? Do they care that the militaristic political leaders of Japan aim to set up the same caste as existed in that country before the war? They would not care if a fascist government gained power in Japan. The militarists and monopolists are on the march in that country, and we should not make the way easier for them. We should delay the ratification of this treaty and endeavour to obtain a much better settlement.
– How ?
– I remind the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) of the manner in which the right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes) fought for the rights of this country after World War I., which has been mentioned already by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen). That shows us the way we should go. This Government should fight as the right honorable member for Bradfield did on that occasion. We should not have to accept this treaty because we are afraid that we may offend a great nation if we reject it. Surely any great nation worthy of the name would be prepared to accept a decision that we thought was a correct decision. We should consider this issue on the basis that is best for the people of Australia.
– The honorable member should do what he thinks is right.
– I hope that supporters of the Government, will do what they consider to be right, because they will probably have to pay the piper if they do not do so. The Opposition has pointed out the danger to us from a rearmed Japan. In addition, we must consider the effect that this treaty could have upon Australian industry. We are well aware of the sorry plight of our textile industry already. I do not deny for a moment that the Japanese have- a right to live, just as the peoples of every other country of the world have such a right. However, we must ensure that goods manufactured cheaply in Japan shall not be allowed to come into this country in such quantities as will result in many of our citizens being thrown out of work. The Government has not paid sufficient attention to this aspect of the matter. I believe that the treaty has been drawn up in a spirit of “ take or leave it “. The people of this country want to know what the Government has done to safeguard the interests of this nation. What has it done to protect our security?
– We have made a. pact with the United States of America.
– That pact could be terminated within twelve months. We should be assured that if the Japanese are permitted to rearm they will stay in their own country. They do not want to rearm for nothing. The Government is clinging to the hope that the Japanese will act as a buffer between the Communists and the Western powers.
– Evidently the honorable member is afraid that they will not do so.
– I am afraid of their attitude in the future towards our children, and perhaps against children as yet unborn. Indeed, that is the fear of the majority of the people of this country. Honorable . members on the Government side of the House may laugh, but this is a very serious matter. If this treaty is ratified and later misfires those, who have supported its ratification will have a lot to answer for. We have no assurance that we -will not have to fight another war against the Japanese in the future. I hope that those supporters of the Government who do not in fact believe that the treaty should be ratified will follow the lead of the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) who has stated that he will not vote for the bill. Surely they will not have the temerity to support the treaty after admitting that they consider it to be a bad treaty. The Labour party considers that it is a bad treaty and that it should he re-cast. There must be some other better proposition. Surely we do not have to say, “ We will have to accept it because if we do not we cannot count on a security pact with the United States of America “. This nation should be above that approach to the matter. The Parliament should not shirk its responsibilities. If the members of this House consider that it would be wrong for them to ratify the treaty, they should vote against ratification. Ry so doing, they would be carrying out the wishes of the majority of the people of this country.
.- Honorable members well remember that the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbour in December, 1941. The attack could not have been more dramatic. The tentacles of the Japanese forces spread throughout the South Pacific to the, Pacific islands, the South Sea islands, Rabaul, New Guinea, Timor, and even to the Australian mainland. Many accounts have been written of the epic battles that were staged and of the courage of the Australian and allied forces during the campaign in the South- West Pacific. We were called upon to fight a foe that we had never opposed before. Indeed, some of the tragic episodes of the war in Europe were outdone in the South Pacific area. Before the yellow tide was ultimately turned back we realized that the Japanese were a determined foe who would not stop at anything. Honorable members who were subjected to Japanese cruelty after the invasion of Malaya have already spoken in this debate, some with still-remaining bitterness but others, in retrospect, in a more open manner.
The war against Japan ended with the signing of the instrument of surrender in Tokyo Bay on the 2nd September, 1945. I have mentioned in passing the incidents that preceded the surrender of Janan, not because I have any wish to revive in the minds of honorable members the horrors of the campaign, but because I want them to realize, as I believe they do, that the surrender terms were dictated, notwithstanding the assertion to the contrary of the Leader of the Opposition, in an atmosphere of bitterness, hatred and distrust. Our own men were even then being released from the custody of the Japanese. Formerly strong, able-bodied men, they crept back to Australia as emaciated skeletons. It is fantastic for the Leader of the Opposition to suggest that, in those circumstances, the surrender terms could be signed under any conditions other than those of hatred, distrust and malice. Naturally they were drafted in the hope that they would prevent the Japanese race from making war again. They included a provision for the disarmament of Japan. In those days we had been expending considerable sums for the prosecution of a war. Now, over six years later, we propose to expend £1S0,000,000 this year .to prepare for defence against a potential enemy that is not Japan. The circumstances have entirely changed.
The characteristics of the world to-day are totally different from those of six years ago. Russia has taken certain European nations under its control, for their benefit so it tells the rest of the world. It is spreading its tentacles throughout Asia. During the last eighteen months Australia, as a member of the United Nations, has been at war with Communists in Korea. There is no parallel between the conditions that existed on V-P day and the conditions that exist to-day, when we are considering the proposed ratification of a peace treaty with Japan that has already been signed by Australia’s plenipotentiary at San Francisco. I remind the House that the Japanese peace treaty does not stand alone. It is linked with other treaties. The Leader of the Opposition has said that the Government proposes to tear up decisions of the Far Eastern Commission. But, unless we ratify the treaty with Japan, we shall virtually tear up treaties that have already been con- eluded by our war-time ally and peacetime friend, the United States of America. That country has already approved of a security treaty by Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America. Furthermore, a mutual defence treaty has been concluded between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America. A security treaty between the United States of America and Japan is also in existence. Those documents must be considered in conjunction with the Japanese peace treaty.
The preamble to the treaty agreed to by Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America, refers specifically to the right of the United States of America, under the terms of the Japanese peace treaty, to station armed forces in and about Japan. Therefore, that Pacific security treaty hinges to some degree upon the treaty that we are now discussing. Article IV. of the mutual defence treaty between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America states -
Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.
Article IV. of the treaty agreed to by Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America also states -
Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on any of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations.
I have mentioned these facts in order to demonstrate that, unless this Parliament ratifies the Japanese peace treaty, it will virtually abrogate a treaty under the terms of which the United States of America has agreed to defend our security in the Pacific region. It seems to me to bc fantastic that honorable members opposite should wish to stand by an arrangement that was made over six years ago, and thereby ignore the present world situation, and refuse to ratify a treaty that has received the approval of many other nations. The Opposition has concentrated its attention on Article 5 of the Japanese peace treaty. Apparently it is prepared to reject the entire treaty because it does not like one of the provisions of that article.
I shall refer briefly to the remaining articles because, up to date, they have not received sufficient attention in this House. Article 1 is a statement of the termination of the state of war with Japan and of our recognition of the full sovereignty of the Japanese people over Japan and its territorial waters. Unless we pass this bill and ratify the treaty we shall remain, technically at least, at war with Japan. Honorable members opposite do not appreciate that fact.
– What of that?
– The honorable member apparently does not realize what war with Japan means. Under Article 2, Japan renounces its claims to Korea, the islands surrounding Japan, the mandates that it held under the League of Nations and certain possessions in Antarctica. That is a great sacrifice to impose upon any nation. It has been suggested that this peace treaty is lenient towards Japan. It is far from lenient according to Articles 2, 3 and 4. Article 5 is a particularly contentious article, and the Opposition has taken great exception to it. Therefore I shall quote it. It reads as follows : -
There is the answer to the argument that Japan intends to rearm, because in that very article Japan agrees to settle international disputes by peaceful means.
– Does the honorable member believe that?
– The article continues -
to give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the Charter and to refrain from giving assistance to any State against which the United Nations may take preventive or enforcement action.
I have been asked whether I believe that Japan will really accept the first part of Article 5. The basis of the whole treaty is mutual trust. If we say that we will not trust Japan, the only alternative is to carry out the annihilation of the Japanese as was suggested by the honorable member for St. George (Mr. Graham) and the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Roberton). This is a treaty of mutual trust, and in the modern world we must recognize that if we cannot trust other people we might as well give the game away. If the Japanese are not to be trusted, is it suggested that they will respond to force ? If so, who will apply the force? Are we to fall back on the American Army in Japan and ask it to provide the force? If that is not to be done then we must base our relationship with Japan on trust.
The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) said that if we trust the Japanese, sooner or later they will carry out a war of revenge. If that is the attitude of the Opposition towards this treaty, they might as well give the game away. In the modern world the annihilation of distance by modern transport facilities has completely destroyed our isolation, and we must remain a part of the world. The other articles in the treaty contain provisions for the reestablishment of civil airlines and provisions relating to commerce and trade. If we do not trust the Japanese and do not ratify the treaty then the only thing lift for us to do is to eliminate them. Which would be democratic or Christian, to annihilate them or to trust them?
Opposition members interjecting,
– Honorable members opposite have already had a lot to say about this matter, but they will not face the fact that we must trade with our neighbours and cannot live in the belief that we need have no contact with nations outside our own boundaries. We shall not progress very far if we do not deal with our neighbours on the basis of mutual trust.
Something has been said about Australia being flooded with Japanese goods. If it costs us 60s. or 70s. to manufacture a cigarette lighter of the same type as can be bought from Japan for 5s. 6d., why should we waste our time making that article? We should surely be using our efforts to make the things that we can produce better and more cheaply than any other country in the world. Our production of iron and steel is far less than it could be. We could be one of the greatest iron and steel producing nations in the world. We are to-day buying galvanized iron and steel from Japan at five times the Australian price. Provision is made in the treaty for commercial treaties to follow. Are we to say that although we will sell our wool to Japan, we will not buy Japanese goods ? We should capitalize on the fact that we can get certain types of goods more cheaply from overseas countries than we can make ourselves. There is also abroad a feeling that we are now doing something of which we did not approve in 1945. The conditions to-day are entirely different from those that existed in 1945, and we have looked back over the years and have arranged a treaty in the light of our experience since 1939. The United States of America has already signed treaties with the Philippines and New Zealand and with Japan, and we must ratify this treaty because the only alternative is the total annihilation of the Japanese. The Parliament is perfectly justified in ratifying this treaty. The Japanese, not- withstanding the crimes they committed and the horrors they inflicted upon their unfortunate victims during the war, are capable of appreciating to the full the fact that the conclusion of this treaty leaves open the door for friendly relations between them and the people of this country on not only a national but also a commercial and economic plane.
– The honorable member for Lawson (Mr. Failes) has overcome his difficulties in this matter in a way rather different from that of other honorable members opposite who have participated in this debate. Most of his colleagues have expressed very grave doubts about the possible implications of, and the developments that may arise from, this treaty. The honorable member has no doubts about the treaty; he sees no dangers in it; and accordingly he says that there is nothing in it that need worry us. He commenced his speech by attempting to justify the treaty in his own mind on the ground of the existence of the security treaty agreed to by Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America, which is commonly called the Pacific pact. Under that treaty the United States of America has agreed to give Australia certain assurances in the event of aggression in the Pacific. Those assurances arc very welcome and accordingly the bill to ratify the security treaty will be supported by honorable members on this side of the House. In basing his contention that because of the existence of the security treaty we have nothing to worry about in the treaty of peace with Japan the honorable member did not direct the attention of the House to the fact that the security treaty is indeed an uncertain reed on which to base all his hopes for the future. He must be aware that in the United States^ of “America very strongly divergent views have been and are being expressed on matters relating to foreign policy. The Truman Administration has pursued a policy of close international co-operation. It has rendered valuable assistance to other countries, economically and in other spheres, but its foreign policy has been under constant attack by its political opponents. This is election year in the United States of America and it is conceivable that the isolationist elements which exert a great influence in the political affairs of that country may win the presidential election and be in a position to dictate America’s foreign policy. It would then be legally possible for the United States of America to abrogate the security treaty with Australia and New
Zealand upon which the honorable member for Lawson has based the whole of his hopes. Article X. of that treaty, which the honorable member did not quote, reads as follows : -
This Treaty shall remain in force indefinitely. Any Party may cease to be a member of the Council established by Article VII. one year after notice has been given to the government of Australia, which will inform the governments of the other Parties of the deposit of such notice.
If, as the result of a change of government in the United States of America, the isolationists took charge of the administration, the United States of America, after due notice had been given, might cease to be a party to the security treaty and the prop upon which the Government has based it3 acceptance of the treaty of peace with Japan, despite all its dangers and weaknesses, would thus fall to the ground. We should then no longer be able to rely upon the protection of the United States in the event of a threat by a resurgent Japan. I do not propose to attempt to answer all the irrelevant arguments that were adduced by the honorable member for Lawson. I shall content myself with a reference to a few of them. Amongst other things the. honorable member advocated, by implication, the importation of cheap Japanese goods to the detriment of Australian industry. He indicated that he believed that, if Japanese manufacturers could produce goods much more cheaply than could Australian manufacturers, we should import those goods, even at the cost of closing down our own industries and throwing thousands of Australians in secondary industries out of work.
– He did not say that.
– He said that if commodities could be produced more cheaply in Japan than in Australia we should bring them into this country. If we import cheaply manufactured goods “nm Japan our manufacturing industries will suffer and those who work in them will lose their employment. We believe in a balanced economy. We are well a ware of the enormous contribution made by our secondary industries to the Australian war effort. We believe that those industries should be protected from unfair competition by other countries which do not provide for workers the good conditions of employment that we enjoy. We also believe that a balanced economy as between primary and secondary industries should be maintained.
The honorable member for Lawson spoke of the issue before the House as though it were simply a matter of choosing between trust of the Japanese or annihilation of them He did not realize that there is a third course. In his view we must either trust the Japanese implicitly and sign this treaty, despite its weaknesses and imperfections, or we must annihilate them. Since the end of the war with Japan we have been doing neither of those things. The fact that we have not trusted the Japanese is made apparent by the maintenance of a sub.stanial army of occupation in Japan. We destroyed Japan’s war industries and disarmed its people. All of that is evidence that we did not trust the Japanese. Had we trusted them there would have been no occasion for us to furnish our quota of the army of occupation of Japan. Neither have we annihilated the Japanese. On the contrary, we have adopted a Christian outlook towards them and have helped them to re-establish their industries so that they will have an opportunity to live in the comity of nations if they will accept democratic principles and endeavour to get rid of the traits in their character that have caused such suffering and chaos in the past.
There are some facts about this treaty which should be examined objectively because they are of importance not only to Australia but also to the entire civilized world. The first fact that occurs to me is that we must admit that the treaty was imposed on the free nations of the world by the United States of America. I have used the word “ imposed “ deliberately because I think that all the free nations, with the exception of the United States of America - and even in that country there are many powerful groups which share this view - have grave doubts about this document. But for the fact that the United States of America was able to impose its will upon the other nations I do not believe this treaty would have been signed in its present form. Great Britain had grave objections to it. It may be said that the question boiled down ultimately to whether the administration of red China, or Chiang Kai-shek’s regime in Formosa, would sign the treaty with Japan on behalf of the Chinese people. The British objections were finally overcome by a typical compromise (hat was worked out by Mr. John Foster Dulles who obtained Britain’s acceptance of the treaty by providing that Japan itself should decide whether the representatives of “ red “ China or Chiang Kaishek should sign it. The other nations, the Republic of the Philippines for example, had very grave doubts about the matter. The people of the Philippine Islands had experienced the terrors of the occupation of their country by the Japanese, and when Mr. Dulles submitted his proposal to them they were intensely indignant. They demanded reparations and safeguards against possible future aggression. “When they found that neither had been provided for in the treaty they objected very strongly to it. In the case of the Philippines as with Australia and New Zealand, the objections that were put forward were met by the provision of a mutual security pact. Australia and New Zealand, the Philippines and other countries ultimately agreed, though reluctantly, to sign the treaty. Even in the United States of America there was strong objection. The army of the United States of America which was charged with the occupation of Japan had grave doubts and its leaders wanted the right to continue to station troops in Japan even after the treaty was signetd. To alleviate the objections of the United States army leaders, the security treaty with Japan was worked out. Under it the United States of America will continue to retain troops in Japan even after the peace becomes operative.
That fact brings to my mind ;i very strong objection to the treaty. Under the treaty, Japan again becomes a sovereign power and as such it cannot ho submitted to limitations which would endanger its sovereignty. Here is an inconsistency which contains the seeds of future conflict. Although sovereignty is conferred on Japan, conditions are imposed which are the antithesis of sovereignty and will become irksome to the proud Japanese people. Even now Japan is demanding that those restrictions shall be taken away. Persistent demands have been made in Japan for the removal of United States troops. The militaristic forces have stated openly that they do not want American troops there. The militarists are content to have the American troops remain there for ti while until they can provide the nucleus of a. navy, army and air force but when that is done they will demand the removal of the United States army. The treaty has this inherent weakness. The Versailles Treaty of 19.19 perpetrated a policy of vengeance. It was a hard Carthaginian peace and it contained the seeds of war. It crushed a proud nation which rose again and went to war. In this treaty, the United States is attempting to avoid the errors of the Versailles Treaty but it is going to the other extreme. It is proposing a soft peace which contains the same weaknesses.
I submit as a practical proposition that in working out the terms of the treaty, the United States of America should have done one of two things. It should have continued the occupation, under which Japan would still be a defeated nation, until the time was ripe to move out, or it should have removed its troops at once. It has done neither. It has ended the occupation so that its troops will not be conquerors entitled to lay down conditions but allied troops remaining in the country on sufferance by the Japanese. There lies the basis for a nationalist upsurge. The present demands for a revision of the treaty before it is actually ratified are coming from two familiar sources. On the one hand they are coming from the Communists who want the United States troops right out of the country. On the other hand, they are coming from the militaristic forces which want the United States forces to leave eventually. Their reasons might be diverse, but one can see those two forces getting together again. They did the same thing with disastrous results in eastern Europe where sections with a Fascist background joined the Communists for certain purposes to the sorrow of the people of those countries. In
Janan, as an inevitable fruit of the treaty, both forces are gaining a sense of grievance, upon which they can re-build nationalist tendencies. Thus they are being brought together while we fondly hone that the result will not be the same as it has been in Europe. That appears to be the main objection to the peace treaty. On the one hand the United States of America is ending one occupation while on the other hand it is imposing on a country with a new sovereignty a fresh occupation which the Jananese will resent and do everything in their power to remove.
It is interesting to note that Mr. Nehru refused to go to the San Francisco conference. He would not send any delegates there and would have no part in the signing of the treaty. The reasons that he advanced were that the treaty as proposed did not prohibit the presence of United States forces in Japan and that it gave the United States of America trusteeship over certain Japanese islands including Okinawa. He said that the treaty did not give to Japan honour. equality and contentment. An apostle of Asiatic nationalism, he claimed that the treaty was too hard on Japan on which it imposed restrictions. Therefore it was an affront to Asiatic nations. He said that its limitations must be removed. So while the United States of America claims that this is a just, humane and Christian treaty and is prepared to run the risks of its generosity, that attitude is not being adopted in Japan or in India. Even at this stage the generous actions of the United States of America have not met with the approval or the happy results that were expected.
Another matter which raises very grave doubts in the minds of members of the Opposition is whether the world will reap the fruits of this policy because of the economic condition of Japan. Economically there is no doubt that Janan is on the verge of bankruptcy. Its economy has been kept going by big transfusions of American dollars. The Korean war has helped considerably to rebuild Japanese industry. Japanese manufacturers are now producing substantial quantities of goods for the United
Nations forces in Korea. Nevertheless, the Japanese economy is on the verge of collapse, and it may well be a big collapse. When Japan regains its sovereignty and becomes a free nation, it will naturally endeavour to rehabilitate its economy. In that work, the Japanese will have the assistance and good wishes of the rest of the free world. Japan has a big population and must have a sound economy. The Japanese economy is very like that of Great Britain. Raw materials have to be imported, and, in order to enable purchasers to pay for those materials in sterling or in dollars, manufactured goods have to be exported. The two essential raw materials which are the basis of the Japanese economy are coal and iron ore. Those are readily available to Japan and China, which now, unfortunately for the world, is under the domination of the Communists. China could supply coal and iron ore to Japan more cheaply than they could be obtained from other countries. Inevitably, therefore, Japan will trade with “ red “ China and, in order to pay for imports of coal and iron ore, Japan will have to provide China with the goods that that country requires. It is difficult to believe that Japan will not resume trade with China, and that close economic ties between those two countries will not be followed by political ties of some kind. In considering this treaty, therefore, we must ask ourselves whether the trust that we propose to place in Japan is justified. Will the Japanese stay on our side, as the United States of America hopes they will do, or will they become an ally of the very people from whom the United States of America is endeavouring to win them? Will the Japanese follow their own economic and other interests, or will they yield to our interests ? Unquestionably they will look to their own interests first. They will trade with “ red “ China, and they may well proceed to draw up some sort of political affiliation with China. Those are some of the reasons why the Opposition looks upon this measure with very grave doubts.
It should be conceded, I believe, that although we can see very grave dangers in this treaty which the United States of
America has virtually imposed upon the other 48 signatory nations, America has acted with great sincerity and genuineness in formulating the treaty. I think that the motivating force behind the United States of America is primarily the fact that China is now under “ red “ control. Previously, China was a great stabilizing influence in the Pacific region, in spite of the fact that its governments were at times corrupt and unpopular. China was more or less on our side. Since the unfortunate events - perhaps they could better be described as tragic events - by which the “ reds “ gained control of China, largely by the use of Japanese arms handed over to them by the Russians, the whole balance of power in the Pacific has been altered. It is being freely said in the United States of America at present that the loss of China to the Communists is the greatest tragedy of the last 100 years of American history.
Many people are saying also that American diplomacy was largely responsible for the loss of China to the Communists. I believe that there is some substance in that allegation. The Yalta Agreement of 1945 had certain secret provisions whereby Soviet Russia, which entered the war against Japan a mere six days before the surrender of the Japanese, gained control of the Manchurian railways, and also access to Port Arthur and the port of Darien. Those vital strategic interests would have opened up China to Russia had the Soviet wanted to annex that country, but of course Russia did not want to do that. It had the Chinese Communist armies, armed with weapons taken from the Japanese, ready to capture China. That was the first factor. The second factor was that the Marshall mission to China in 1946 attempted to force a coalition government between Chiang Kai-shek and the Communist forces. That move played an important part in helping the “reds” to gain control of China, because pressure was put on Chiang Kai-shek and all the time the “ reds “, with Stalin’s connivance, were getting ready to go ahead. I am not speaking in defence of Chiang Kai-shek. T am merely deploring the fact that the “ reds “ gained control of China just as they have gained control in other countries’ on which their regime has been fastened. They gained control by armed force and not as the result of any movement that had the support of the local population. Having gained control of China in that way and thus altered the entire balance of power in the Pacific region, the Communists posed a serious problem for the United States of America. That country admitted that a grievous mistake had been made and that the policy pursued by its diplomats in China had been a mistaken policy. America then set about trying to retrieve that mistake and the big question now is whether, in seeking to remedy the error which enabled the “ reds “ to control China, the United States of America is not committing another great blunder in going to the opposite extreme by imposing this Japanese peace treaty on the rest of the world. I believe that the desire to remedy the earlier mistake in China is the motivating force behind America’s move to have this treaty accepted. America is endeavouring to establish Japan as a bastion of democracy in the Pacific in the hope of balancing the loss of China to the “ reds “. There are tremendous risks in that procedure. A weighty trust is being placed in the Japanese people. I can only say in conclusion that I support Labour’s effort to draw attention to the grave dangers that are inherent in this treaty and to the misgivings that many people have about it. In common with all men of good will in this country I sincerely hope that the great trust that is being reposed in the Japanese will be justified; that the policy of the United States of America which we have been criticizing will be successful; and that the Japanese will 1Drove themselves worthy of the trust by entering into the comity of nations and making a significant contribution to the peace of the world.
Sitting suspended from 5.59 to 8 p.m.
– I give this proposed treaty my full support, but I should not like any honorable member to gain the impression that I have any love for the Japanese or any illusions regarding their possible future actions. My main reason for supporting the proposed treaty is that I believe it represents the best possible chance that we have “>f maintaining the peace with Japan and peace in the Pacific, if it can be maintained. I use the words “ possible chance” deliberately. That is also one of the main reasons why I regret that most honorable members opposite are opposed, or say they are opposed, to the treaty. I have an even greater regret that some honorable members on this side of the House have been somewhat lukewarm in their approval of the treaty. What they have said, in effect, is that the United States of America will sign this treaty whatever we do and so we must sign it also. To me that smacks of what is commonly known as “ passing the buck “, which is an American phrase that is most appropriate in that connexion, because some honorable members in the ranks of the Government’s supporters are attempting to lay on the United States of America the full responsibility and full blame for the treaty. I say that that is wrong. If we are not happy about the treaty and consider that some of the proposals that it contains should be opposed, then we should not ratify it. However, I am convinced that the vast majority of people in Australia, after they have given careful thought to the possible alternatives, and above all after they have freed their minds of their own personal bias and somewhat natural bitter feelings against the Japanese, will feel in their hearts that in this treaty lies the greatest chance that we have for peace in the future.
Many honorable members have spoken against the treaty, but the most able speech that has been made so far in opposition to it has been that of the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer). He is a gallant and honorable gentleman who has had considerable personal experience of the Japanese, which he gained in unfortunate circumstances. Whilst I appreciate his feelings, I disagree with many of his arguments. He put his case with care and real ability; nevertheless, I maintain that some of his arguments were completely fallacious: ‘ He said that the treaty had not been’ formulated in Canberra or in London, but in Washington, and that it had been dictated by fear of Russia. He said also that the real question of ma.in- tain ing peace in the Pacific had been for- gotten “ in the flurry of trying to redress a temporary disequilibrium “ and that if the truth were known the Japanese had probably not recovered from their “ astonishment and secret joy at the simple-minded ingenuousness of American politicians “.
Let us consider his ideas for a moment. In the first place, there is no doubt that this treaty was formulated in Washington, and that the present condition of international affairs, particularly as they concern Russia, was in the mind of the one man who, above all, can be called the main architect of the treaty. I refer to a very distinguished American, Mr. John Poster Dulles, whom we had the honour and pleasure of welcoming in Australia some months ago. About eighteen months ago Mr. Dulles wrote some words that concerned freedom, Asia, the Pacific and Japan. They were - lt is time to think of taking- the offensive in the world struggle for freedom, and of rolling buck the engulfing tide of despotism.
In 1042 we were not thinking of how to save our necks, but how to save our freedom. We need more of that spirit to-day.
In the vast ureas of Asia and in the Pacific, we have no adequate policy, largely because China, always until now our friendly partner, has been taken over by the allies of Soviet communism. That calls for new thinking. Our particular opportunity is - Japan.
I consider that those words give clear expression to the thought that lay behind this treaty. They contain no indication that the real problem of maintaining peace in the Pacific has been forgotten.
J consider, instead, that that problem ha3 been faced up to in a brave way, by confronting the real and immediate dangers. We are confronted with the real danger of a. world war with Russia, and in the unfortunate circumstance of such a war breaking out we shall have, at the present time and in the present circumstances, two alternatives - that of defending Japan ourselves with considerable numbers of Allied and Australian troops; or the possibility of Japan being taken over and occupied by Russia.. There are not many people in Australia who would like to see Australian troops fighting in Japan in defence of Japan. I believe that they would rather see the Japanese defending themselves in a third world war. The honorable member for Angas condemned this method of facing up to the real and immediate danger, one of the grounds for his condemnation being that it is inconsistent with traditional British policy. He claimed that British policy had been a long-range policy which had built up the might of the British Empire. I disagree entirely with that view. A well-known ex-member of the British Foreign Office also disagrees with it. I refer to Mr. Harold Nicolson, who said -
The more experienced realize that our diplomatic tactics have been governed by what is really an infinite capacity for adjustment to changing proportions of power.
So that honoured ex-member of the British Foreign Office gives the lie to the honorable member for Angas on the subject of British foreign policy, which was the main ground on which the honorable member condemned the proposed treaty. I. do not believe that British foreign policy has ever been planned on long-range terms. Bather, has it dealt with immediate problems as they are foreseeable. The British Foreign Office has generally sought, not solutions, but adjustments, and, on the whole, the policy has been vastly successful.
I return to the words used by the honorable member for Angas that I quoted earlier, and I repeat them. He said that if the truth were known, the Japanese had probably not recovered from their “ astonishment and secret joy at the simple-minded ingenuousness of American politicians “. If those words are true, and they may well be, then they are the greatest possible argument in favour of this treaty. I regret that the attitude of some honorable members will make it impossible for Japan to say that Australia was generous in its treaty terms, and that it will be impossible for the Japanese to express any real joy at the sentiments expressed in Australia. Several honorable members, including the honorable member for Angas, were prisoners of war of the Japanese. I had neither the privilege of fighting the Japanese nor the experience of gaining a first-hand knowledge of their hospitality, peculiar customs and, above all, their brutality. “When we were fighting the Japanese I happened to be otherwise occupied in Europe. But I maintain that any man who has passed through the experience of being a prisoner of war should realize, more than can any other person in the world, the feelings that are engendered by suppression, oppression, constant surveillance, and a domination of the spirit and the flesh. The passions engendered by these are hatred and extreme bitterness. I know that to be true, from my own personal feelings.
Personal experience is not the only source from which we should learn. We should also be capable of learning from history. Every man and woman in the “Western world who is capable of reading and thinking should realize that harshness and ill-treatment will never help the cause of peace. Even if we think back as far as the Middle Ages we can recall that the English occupation of France aroused no friendly feelings among the French. Poland has been divided and occupied time and again over . a period of centuries, and there is still in that country an intense bitterness towards the former occupiers of it. There is also an intense national spirit which is awaiting the opportunity to strike back, as it has struck back before.
Many people inside and outside of this House are not yet prepared either to forgive or to forget the Cromwellian invasion of Ireland. There are many people in Europe who have not yet forgotten the treatment they received under the treaties and occupations that resulted from the Franco-Prussian war. Even in our own ‘ day we have seen that the harshness of the Treaty of Versailles played a great part in the events that led to World War II. I know from my own personal experience that there are many people in Europe with a fierce hatred of and an intense bitterness against their neighbours. This spirit of hatred and intolerance was born of harsh treaties and prolonged occupations, and has been handed down as a legacy of evil from father to son.
Apart from the lessons of personal experience and history, I should like the House to consider the alternatives to this treaty in the light of practical application. The main criticism of the treaty is that a rearmed Japan might, at some unspecified time in the future, be dangerous to Australia. The critics say that continued occupation might he helpful in making Japan a true democracy in the future and that a re-industrialized Japan would present an economic threat to Australia. Summed up, their arguments mean that we should continue to occupy Japan, first, in order to teach the Japanese democracy; secondly, to prevent them from rearming; and, thirdly, to prevent them from becoming a trade menace to Australia. Those are the three main arguments that have been put forward by honorable members who are opposed to the ratification of this treaty. I ask honorable members who support that view whether they really believe that a nation of S0,000,000 people could, or should, be effectively occupied for an indefinite period. Are they prepared to approve of what would be Australia’s share of the cost of such an occupation, because they could not expect America alone to carry such a burden on our behalf? If they are not prepared to accept an indefinite occupation, can they say what should be the period of the occupation? So far, I have heard only two honorable members mention a specific period in that respect. Do they believe that the religion, character and characteristics of the Japanese that have evolved over thousands of years could be changed during a period of occupation? If they think that such changes could be wrought they are extremely optimistic and, in any event, they would be arguing against the very cases that they put forward recently when Ceylon, India, Pakistan and Indonesia obtained their independence.’ Even if it were desirable, the continued occupation of Japan could be maintained for only a very limited period, which would not be sufficiently long to enable the Japanese to become enamoured of Western ideals to any greater degree than they have become enamoured of them during the last six years. Continued occupation would delay rearmament of Japan for only a few years. We are already aware of the futility of long-range attempts to prevent rearmament or the resurgence of national feeling in a country. Any menace that might come from Japan in the future would not he more effectively prevented than it will be prevented as a result of this treaty. Alternative measures would merely mean a period of delay which would be embittered by feelings of resentment and suppression. The arguments of opponents of this treaty present no solution, or adjustment. Continued occupation would merely allay temporary fears for the future, and, possibly, would mean throwing away the real opportunity that is now presented to us to do something to maintain peace in the Pacific and to gain assistance in fighting Russia should a wa r occur between that country and the Western democracies.
The third argument that has been advanced by opponents of the treaty has been that it will enable Japan to become an economic threat as a result of reindustrialization. That argument can be answered simply. I do not believe that Australia, or any other country, has a moral or any other right to prevent a nation from placing itself on an economically sound basis. Any one who would maintain that a country should be prevented from achieving that objective would merely be encouraging the spread of communism in the country concerned. If Japan produces cheap goods that we require but which we cannot, or simply do not, manufacture in Australia, we should welcome the importation of such goods. The importation of Japanese goods that may be a definite threat to our important industries can be controlled under the protection laws.
Having indicated the reasons why I strongly support this treaty, I should like to say a word about the attitude which, I believe, we should adopt when it has been ratified as, I am convinced, it will be ratified. I do not believe that the treaty offers a certain guarantee against future Japanese aggression; but it will give to us the best possible chance of maintaining peace with Japan and will help us to face up to the very real threat from Russia in the near future. We should not forget the lessons that we have learned in the past, particularly those that we have learned in the islands, in New Guinea and in north Australia. We should constantly bear in mind the following lines that were written by the Emperor of Japan, following the defeat and surrender of the Japanese, in an endeavour to give to his people a clear indication of how they should comport themselves during the occupation and of what their attitude should be when the occupation was completed. The Emperor wrote these lines six years ago -
Man should be like the manly pine that does not change its colour
Though bearing the fallen snow.
Those lines are indicative of what the spiritual leader of Japan felt at the time of Japan’s surrender, and I suggest that we should do well not to forget them.
To those who recommend that we should continue to occupy Japan, I say that, instead, we should expend the money that would be incurred in that way in developing New Guinea and the northern part of Australia. In view of the comments that honorable members opposite have made during the course of my speech, I wonder how the Leader of the Opposition feels when he recalls the appalling blunder that the Government of which he was a member perpetrated when it prevented our American allies from making use of Manus Island as a base. Honorable members opposite speak freely now about the danger of a rearmed Japan, but when the Government that they supported was in office, what did they do to prevent future aggression in the Pacific? By preventing the Americans from using Manus Island as a base they refused to accept the greatest measure of protection that could be given to Australia’s interests in the Pacific. Yet, they now oppose this treaty because it may mean the possible rearmament of Japan. The position in New Guinea and its surrounding waters gives cause for grave concern at present. Recently, it was reported that Indonesia has ordered 42 ships, of up to 700 tons each, from different European countries. The cost of such a fleet would be considerable, and I presume that Indonesia is prepared to meet it. I have no doubt that those ships will constitute a very useful fleet for the Indonesians. However, we cannot overlook the fact that such vessels could be used in the economic field and as our own shipping in New Guinea waters is sparse and, at best, ill-conducted, would therefore be a danger. There is also the possibility that they may ‘be used for infiltration, or for gun-running. I shall leave that idea in the minds of honorable members.
I have already said that the principal architect of this treaty is the well-known American, Mr. John Foster Dulles. Last August, that gentleman wrote these words -
Some days it looks as though I’m just living over again the spring of 1919. The same hatreds and jealousies are all operating. I don’t know whether this peace will work or not. I do know that the other type is certain to fail. If yon have a 100% chance of failure. I think it is wise to take a 50% chance nf success.
I agree entirely with that view. I see in this treaty the best possible chance of maintaining peace in the Pacific. It is no more than a best possible chance. Let us ratify it willingly, and having done so, let us face our future in the Pacific with belief in the common sense of OUt efforts, with faith in our splendid allies in the Pacific Pact, and, above all, with the determination to do everything that lies within our power to strengthen our defences by developing New Guinea and the north of Australia.
.- The controversy that has arisen over this peace treaty revolves round the possible future foreign policy of Japan. 1 believe that all honorable members realize that we are dealing not with certainties but with what we honestly think will be probabilities. Therefore, the honorable member for Bowman (Mr. McColm), when he spoke in an insulting manner about the Opposition’s views on the treaty, did not add anything worthwhile to the debate. In a discussion of the likely future foreign policy of Japan, we should analyse certain definite factors and recognize that at best we can merely put forward our views of probabilities. The Government has committed itself to the view that it is probable that in the event of a war between the Western democracies and Russia, Japan will beour ally. I propose to analyse that probability, because upon it rests any rational case that can be made in favour of the ratification of this treaty. For a very long time the Government has displayed a completely blind and uncritical attitude towards the foreign policy of the United States of America. But it will occur to anybody who takes the trouble to examine that policy that it has been far from being infallible in relation to Asia during the last seven years. To begin with, there was the Yalta policy. At that stage, the United States of America could not do enough to strengthen the position of Russia in the Ear East. It handed over to Russia the vital points of Port Arthur and Darien, the control of the Manchurian railways and of the island of Sakhalin, and special fisheries rights which carried with them definite naval implications in the Pacific. Then followed the Marshall mission to China, the object of which was to fuse the Communists in that country with Chiang Kai-shek in a composite government. That policy greatly strengthened the position of the Communists. Subsequently, American policy suddenly and sharply went into reverse. In its next phase it set about undoing what the United States of America itself had done. It supported Chiang Kai-shek, and did so at a time when his chances of his holding his position in China were almost hopeless. During that period millions of dollars worth of American arms was made available to the Nationalists’ forces, great numbers of which immediately deserted to the Communists with the result that the Communists obtained a large proportion of those arms. The second phase of American foreign policy which reversed the first phase was made apparent during the campaign in Korea. The object of the armed conflict in Korea was to prevent the spread of Russian influence in a sphere in which the United States of America had handed over to Russia she vital points of Port Arthur and Darien. I mention those examples in order to show why we should not be hypnotized by American foreign policy. It has been extraordinarily unstable in every sphere during the last seven years, whether we consider Europe or Palestine, but most definitely when we consider Asia.
The foreign policy of Japan in the future will be determined by Japanese interests. The honorable member for Bowman has suggested that a lenient policy will earn Japanese gratitude. I do not believe for one minute that the Japanese will allow any sentimental consideration to determine their foreign policy. It will be neither revenge, if somebody has misbehaved himself during the occupation, nor gratitude if the genera] policy in the occupation was lenient. It will be determined by Japanese interests. Let us try to analyse what those Japanese interests are. Let us consider the abiding things in Japanese foreign policy. The honorable member for Bowman has told us that British foreign policy has tried to deal with piecemeal situations as the)’ have arisen. If anything has characterized British foreign policy, it has been that while there have been short-term policies, there have also been profound long-term policies such as the independence of the Netherlands, the support for France, the policy of allying itself with Eastern powers against any central power that expands and threatens east and west, which on three occasions in the course of its history has led to reluctant treaties with Russia. In the same way, the permanent and abiding interests of Japan underlie what may be temporary opportunist policies. Obviously, Japan will continue to have great internal stresses. I refer, of course, to the internal stresses of population, which are nol. necessarily to be solved by emigration but, as the honorable member for Bowman quite rightly suggested, by industrialization and by seeking foreign markets and sources of raw materials. It is preferable, from the Japanese standpoint, to control those sources of raw materials than merely to go into them as a customer. None of ns in this House can deny that before 1941, Japan was freely given access to the raw materials of the countries that it later endeavoured to seize. It had no difficulty in buying rubber and iron ore from Malaya. It was not denied Australian wool or scrap metals. We were only too eager to trade with Japan, as were all the nations of the South Pacific. Japan did not want to be a customer who goes into a shop and buys goods; it wished to own the shop. Therefore, its foreign policy was directed towards the acquisition of the territories in which those raw materials that were the basis of its industry existed.
Japan has always had a dual foreign policy, and it arises from the geographical position of that country, which is unchanged by any treaty. Japan must choose between a policy of continental expansion and a policy of oceanic expansion, and it is by no means impossible to conceive that Japanese statesmen will conclude that their mistake in 1941 was that they fell between two stools. They tried to continue a policy of continental conquest in China and locked up great armies in conflict with that country. They added to that venture the burden of carrying out a policy of oceanic expansion southwards. It is extremely probable that the Japanese will say to themselves, “ Had we not locked up millions of troops uselessly in China, where they were matched with China’s limitless man-power, and had we deployed those troops among the islands in a policy of southern expansion, we would have been much more successful”. If we consider that a rearmed Japan will be an ally of the United Kingdom and the other Western powers, we must say that we believe that Japan will throw itself at the continental bloc of China and Russia instead of expanding southwards by naval action.
Consider the choices that lie before Japan. From 1890 onwards, Japan did not face a united China. It faced a China that was disintegrating under the Manchus until 1911. Thereafter until 1931, Japan faced a China that was in a perpetual state of civil war, racked by war lords, and in a state of complete confusion. Until to-day, J Japan has never faced a united continental China. In spite of that division and confusion, Japan was unable to carry out a successful policy of conquest in China, yet we are asked to believe that Japanese statesmen will now turn round and say, “ Although we could not conquer a China that was torn by civil war and in a state of confusion, we can now defeat a united China, backed up by all the resources of Russian foreign policy”.
If there is a world conflict between the Western Powers and the Soviet bloc, what will be the strategic position of Japan? It is immediately opposite the Siberian mainland. Even if Japan attacks that mainland with all the atomic bombs that the United States of America can present to it, no dint will be made on Russian war potential, or on anything essential to that country. But if Japan is atom bombed from Siberia it will be struck a mortal blow - a blow more drastic than was struck when aircraft operating from Allied bases in the Pacific dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the last war. Japan has density of population and the greatest concentration of industry. In war, it would have to face the whole of the Asiatic littoral of China and Asiatic Russia, and distribute its blows over that vast area, and, in return, would receive a concentrated attack. Can any sane person believe that Japan, choosing between the alternate policies, would throw itself at the whole continent, of Asia, to be struck a mortal blow? Or will Japan seek an agreement in order to secure its continental rear if it resumes a policy of naval expansion southwards? Those are the probabilities that we can weigh.
Of course, nobody can know definitely, but it seems to me, upon an analysis of the situation, that Japan is far more likely to choose a policy of oceanic expansion in preference to trying to embark on the futile task of throwing itself, in order to please us, against the Russian bloc in the Far East. Japan would be a complete outpost of the Western Powers, standing isolated near the continent of Asia. Its position would be as desperate as that of Great Britain, were the lastnamed country ever confronted with a Europe completely united in will and in action against it. That is the position which faces Japan to-day. It seems to me - and I am only advancing it as a probability - that Japanese statesmen would prefer to embark upon a policy of oceanic expansion, and would seek to secure their continental rear. It is quite clear that Stalin anticipates that that is what the Japanese will do, because the overtures that he has already made to Japan in broadcasts show that he considers that it is by no means impossible that an independent Japan will enter, however indirectly, the Russian bloc. Japan has always had that as a second policy.
Let us examine the characteristics of Japan’s foreign policy in its successful days until 1941. Japan was always confronted with this choice of Russia verms the Western Powers. Japan’s first ally was Great Britain. Why did Japan enter into that alliance ? The reason was to secure i*s ?ssr while it embarked upon a policy of eliminating Czarist Russia from Asia. Japan continued to attach itself to the “Western Powers while it eliminated Germany from the Pacific. Honorable members will recall that Japan obtained the Marshall Islands, the Caroline Islands and the Ladrone Islands, as well as German strongpoints in Chinn. Always Japan had an ally. The moment Japan abandoned that policy, the moment it was prepared to take on the east and the west, the moment it was prepared to have oceanic enemies at the same time as it had continental enemies, it failed.’ The Japanese, I submit, will turn back to the policy of having a war on one front only - one set of enemies - and its position will be much better if its enemies are oceanic than if they are continental. One feature that the honorable member for Bowman ignored is that Japan is the only Asiatic power with a naval tradition. No one seriously suggests that Russia has a fleet that can carry out an invasion of this country. At the moment Japan has not a navy, but only a fool would underestimate its capacity to build one within ten years. Japan has the trained personnel, and the naval tradition. China and India have no naval tradition, and no other country in Asia has given any sign of a wish to build anything like a significant navy. But Japan has every reason, as well as the internal qualities, to turn back once more to a policy of naval expansion.
Although I was critical of what seemed to me to be undoubted inconsistencies in the foreign policy of the United States of America, I do not wish it to be thought for one minute that I underestimate the great generosity of the intentions of that country, and the goodwill of its people, which strives to find itself reflected in its foreign policy. Nevertheless, it has frequently been ill-conceived and erratic*. In relation to Japan it has been extremely erratic, beginning with a policy of severity and ending as a policy of extreme leniency. It is interesting to observe that, as the Korean policy has developed, the American press has endeavoured increasingly to justify that policy in relation to Japan. Those newspapers seem to admit that the United Nations forces cannot occupy Korea forever - if I may borrow the expression that was used by the honorable member for Bowman. It is recognized that the moment the United Nations forces cease to occupy Korea, China will just walk in. Therefore, the purposes of American foreign policy in Korea are becoming increasingly mysterious. The American newspapers have no rational argument to advance in justification of a policy that is apparently to lead nowhere, so they now advance the statement that the action in Korea is giving Japan a breathing space. They point out that Japan can be attacked from Korea, but that when Japan is liberated and rearmed, it will be able to look after itself, and, consequently, the Korean policy has its justification in relation to that situation. That is a new line to be adopted by the United States press. I merely say that it is another example which should give us pause to reflect on American foreign policy.
The United States of America is inevitably and desirably the leader of all Western thought to-day. That is a new position for that country, and it is not one that it has so far shown it has sufficient wisdom to occupy. It has not the maturity of a power such as Great Britain which, in foreign policy, will usually commit itself only on something that matters fundamentally to Great Britain. There is a strain of rashness in American foreign policy; the United States of America commits itself to all sorts of actions in areas that do not matter much to it. The celebrated remark of Mr. Churchill about Korea - “ The wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time “ - may be an apt description of some of the decisions of the United States of America in intervening in Asia.
Australia should refuse to ratify the treaty. Like the honorable member for Bowman the Opposition realizes that, whether Australia ratifies it or not, the fact is that the United States of America, and the United States of America alone, will determine what shall be done in Japan. But the attitude of the United States of America has been extremely foolish from the stand-point of its own interests. The conference at which the treaty was signed was the first conference that had up to then been called at which nobody conferred. Everybody was summoned to consider a treaty that was to be incapable of amendment. There was no basis for discussion. Such cavalier treatment of all the minor powers associated with the signature of the treaty showed how certain elements in the United States Foreign Office could not even pretend that other countries were of any importance. A friendly but justifiable rebuke would be administered to the United States of America if Australia did not ratify the treaty, which it has not been given any real opportunity to amend and about which it has not been properly consulted. The conference contrasted strongly with other conferences in the early post-war period at which real discussion took place between the various Allied powers in the Far East. If the United States of America is to exercise, most effectively its rightful moral, leadership of the Western powers, it must drop this cavalier attitude towards its associates. One way of persuading it to do so would be for Australia to refuse to ratify the Japanese peace treaty.
.- The decision that the House is called upon to make in relation to the Japanese peace treaty is of a very critical nature and I believe that there will ‘be no disagreement with my statement that the terms of the treaty and the results that will flow from its operation are likely to be of vital importance, first, to the security and economy of Australia, and, secondly, to the retention and development of democratic control in the Pacific region at least. I make that comment because the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) this afternoon went to some trouble to explain that members of the Opposition are concerned for the safety of their children and their children’s children. All of us who have applied ourselves to this subject are motivated by the same sentiment. Members of the Opposition have not a monopoly of that mental attitude. Surely honorable members opposite can see that we on this side of the House are attempting to assure the security of Australia and those who come after us ! We differ from the opposition regarding the best means of providing for our country’s security, but the desire to achieve safety is common to all of us. Therefore, the point that the honorable member for Kingston raised should not have been imported into the debate.
The importance of the. decision that we must make is so great that honorable members on both sides of the House should attempt to clear their minds from the start of the natural prejudices that they must entertain. All of us must be greatly prejudiced against the Japanese nation, but, if we allowed our prejudice to influence our minds, the result might be a decision that would be inimical to the whole nation. Instead of allowing prejudice to sway us - and there has been considerable evidence of prejudice already in this debate - we should attempt to determine exactly where the interests of Australia’s national and economic security lie and how we may best try to ensure the preservation of the democratic way of life that we espouse. Because I propose to speak in favour of the treaty, I am entitled at te outset to present my personal views so that honorable members may understand that my feelings are just as strong as are those of some members of the Opposition. As a result of considerable personal experience of the Japanese, not only during World War II. but also for mi.ny years prior to the war in northern Queensland, I detest and despise the Japanese people. But I do not fear them.
– That is a good start.
– It is a plain statement of fact. At the same time, though I fully realize the potential danger to Australia of a rehabilitated Japan, I am strongly of the opinion that, if we put our house in order and promote the production of goods that we need and the strengthening of our economy, which we can do against the challenge of Japan or any other nation, if we prepare our own defences so that Australia will become a strong force capable of relying on its own efforts in conjunction with those of its friends, and ii we i,ut ourselves in a position in which we can honorably carry out our obligations to our sister ntions. we shall need to have no fear of the Japanese or of anybody else.
Having put personal feelings to one side, I have listed what I consider to be the main factors that bear directly on the problem that we face in relation to the Japanese peace treaty. The first of these factors is that Japan is a nation and, as such, is entitled to exercise the rights and the freedoms that we have espoused under the terms of the Atlantic Charter. The second factor is that the United States of America has, in colloquial language, baled up on the tasks that it has been carrying out since the termination of hostilities in the occupation and the partial feeding of Japan. The third factor is that Japan has a strong desire to expand southwards. The fourth factor is that, under the tutelage of the United States of America, Japan has expressed its intention to adopt and practice democracy. The fifth factor is that the bringing of Japan under Communist control is a major feature of Russia’s plan for world supremacy. I shall discuss each of those factors in turn in order to determine what effect they should have on our decision in relation to the peace treaty.
Will anybody who has any knowledge of the Japanese people deny that Japan is a nation? Will any member of this House who visited Japan several years ago in a parliamentary delegation deny, after what he saw in Japan, that it must be treated as a nation? I ask those honorable members to remembertheir visit to Kure, where they saw how a naval dockyard capable of producing one of the largest battleships in the world had been built in a period of ten or fifteen years. I ask them to remember the great industrial potential of Japan and the evidence of development that had already taken place. I ask them to remember the intensive cultivation of the soil, every square yard of which was being used. I ask them also to remember the age-old arts that were demonstrated to them. Can they deny that Japan is a nation which, whatever we may do, must become, by reason of the virility and. ability of its people, a potent force in world affairs? For the present we are in a position from which we may be able to direct that potent force into channels that will be of advantage not only to Australia but also to the rest of the world. Japan is a nation that cannot be kept in subjection. Any attempt to do so must inevitably result in an upsurge of national feeling that would plunge the world into, a third global war. Furthermore, any such attempt would represent a complete denial of those principles of democracy that we are now attempting to instil in the minds of the Japanese people. How futile it would be for us to continue to preach all the precepts of democracy if, on this, the first occasion on which we have been given the opportunity to practise those principles in relation to Japan, We attempted to subjugate its people. A calm assessment of the first factor that I have stated proves clearly that the treaty must be ratified.
The second factor is the refusal of the United States of America to continue to carry out the tasks that it has been performing in Japan since the end of the war. It was evident when our parliamentary delegation visited Japan that this refusal would be the ultimate outcome of the conduct of Australia and other nations that were supposed to be co-operating with the United States of America at that time. The United States of America is now saying, in effect, “ You have left us to carry this baby. We have done so as long a.« we can, and we intend to do so no longer “. Why should it not adopt that attitude ? Let us consider what we have done to direct and control Japan in the post-war years. After Australia had gained a fine reputation in Japan as a result of the conduct of its troops, and after we had borne a reasonable share of the burden of occupation, the Labour government of the day decided that it was time for us to pull out of Japan, and we did so. The American reaction that was expressed to us when we visited Japan may be summarized in these words : “ Very well. If you want to pull out before the job is done, we shall carry on because we must do so, but, when the time comes, we shall do the talking “. I do not condemn that attitude. It is an attitude that we brought upon ourselves by our shortsighted policy when we virtually threw away all the bargaining points in our own interest that we had gained as a result .of the efforts of our armed forces during the war. The world plan for the defeat of communism now obviously involves the purpose of using Japan as a forward bastion against the onrush of communism. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) scorned the idea that we should expect Japan to throw itself on Russia in the fight against communism. As far as I know, it has not been suggested that we should look to Japan to thrust itself upon Russia. But the denial of Japan to communism would represent a very powerful factor in our defence against communism, and that is the attitude that the United States of America has adopted. It does not suggest that Japan, on our outer perimeter, should act in a way that would bring upon itself the full onslaught of Russia’s might.
Those honorable members who contend that we should reject the American plan and refuse to ratify the peace treaty should consider the alternatives. As far as I can judge, there are only two alternatives. One is that we should take over the occupation of Japan ourselves. In fact, two speakers that I have heard in this debate - the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) and the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Joshua) - have suggested that the occupation of Japan should continue for a considerable time. Who can undertake the task? The United States of America has shown clearly that it does not intend to do the job any longer. Australia is the next country concerned. Are we prepared to take over the duty? To suggest that we should do so is obviously ridiculous from many points of view. The other alternative would be that, having decided that a peace treaty must be .concluded, we should decide to leave Japan wide open by denying to it the right to rearm for selfdefence. In other words, that alternative is that we should leave Japan as a vacuum for Russia to fill and thereby thrust Japan immediately into the Communist camp. Both those alternatives are ridiculous, and the only practicable thing for Australia to do is to ratify this peace treaty.
I believe that Japan has a definite tendency to expand southwards, and I consider that to he a natural desire he- cause Japan does not produce enough food for its people. Since the end of the war, America has been giving practically 25 per cent, of the food consumed in Japan in order to preserve the Japanese from starvation. When Japan again gets control of its own economy it will either have to earn overseas credits to buy the extra food that it needs, or have to expand to the south in order to obtain food producing areas in the southern islands. When I was in Japan I found that there was a section of United States opinion in Japan in favour of such southward expansion. This treaty will provide peculiar facilities for Japan to feed itself without the necessity for territorial expansion. Before the last war, while Japan was able to trade with other nations, it was not necessary that this southern expansion should take place. Japan’s trade is not so great now, and therefore the Pacific Pact must be regarded as a part of the Japanese peace treaty. Without the Pacific Pact there would be a great weakness in the treaty. I have not the slightest doubt that that fact has been acknowledged by the United States of America and other nations and will be an adequate safeguard against southward expansion. However, I consider that there should be some Government pronouncement, perhaps by the Minister for External Affairs, to the effect that our ratification of the treaty should be so qualified as to make it plain that Australia will not tolerate any infiltration by Japanese nationals of our mandated or trusteeship territories. Had the previous Government not handed over control of New Guinea and Papua to the United Nations and received that Territory back on trusteeship conditions, Australia would have been in a far stronger position to prepare its defences in New Guinea against the southward expansion of a prospective enemy. We must- push on with the development of New Guinea with all speed.
I am not prepared to accept the common American belief that the Japanese nation has been wooed and won for democracy within the space of a few years. I believe that considerable progress has been made in showing the
Japanese the benefits of democracy, and that a considerable section of the people is prepared to accept democracy, but generations will elapse before that will become a generally accepted policy. Any action that we may now take to prevent a development of the true spirit of democracy - self-preservation and selfdetermination - will kill the young plant of democracy that is beginning to grow in Japan. How can we take such an action when all United States policy until now has been directed to the fostering of democracy in. Japan?
I believe it to be true that Japan hates Russia, and that for some considerable time Russia has recognized that to be a fact. Japan has fought Russia twice, and is not disposed to espouse the principles of communism. Therefore, Japan is likely to be a good ally against Russia. But its friendship must be fostered. I believe that the Japanese will turn to communism only if we force them into it by our actions from now onwards. What would happen if, as a result of the rejection of this treaty, Japan were left defenceless? Japan would become Communist-controlled within the next five years. Russia has made obvious plans to take over Japan. The Korean episode was the first step in the endeavour to obtain control of Japan. Unless Japan can defend itself against communism from Korea, and the northern islands in which Russia is building large airfields and holding divisions of troops in readiness, or unless we can defend it, Japan will fall into the hands of the Communists. We must allow Japan to defend itself. If Japan were controlled by the Communists its vast industrial power would become available to the Russians for use against us in a possible Pacific war. Moreover, the enormous and fatalistic population of Japan would no doubt then be used to swell the Communist armies. Russia would- then be able to use the full power of Japan against us. The whole purpose of this treaty is to avoid such a situation.
If we fail to ratify this treaty we shall invite the use by Russia of Japan as a spearhead in the Pacific, and we should then face a third world war. All those facts point to the conclusion that Aus- tralia should ratify the peace treaty. In that regard I echo the remarks made to-day by the honorable member . for Henty (Mr. Gullett). Australia’s safety lies not only in the ratification of this treaty, and in the Pacific Pact, but also in greater industrial production. If there were .greater production of the goods that we can make better than other countries we should have no need to worry about Japanese industrial competition. For instance, we can sell Australian manufactured steel in Australia for £25 a ton, whereas imported Japanese steel costs £150 a ton.
We must also develop our food production capacity, which has decreased lamentably. When Australians realize the gravity of the situation they will really get down to work. Moreover, our defence potential is not high enough at present and must be increased. If we do all these things we shall need to have no fear of the future.
– Until the honorable member for Dawson (Mr. Davidson) spoke, this debate was concerned with the principles voiced by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) upon his introduction of the bill. He said that the treaty left much to be desired from Australia’s viewpoint. I can understand the statement of the honorable member for Bowman (Mr. McColm) about the attempt made by honorable members on the Government side to support this measure, in which they have no heart. The honorable member for Dawson advanced an argument that was quite contrary to the argument of the Minister who introduced the hill. Both the honorable member for Bowman and the honorable member, for Dawson said that the only alternative to this proposition is for America to remain in occupation of Japan. Then the honorable member for Dawson said that a part of the American opinion in Japan was against a continuation of Allied occupation. But I remind honorable members that the Minister for External Affairs said -
This agreement will give the United States the right to maintain naval, military and air bases in Japan and in adjacent islands, including Okinawa, and will in itself impose some limitation on the extent of Japan’s rearmament.
In the face of that statement, the honorable member for Dawson’s remark about America being ready to give up responsibility for the occupation of Japan is &o much stupid nonsense. The honorable member for Bowman, supported by the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Treloar) cast aspersions on the previous Labour Government for its actions in regard to Manus Island. The Minister for the Navy (Mr. McMahon) surely knows that the story that the Government is telling is not correct.- This is the story of Manus.
– This will be good.
– Yes, it will be good because it is the truth, and there are not many members on the Government side who are telling the truth.
– Order ! The honorable member should not make unpleasant insinuations.
– I wish that you had taken the same attitude, Mr. Speaker, when frightful aspersions were being voiced against honorable members on this side of the House by the honorable member for Bowman. The truth in respect of Manus Island is that the American nation wanted to accept joint responsibility for Manus as a base on the understanding that if Australia became involved in war and America was neutral, Australia could not use Manus. Honorable members will recall, that in 1941, when London was blown to pieces and Coventry was among the many towns blasted by bombs, the United States of America was neutral. It was to the credit of the Australian government which negotiated on the control of Manus that it then preserved British interests in world diplomacy. The attitude it adopted was that Manus was Australian, and that, unless Australia had complete control, it could not accept a situation that would leave the way open to a repetition of the events of 1941 in which America would still be neutral while Australian cities were being bombed. I state these facts not in order to discredit America, but so as to show clearly what the treaty involves. In reply to the insinuations that have been made about Manus Island by honor able members opposite, I say, “ Thank goodness we had an Australian Government with an Australian outlook which was determined to protect everything that belonged to Australia”.
Members on the Government side must surely agree that it is important to prevent the Japanese from coming under Communist domination. That is the whole fundamental feature underlying this treaty. If honorable members analyse it on that basis, they must look at three features that relate to the treaty : First, we must look at the soundness of our dealings with those who are now opposed or are likely to he opposed in future to the Soviet Union, which is the leader of Communist-dominated practice. Secondly, we must study the impact of the policy that we are about to adopt in respect of future world peace; that is very important. Thirdly, the need to avoid expediency in our decisions and the acceptance of the truth in respect of the decisions and the acceptance of the truth in respect of the decisions that we are about to make.
I wish to turn back the pages of history a little further than did the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). Pearl Harbour was not the first and only example of a Japanese surprise attack. History records that in 1904 Japan commenced a war with Russia at Port Arthur in the same way. At that point, United States diplomacy actually paid tribute to the clever and cunning tactics of the Japanese. It is an historical fact that throughout the nineteenth century the United States of America and Russia were drawn close together for the sole purpose of combining their forces so that they could combat Britain’s maritime power. Just as America grew as a consequence of World War I. and World War II., so had Russia grown as a result of the Napoleonic wars. Even in the nineteenth century, when Russia was taking charge of Persia, Afghanistan and Turkey, and had added them to its empire, there was no complaint from America, because in those days it was expedient to have Russia on America’s side as a battlement against the power of the British Empire. In 1904 America first decided to take sides against Russia and even then it was only moral support of Japan when the Japanese-Russian conflict broke out.
I direct the attention of honorable members who would accept American diplomacy as the last word in international affairs, to the fact that the Japanese have always struck in the same fashion. America made a mistake in 1909 similar to that which it is making in 1952. As a consequence of the settlement of the RussianJapanese conflict, Japan and Russia between them had control of Manchuria and the Manchurian railways. The American Secretary of State in 1909, Mr. Knox, conceived the bright idea that if foreign capital in the form of the mighty dollar was used to buy from the Russians and Japanese their railways and to restore them to China, they would rebuild China as a buffer between Japan and Russia. As a result of that diplomatic blunder, those two nations were brought together. The statement by the honorable member for Dawson is not correct. Since 1910, despite skirmishes, Russia and Japan have always had much in common. They were brought together then as a result of poor diplomacy on the part of Mr. Knox. Not only did those two nations come together in 1910, but they also made a commercial pact and began to trade. That is the background.
Honorable members will know what happened in “World “War I. Towards the end of that war in 1917 there was an upheaval in Russia and the Czar abdicated. At the outset, in March, 1917, American diplomacy applauded the downfall of the Czar, but in November, 1917, when Trotsky and Lenin assumed power, the whole complexion of the situation was changed. Russia was split. History records that the advent of Lenin and Trotsky at that stage was actually supported by the German authorities. Those men were mothered for a short period in Germany before they took control of Russia. Then there commenced in Russia that blood bath from which communism grew, and it is recorded that even then American diplomacy attempted to intervene. Although “World “War I. finished in 1919, American troops were not finally withdrawn from Russian soil until 1920. So we come to World War II. and to the Yalta Agreement. Honorable members should forget that the only agreement that could be extracted from Stalin at Yalta was on undertaking that Russia would declare war on Japan three months after the defeat of Hitler. The honorable member for Dawson has had the audacity to say that those two nations were always at one another’s throats, but we find recorded in history that Japan and Russia were fighting common enemies and that Japan was not fighting Russia. Hitler blamed the defeat of Germany on the failure of Japan to fight Russia from the eastern side. Russia was playing a shrewd game at Yalta. Stalin had a fair idea that three months after the downfall of Hitler Japan would collapse and Russia would emerge without being bad friends with Japan. He missed by only six days. The declaration of war by Russia on Japan was merely formal because six days later V.J. Day dawned. So World War II. ended without Japan and Russia being enemies.
Honorable members are told now that we shall arm Japan and turn it against the Communist hordes of Russia. Let us be sure where we are going. I invite honorable members to consider the impact of that policy on future world peace. I know that it is said that irrespective of what Australia does, this treaty will be adopted, but let us as Australians express our personal point of view. The impact of this treaty will be the reverse of that propounded by the Government. I believe that the views expressed by the honorable member for Fremantle in regard to the future of Japan are correct. It is not likely that Japan will turn to people thousands of miles away if a world war breaks ; and as to the prospect of a world war the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has told honorable members that we must be ready for war in 1953. If we adopt a peace treaty such as this one, we shall be saying to Japan, “ You are free to go your way and choose your friends “. That is what honorable members on the Government side are saying. They are telling Japan that it may rearm. I support the honorable member for Fremantle in saying that if we walk out on Japan at this stage, and let it go on its merry way, it will have no alternative but to join the Russian forces because it would be defenceless against the power of Russia. There is only one way to guarantee peace in the Pacific, and that is to maintain Japan in a state of neutrality, so that if Russia occupies the country it will find Japan a valueless embarrassment. I consider that it is right to say that Japan is one of the few countries in the world which can be regarded as a non-belligerent. If its neutrality is maintained Japan can be put, in the event of another world conflict, in the same category as Switzerland. The fact that Japan is defenceless would make it an obligation and not an asset to Russia, if that country occupied it. The Minister spoke of the defences in and around Japan. Surely it is sheer nonsense to say that we have sufficient strength to prevent a rearmed Japan from annexing Australia, if, in fact, America has not been able to establish in the islands surrounding Japan defences that are sufficient to meet any onslaught of Russia. There is an old, old, saying in respect of such matters as this, which is to the following effect : - “ In a time of crisis let time run its course for a while “. Surely we should keep a meddling hand out of a situation at a time when meddling can bring only disaster.
Now I turn to my last point, which has reference to the grounds of expediency in this matter. I should not feel so deeply about this if it were not that I cannot forget that Japan has not for a moment changed its attitude one iota since it launched its attack on Pearl Harbour, except to say with a smile designed to gull us, “We are so sorry”. Let him who trusts that smile be on guard! The fact is that in the last three months Japan has given us an indication of its cunning policy. American diplomacy is not playing the game with Britain, and Japan is not playing the game with America. I shall give my reasons for that statement. A few weeks ago British and American policies were discussed in America between American officials and Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden. It is recorded that on his return to Britain Mr. Eden expressed -himself as pleased with the discussions. Yet three days afterwards the smile was wiped from his face, because on his desk was a letter, a copy of which had been in the hands of the American Secretary of State during the Washington discussions, which said that Japan would in future recognize Nationalist China. That constituted a rebuff to Britain by America, because for a long time Britain had recognized Communist China. Britain had to take the rebuff. But worse was to happen. It :is now reported that yesterday during the peace discussions between the Chinese Nationalists and the Japanese, Japan made it abundantly clear to the Nationalist Government that it would discuss with it only the areas at present held by the Nationalist Government. In other words, Japan has already broken away from the undertaking it gave to America only a few months ago. A copy of that letter regarding Japan’s recognition of Nationalist China was sent to Mr. Eden instead of having been handed to him in Washington, because it would not have been politic to give it to him while he was in America discussing matters of policy that affect the British nation.
So we have Japan, the ex-enemy with whom the Government wishes to make peace on such generous terms, already with one foot in each camp. It. has one foot in the camp of Nationalist China, but at the same time it is keeping the door wide open so that as soon as the treaty is signed it can trade with Communist China and Russia and determine its own relations with those two countries.
I cannot help but liken Mr. John Foster Dulles to Mr. Knox, who was the United States Secretary of State in 1909. I believe that the outlook of Mr. Dulles is somewhat similar to that of Mr. Knox. I do not condemn thom for it, but as Britishers we are to be condemned if we do not stand up for our own interests. The time has arrived when Australia and the British Commonwealth cannot accept the guesswork of a single American, Mr. John Foster Dulles, as final. Nor can we agree that he is competent to determine the British Commonwealth’s foreign policy.
– We never have done so.
– .We are doing so in relation to this matter. I am not prepared to so accept the guesswork of Mr. Dulles. Japan, rearmed, will think of another Pearl Harbour. That country has not forgotten Hiroshima. It has not fought Russia since 1905, and has been friendly with Russia since 1910. Behind the smiling face of Japan lies the belief that the best protector of Japan is a powerful, mechanized Russia, irrespective of Russia’s politics.
All that we are doing is adopting a policy of expediency, hoping against hope that we will get some advantage from it. I am not prepared for future generations of Australians to face the results of this proposed treaty. I wish that a sufficient number of nations would reject the treaty as would force the United States of America to recast it. The proposed treaty is not the last word. It will be a good thing for the future peace of the world if we can delay the conclusion of a treaty such as this until the meddlers have stopped being so certain that another war is immediately in the offing.
Peace has been peddled by communism, and at the moment is being peddled by Stalin. It was peddled by the Russians at the League of Nations in 1927 when they were the first to throw in the bombshell of disarmament. In 1938 they asked for a stronger policy to be adopted in respect of the Munich Agreement, and . when their advice was not followed they astounded the world by making a pact with Hitler. To-day we are following the same pattern as we followed in 1938, when we allowed Russia to hold the trump card.
I am proud to be making these statements to-night because history will record the views of every honorable member in respect of this treaty and its effect on the future of the world. As far as I am concerned Japan can never be trusted. I believe that we should determine here and now that Japan’s position is not to be strengthened until we consider that we are not in danger of the blood-bath that the Prime Minister predicted would come in 1953. I appreciate what the Americans did for us in the war, but
I believe that it is time that we ceasedto accept American diplomacy as our only guide. As an Australian and a Britisher I shall exercise my right to express my point of view. I believe that every honorable member who gives this, matter consideration and has a care for the future, a memory of the despicable behaviour of Japan and a knowledge of the relationship between Japan and Russia, will agree that we should reject this treaty. Even at this late hour I urge honorable members opposite not todo as the honorable member for Dawson (Mr. Davidson) did when he opened his heart about his feelings about the Japanese and then shut his eyes and walked out into the dark. Let us have daylight on the matter. Let us maintain the status quo in relation to Japan until we are sure of what is to happen in world affairs.
.- The making of peace with Japon is not a matter that has arisen in the minds of the Australian people suddenly or even in the last few months. It has been in the minds of all of us for many years. In fact, it was in our minds during hostilities. It would be well to consider the thoughts of the average Australian about, this subject. It would be well to consider the thoughts of the men on the field of battle who were brought face to face with it and had to reach some conclusions on possible post-war happenings. What were the general principles that guided them, not as students of foreign affairs or as diplomatic experts, but as Australians? There have been many discussions over the years on such subjects as the punishment of war criminals, reparations, territorial claims, the fate of the Japanese Emperor, rearmament, the future threats of Japan to world peace, and the possible resurgence of Japanese power. Paramount in the thoughts of all Australians in considering these general principles were the difficulties which would surround the enforcement of a peace traty. It is all very well to lay down ideal conditions at a certain given moment, but for how long, could Australia alone, or even in alliance with other powers, enforce whatever ideal conditions were postulated?
The speeches that we have heard during this debate, particularly from exservicemen, have been marked by a thoughtful outlook. The honorable gentlemen I have in mind have approached the matter from the point of view of general principles, although their conclusions have differed. The two outstanding examples of such differences were the speech of the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes) and the speech of the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer). Although both of those honorable gentlemen suffered a great deal at the hands of the Japanese, their approach to this matter was not one of bitterness, revenge or hatred, but was simply directed to ensuring adequate protection for Australia and the raising of Japan to a standard at which it would be a civilized nation in the true sense of the word. Wherever sober thinking Australians discuss this subject, they will agree that Japan cannot be kept down by a hard peace, and that the errors that occurred when previous peace treaties were made must not be repeated in this instance. What is the use of demanding reparation when, later, the victors weaken and do not insist on receiving them? What is the use of enforcing trade restric-tions in this instance, when Japan cannot produce sufficient food for its own requirements? What would be the use of imposing limitations upon armaments if we could not, in fact, enforce them? Such an approach would merely make the peace a hostile interval until another conflict inevitably occurred. Short of adopting an attitude of complete extermination - delenda est Carthago - we cannot approach this problem along those lines. We must proceed on the basis of general principles. The Japanese must be civilized according to our understanding of the term, but it must be done from within themselves and through their existing institutions even to the point of preserving their system of monarchy as personified in their Emperor. One error that was made under the Treaty of Versailles was to remove the Kaiser and to destroy the hereditary German monarchy. The imposition upon the Germans of a system of democracy that they could not understand eventually paved the way for Hitler. In general, we can conclude that this fairly generous peace, subject to reasonable safeguards, is desirable.
What are the circumstances in which we are considering the ratification of this treaty? Let us examine them in order to see how the general principles to which I have referred can be applied. Japan has been occupied for the last six years by forces of the United States of America, Australia and Great Britain under a reasonably firm but tolerant administration. Nobody can say how successful that occupation has been, but I believe that all honorable members will agree that if it were continued strains and frictions would develop ; and bitterness among the Japanese, if it does not already exist, would be intensified. By continuing the occupation it is almost certain that the strains and frictions which inevitably occur within a territory that is occupied by a foreign power would arise. However, during the period of occupation the Japanese trade unions have been strengthened and developed, the working conditions of the Japanese people have been improved, although not, perhaps, to the degree that we would like, and their parliamentary system has been continued in its previous form but, at the same time, strengthened. Japanese heavy industries have been dismantled and the great industrial and financial monopolies that previously existed in Japan have been broken up. It is difficult to reach agreement upon the degree to which those monopolies have been permanently disbanded, but the fact remains that their power has been considerably reduced. Japanese war criminals have been punished, and it is appropriate to note that in that respect the general attitude towards Japan was one not so much of revenge as of education in order to show to the world that our civilization exacts certain standards of conduct even in a total war.
Outside Japan, the countries of the world are lined up in two camps - the Western democracies and Russia and its satelites. The world is rearming to the point of placing painful stresses and strains on the whole economic structure. In this situation Japan occupies a strategic position. Its fate is vital to us. All the military advice that we have been able to obtain about Russian interests and intentions is that that country is a threat and menace to Japan. Under these conditions,, the continued occupation of Japan without the .conclusion of a peace treaty would be intolerable. Indeed, it has become intolerable to the United States of America. It is true, as the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) has said, that the United States of America will station forces in Japan by agreement with the Japanese. Those forces will not be imposed upon by Japan from without. The United States of America has said that it will not continue the present occupation. How can Australia say that the occupation must be continued? The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) may, or may not, have been right in his contention that continuance of the occupation of Japan for a further five, or ten, years would enable more improvements of conditions to be effected in that country. However, Australia cannot at the moment demand that the occupation shall be continued. We can only decide whether we, in fact, will occupy Japan; and we must conclude that we are not prepared to undertake such a task.
I said at the outset that, for the simple reason that we alone could not enforce such a demand it is not possible for Australia to insist that Japan shall not be rearmed. The honorable member for I Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) and the honorable member for Blaxland voiced a policy of complete despair in relation to the rearmament of Japan. The honorable member for Fremantle said, in effect, that whatever we did about Japan it would ally itself with Russia in the event of any future conflict, because its interests lie in that quarter. At least the lesser risk is to enable Japan to some degree to defend itself and thus to resist becoming a satellite of Russia. The honorable member has held his view for some time. He expressed it in an address entitled “ Socialism in Foreign Affairs “ which he gave recently in Perth wherein he suggested that there was no certainty that Japan would not come to terms with Russia so as to be free to engage in ventures southwards. What is the alternative to leaving Japan unarmed ? Japan would become a prey to Russian aggression. It would become another satellite of Russia just as many European countries have become. To-day, Russia has not allies but only satellites. It has gained control in other countries through the infiltration of Communist agents and because those countries were weakened by internal stresses and strains. They presented an opportunity to Russia to impose its ideas upon them from without and to exploit them in its own interests. A Japan that was reasonably strong would be able to choose for itself whether it would become a satellite of Russia or line up with those countries that are resisting Russian aggression. But if Japan is to remain unarmed, it will certainly fall under Russian domination. Therefore, having regard to existing circumstances, the observations of the honorable member for Fremantle, while interesting to listen to, were entirely unrealistic.
Reverting to the argument that Australia should insist upon imposing partial limitations upon the rearmament of Japan particularly in respect of naval and air forces, history abounds with examples of failures to enforce such limitations as have been embodied in treaties. I need only remind honorable members that rearmament limitations were imposed upon Germany after World War I. The Germans got around them and no country dared to attempt to prevent German rearmament. We know that story. The Germans built pocket battleships and used gliders to train the nucleus of an air force whilst military organizations crept in under various guises. Those facts show that if Australia had succeeded in having partial limitations imposed upon Japanese rearmament they would he most difficult to enforce. That - task would require a permanent police force and constant supervision which would give rise to friction, mistrust and suspicion.
Some honorable members have suggested that limitations should be imposed upon the importation of certain materials into Japan. Considerable difficulty would arise in that respect because Japan requires to import great quantities of iron, coal and oil to manufacture goods that it must sell to the rest of the world because it cannot otherwise obtain sufficient food to meet its own requirements. It certainly does not produce sufficient. I cannot offer any solution of that problem. A solution must be found also to the problem of Japan’s increasing population. We can only hope that as the standard of living of the Japanese rises their birth-rate will naturally decline as has been the experience in Western countries. The ideas embodied in the treaty are fundamentally sound. We cannot boycott Japanese goods. Neither should we do so. Under our tariff laws, we shall be able to meet any serious threat to. our industries from Japanese trade but that problem should not intrude into our consideration of this treaty.
Another factor in the situation is that we are exacting reparations from Japan. They are token reparations, because only its assets abroad are to be confiscated and sold. The proceeds will be distributed among ex-prisoners of war who have suffered in the hands of the Japanese. Former Japanese outposts and mandated territories are also to be forfeited. I regard those provisions of the peace treaty not as a punishment of Japan, but as a reminder to it that its past expansionist and imperialist aims have failed. All those details conform to the general ideals of a peace settlement which every thoughtful Australian will have worked out as desirable and ethical in general principle, and which apply now to the immediate situation.
Having reached that conclusion, I ask myself a question about the sort of conduct that we can expect from Japan in future, and how this kind of peace treaty will safeguard Australia. I agree completely with the honorable member for Fremantle when he says that Japan will act in its own interests just as we are acting in our interests in concluding a treaty of this kind at the present time. It is a well-known f 3. C u O f diplomacy that nations at all times endeavour to act in their own interests, and it is our policy to ensure that Japan’s interests lie in keeping peace with the Western democracies. The means which are available to us are, first, our own united strength by reason of the Pacific pact, which, in itself, is a great act of generosity on the part of the United States of America, and, secondly, Australia’s own rearmament. In that matter, I differ from the conclusion of the honorable member for Blaxland about Manus Island. I believe that our failure to have Manus Island fortified as a strong base, conjointly with the United States of America, was due to the distortion by a former Minister for External Affairs, Dr. Evatt, of Australia’s importance in the general scheme of Pacific defence.
– The honorable member is speaking without a knowledge of the facts.
– The right honorable gentleman said, and I am not placing my own interpretation on his remarks, that he had acted in a way calculated to uphold the national status and prestige of this country. The American view of the situation was that Australia had based its stand on Manus Island on wrong premises, had over-valued its hand beyond belief, and had tried to force extraneous issues into the situation. I do not desire to make any further comment on that matter. I leave it to the world at large and to history to judge whether the right honorable gentleman took a distorted view of Australia’s importance on that occasion. He has an able disciple at present in the honorable member for Fremantle, who, in a fit of childish petulance, has said that Australia should not ratify the peace treaty with Japan, because he does not think that the United States has behaved quite rightly in the matter. He claims that America has laid down the terms, and has not treated Australia with all the courtesy that the situation demands. I have not heard anything so childish and absurd as the statement that a responsible nation such as Australia should adopt that attitude, particularly in view of the generosity of America in offering us the Pacific pact.
Can we trust the judgment of the Leader of the Opposition when he says that Australia, by its insistence, col] k have obtained better terms in the peace treaty with Japan ? I, personally, doubt the wisdom of that judgment, and consider that the Manus Island incident would have been repeated. The right honorable gentleman would have overvalued his hand, and antagonized our most valuable ally to-day, the United States of America. “We can conclude that our best hope for the preservation of peace lies in the ratification of this treaty. The alternatives are too terrible to contemplate. If the treaty is not ratified, we remain technically in a state of war with Japan, just as Russia to-day remains technically in a state of war with Japan. We shall also be complying with the wishes of Russia, because the Soviet is exercising all the pressure that it can bring to bear upon the various democracies in an effort to prevent the ratification of the treaty. That fact, in itself, is enough to make opposition to the treaty a matter of suspicion. Our attitude would also weaken, if it did not destroy, the Pacific pact. If we do not ratify the treaty, we must try to make our own arrangements with Japan. If the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) is to be believed we should try to continue the occupation and to insist upon the limitation of Japanese rearmament. We would lose the benefit of any goodwill that might have been generated in Japan towards the Allied Powers, and we would
Buffer, by comparison, with America. In view of our comparative vulnerability, 1 do not think that we can afford not to ratify the treaty.
Finally, I suggest that it is too easy to whip up hatred, and harry our emotions with repetitions of the barbarities of the Japanese during the last war. We shall never forget them. But I hope that the Australians will not fall for a demogogue’s trick of putting up something to hate, fear and suspect, and of lashing people with rhetoric so that they will howl for revenge on the subject of the hatred. Some Opposition members have indulged in those tactics, which are their familiar stock-in-trade, and are in the same pattern as the bitter class hatred in the preaching of which many of them have achieved limited success. Such remarks are not in accordance with the Christian ideal. I believe that our only hope to-day lies in a treaty which is based, not on fear, mistrust and suspicion, but on faith,, courage and strength. I consider that, in all the aspects that I have discussed, the present treaty approaches as nearly ‘as practic able the views of fair-minded and sober thinking Australians. Therefore, 1 support it.
.- 1 venture the opinion that this Parliament has not heard a stranger debate than that which is taking place at the moment. Not one Government supporter has been completely enthusiastic about the acceptance of the peace treaty with Japan. Each of them has expressed his doubts and fears about it. The Government, no doubt aiming to secure a tactical advantage, has put up those of its supporters who are ex-servicemen to speak to the bill in an attempt to win support for the ratification of the treaty. Although this bill is so important, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has hardly been in the chamber during this debate, and I understand that he is not to take any part in it. There is no doubt that the acceptance of this treaty constitutes a great gamble for Australia, but not for the United States of America or Great Britain, and, necessarily, their views are different from those of the Australian nation, because their security will not be endangered if the treaty proves a failure. Australia, with its vast territory and its population of just over 8,000,000 people, is vitally concerned with the question of whether the treaty will be effective or not.1
Honorable members have witnessed the sacrifice of responsible government in this country. Government supporters have said that they have fears concerning this treaty. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) entertained fears on whether the treaty would produce the results for which the Government had hoped. But honorable gentlemen who entertain these fears have admitted quite frankly that they had noalternative but to recommend the passing of this measure. Their attitude is - America has decided, and Australiamust ratify. In fairness to the United States of America, let me say that because of the weak representations that were made by the Australian Government, no doubt the Government of the United States of America believed that the treaty in its present form would be acceptable to the Australian people. 1 understand that every ex-serviceman who has spoken on this measure from the opposite side of the House held commissioned rank in the forces. At least, that they were not men of the line. They were not private soldiers. The viewpoint of the private soldier has been left for expression by ex-service members of the Opposition.
The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) adopted a very realistic approach to the treaty. I do not say that it is not possible for other honorable members opposite to take a realistic view of this matter, but a great number of them have played politics instead of supporting the interests of Australia. The honorable member for Angas said that the United States of America had ignored the voice of the smaller nations and had forced this treaty on its allies. He said that the people of Australia would live to see the day when they would regard the signing of this treaty as an act of folly on the part of the Government. This is an American treaty which has been presented to the rest of the Allied nations as a fait accompli. When the nations assembled for the San Francisco conference it was understood that those who had played an active part in bringing about the defeat of Japan would be consulted on the provisions of the peace treaty. But those nations were not given any opportunity to amend or reject the treaty. Government supporters have stated that a permanent system of peace cannot be based on hatred and enmity. If this viewpoint is accepted and their present policy is to be pursued there will be no hope of peace in the world. How can world peace be preserved by making a sectional treaty with Japan? Do honorable members imagine that this treaty, from which the Soviet, China and India have been excluded, can be regarded as a lasting achievement ? Any one who imagined such a thing would have failed to face the facts. The Government has not proposed to make peace with the democratic forces of Japan because those forces are opposed to the rearmament of their country. The Japanese trade union movement and the Social Democratic party, which are antiCommunist bodies, and a considerable number of the people of Japan, are opposed to the rearmament of their country, because they recognize that the only way to save Japan from communism is to improve the living standards of the people. It will not be possible to improve the living standards of the Japanese people if they are to be saddled with the cost of rearmament.
With whom do honorable members opposite propose that the Government should make the peace? When the occupation of Japan commenced, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers issued certain directives for the purpose of establishing democratic control of Japan. That policy has now been changed. There was to have been a purging of all war criminals. Hirohito was to have been tried as a war criminal. About 200,000 of the people, who supported the Japanese Fascist war policy were displaced from the public service. Some of them were imprisoned for long terms but they have now been released. They have been reinstated in positions of authority. The Government has asked the Parliament to accept a peace treaty, not between Australia and the democratic forces of Japan, but between Australia and the Japanese Fascist elements which have again assumed control of that nation. If fascism is to be established and strengthened in ex-enemy countries the sacrifices that were made by Australians and by the allied powers during the last war will have been absolutely wasted. Honorable members opposite have spoken of the barbarous Japanese whom they hate and despise. Yet these are the people with whom they propose to make peace.
It was the common people of Australia who made the great sacrifice in defeating the Fascist powers and, as a result of a gallup poll, it was found that 63 per cent, of the Australian people were opposed to the ratification of the Japanese Peace Treaty while only 23 per cent, were in favour of it. The Government claims to be democratic. Why has it not accepted the decision of the people in regard to this treaty? The United Kingdom Government has been dragged into an unwilling acceptance of it. When the bill for the ratification of the treaty was before the House of Commons, 382 members voted in favour of it and 33 against it. About 200 members refrained from voting because they were dissatisfied with the treaty and considered that it had been forced upon the Government. In the Japanese House of Counsellors, 45 representatives voted against a measure which proposed acceptance of the treaty. The Opposition is not anti-American in its attitude on this matter. Many elements in the United States of America do not agree with the policy of their Government with regard to Japan. Many sections of the great American trade union movement are not in favour of the treaty. I wonder whether the Minister for External Affairs would claim that the London Times is controlled by Communists? On the 29th August, 1951, that newspaper printed an editorial, in which the following paragraph appeared : -
Power and Policy
Over two-thirds of the globe, along the great arc stretching from Europe to Japan, no treaty can be signed, no alliance can be forged, no decision can be made, without the approval and support of the United States’ Government.
That means that Great Britain, and Australia, if we are to judge by the attitude of this Government, have lost their right as responsible nations to make decisions on such matters for themselves. Everything must be left entirely in the hands of the United States Government. I disagree with that point of view.
The Opposition is in favour of the conclusion of an appropriate peace treaty with the J Japanese people. We know that they have great problems. Before World War II. they were obliged to import approximately 25 per cent, of their foodstuffs and a large proportion of the raw materials that their industries needed. Wl) at will be the position when the treaty that we are now considering is ratified? Does anybody believe that Japan will remain interminably at war with Russia and with China? As soon as this treaty is ratified, Soviet Russia will he in a position to offer to Japan a more generous peace settlement than has been granted to it by the
Western powers. Government supporters have talked about Japan’s difficulties and its need of sources of raw materials and of avenues for the distribution of its increasing population. What is provided in the treaty? Japan is to be shorn of all its territories and confined to four principal islands. What will Soviet Russia do? The Japanese cannot hope to persuade the Western powers to agree to a policy of expansion, but Russia and China, which have vast territories and resources, can easily offer a much more generous peace settlement than the Western powers have decided upon. Therefore, there is no doubt that a friendly relationship will arise between the Communist-dominated Asiatic nations and Japan. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) pointed out in an excellent speech to-night that, if the Japanese pursue their own interests, they must obviously enter into some agreement with the great Communist powers on the Asiatic mainland.
The Americans express the belief that the Japanese have changed. I know that there are democratic elements in Japan. They were there before World War II., and many of them suffered in Japanese prisons because they fought for freedom of speech, freedom of association and other democratic freedoms. They fought to improve Japanese living standards, but now’ they are to be sacrificed. We have heard a great deal of talk, particularly from the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Freeth), about the changes that have been effected in Japan. For instance, Government supporters declare that Japan now has a parliament established on democratic lines. Does anybody imagine for a moment that, as soon as the peace treaty is ratified and Japan is again recognized as a sovereign power with the militarists in control, democracy will not be discarded? The Japanese consider that their constitution and all the directives issued by SOAP were forced upon them. On the first anniversary of the occupation of Japan, General Douglas MacArthur said -
A spiritual revolution ensued almost overnight. Idolatry for their feudalistic masters and the warrior caste was transferred into hatred, and contempt once felt for their foe gave way to honour and respect.
General MacArthur was a great soldier, but, if be believes the statement he has made about the Japanese people, he ought to stick to soldiering.
The newspapers of Australia have played an important part in conditioning the people for the acceptance of the Japanese peace treaty. Ever since the Government decided not to press Australia’s point of view but to follow the line of United States policy, the newspapers have engaged in a campaign designed to make the treaty acceptable, to the people. Previously they had been decrying the barbarities of the Japanese, but they began then to tell us how well the Japanese people were getting on with the Australian occupation troops and to warn us that many of us were due for a great shock when our men returned from Japan. Surely we have not forgotten the revelations of the Webb report, a factual statement of happenings to servicemen of all nations when they were fighting to defeat this very powerful enemy! The greatest leg-pull in history is being perpetrated to-day. The Japanese have not changed. The old elements are again in control. Does any reasonable member of this community believe that the Japanese have forgotten that atomic bombs were dropped on their cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? According to reports, there is a difference of opinion in the world to-day on whether the Japanese were not suing for peace even before the bombs were dropped. It is believed in many quarters that certain individuals were determined to experiment on Japanese cities by dropping those terrible weapons on them.
The Japanese have retained the emperor system. Hirohito is still in control. The treaty is to be made with him. I venture the opinion that, if Hitler had not made the fatal mistake of committing suicide, this Government would be preparing to ratify a peace treaty with him as it intends to do with Hirohito. We all know that the Japanese constitution forced upon the emperor a disclaimer of divine origin. But the Japanese disregard such gestures because they were forced upon them. When Premier Yoshida was supporting acceptance of the constitution in the Japanese Diet, he begged the Diet to remember that - the Japanese Government, because of its present position, is subject to restrictions on its policies.
He made it clear to the Diet that it had no alternative but to accept the constitution. But, as soon as the foreigners have departed, the Japanese will again revert to the system of emperor-worship. It is interesting to note that, on the day the Japanese constitution was accepted by the Diet - Meiji Day - Emperor Hirohito went to one of the schrines in the palace grounds and reported to his ancestors. He was greeted by cheering thousands of Japanese, while priests beat drums in order to keep evil spirits away. After he had returned to his palace, the thousands of Japanese, who were supposed to have accepted democratic government, paraded for hours across the dais because they wanted to walk where the great Emperor Hirohito had trod. Those are the people who, the Government wants us to believe, are now supporters of democracy!
Let us study the imperial rescript that ended the war, which was issued by Hirohito himself. The few extracts that I shall quote show that the Japanese did not admit defeat and, judging by the treaty that we are now asked to ratify, they can rightly claim that they did not lose the war. They consider that they were the victors. Emperor Hirohito regarded the result of the war merely as a temporary setback to the ambitions of the Japanese. The rescript declared -
After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our Empire to-day, we have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation.
That sentence contains no admission of defeat. The rescript continued -
The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage . . . Let the entire nation continue as one family, from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith of the imperishableness of its sacred land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibilities and the long road before it . . . Unite your total strength to be devoted to the construction for the future.
Does that read as though the Japanese had accepted defeat or as though they regarded the result of the war as anything more than a setback to their plans? Australia’s views in relation to the peace treaty have not been considered or even forcefully put forward by representatives of this Government. The Japanese are already becoming arrogant. We read in the daily newspapers of men returning from Japan who report that already foreigners have been made to feel the unpleasantness of their situation in that country.
Can Japan be trusted to respect the terms of the treaty that will be imposed upon it? We know that Japan was previously a member of the League of Nations, and while a member-nation invaded Manchuria. When the League of Nations expressed disapproval of its action, Japan withdrew from the league, but retained and fortified its mandated territories. That brings me to a consideration of whether the Government really pressed Australia’s claims. If the Australian Government did, in fact, press our claim forcibly, one would imagine, if we had the best representatives we could have got, that we would have obtained better results. But what is the position? Although the Prime Minister had stated that he was opposed to Japan having the right to construct long-range naval vessels, Japan is to have that right. Japan will also have the right, under the treaty, to use the atomic bomb. I have no doubt that the Australian people will be horrified to think that that barbarous nation, which is controlled by the militarists, is to be put in possession of that devastating instrument of warfare. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan has stated that he and other representatives of this country have tried to obtain certain Japanese whaling vessels as part of Japan’s reparations to this country, but have failed to do so. The story is the same in regard to rearmament. The only victory that the Government can claim in this regard is that it has been successful in obtaining some compensation for our prisoners of war. What has the Government obtained for them up to now? It has obtained for them a hand-out of only a few pounds each, which has been announced at this time in order to in- fluence their attitude to the treaty. They should not have had to wait until now for the Government to make an announcement on the matter. They had earned the right to a recognition of their claim, because it is a just one. The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) has stated that Australia’s views should have been pressed more resolutely. I agree with him. It is quite obvious that our views were not pressed adequately.
I shall now say a few words about the breach of international agreements. Of what use to us are international agreements if one of the signatories can withdraw? There was a time during the last war when the Western Powers had their backs to the wall and were quite happy and prepared to accept the assistance of Soviet Russia to bring about the defeat of our enemies. In those days the leaders of the nations were meeting regularly, which was quite a proper course for them to follow. At Cairo, Yalta, Potsdam and Moscow there was agreement amongst the Allied Powers. There was agreement on the terms of surrender of Japan. The Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes) has advanced quite an amazing reason why the Allies, the Western Powers, have been justified in disregarding the conditions of these “international agreements. He has stated that the Soviet Union was the first power to break them. As an illustration, he mentioned the ill-treatment by the Soviet of the Japanese prisoners of war. He must have been very short of argument if that was the only illustration that he could produce to show that there had been a breach of an international agreement.
Let us now come to the matter of the Pacific pact. If the international agreements to which I have referred are to be broken at the will of any nation, of what use will be the Pacific pact to us? If certain interests in America to-day regard declarations as binding only when it suits them to do so, what reliance can this country place on the Pacific pact? That agreement is supposed to be a pact to protect us in the event of a resurgence by Japan. Let us consider the attitude of the Japanese. In 1947, a
Japanese Foreign Office document fell into the hands of the press. It read -
Japan should resist the setting up of any Allied supervisory commission to ensure tha fulfilment of the treaty . . . S.C.A.P. directives should, when the treaty comes into force, become null and void.
Those instructions had been issued to the Japanese delegates to the peace conference at San Francisco. This proves that the Japanese have no intention of carrying out the terms of the treaty.
Now we come to the question of trade insofar as it affects this country and the employment of our people. There is no need for me to point out to honorable members that not only in this country but also in the United Kingdom the threat of the competition of cheaply produced Japanese goods has already become evident. It is well known that the workers of this country enjoy a much higher standard of living than do the workers of Japan. According to an article that was published in the Sydney Sun of the 6th January, cigarette lighters of English manufacture are on sale in Sydney at £4 4s. each, compared with Japanese cigarette lighters at 6s. 6d. each. English fishing-rods are priced at £1S each, compared with Japanese fishingrods at £1 5s. each. The article also pointed out that in the first quarter of 1950-51 Australia imported textiles from Japan to the value of £2,000,000. In the first quarter of 1951-52, however, the value of imports of textiles from that country was £12,000,000. It is possible for Japan to produce textiles much more cheaply than they can be produced in Australia, because the Japanese employ female labour at only £2 7s. a month in many instances. Furthermore, it may surprise many honorable members to learn that the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce, which is comprised of persons of similar calibre to honorable members who now occupy the Government benches in this House, is advocating and demanding the introduction of a ten-hour day for workers in Japan, and the use of female labour in the mines. The following heading appeared on an article in the Perth Daily News of the 20th February: -
A Japanese import closes W.A. Factory.
Will Government act to protect Australian Industry? nal
That, i=i not an isolated instance of the fears that have been expressed in the press in this connexion. I can assure honorable members that certain monopolist elements in America to-day have invested a great amount of capital in Japanese industry. It is not only the industries of Australia and the employment of our people that is in danger. The employment of the workers in the United States of America is in jeopardy as well. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) is supposed to be responsible for protecting Australian working conditions. The following statement, which was attributed to the Minister, appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald in July, 1939 :-
It is idle utterly to condemn employers for using cheap child labour when we know that they have to compete with overseas products.
The Minister was reported to have made that statement at a conference which dealt with unemployed youths. In that year thousands of workers were unemployed in this country, which was then controlled by an anti-Labour government.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The tumult and the shouting have died. It was a very confused tumult indeed. Although the speech of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) was written out beforehand, it was full of confusion. Not one word of his speech dealt, on responsible lines, with the serious subject of making a treaty of peace. This is a responsible Parliament, and no more serious subject could be before honorable members than the making of a treaty of peace. It should be dealt with on reasoned and sound lines. In his usual manner, the honorable member for East Sydney offered a tirade of abuse to everybody that he could think of. He even abused the members of the British Parliament, and stated that they had been driven into accepting this treaty of peace. He stated, however, that there was a majority of more than 300 in favour of it. Even though many members did refrain from voting, there was still an enormous majority in favour of it. What does that mean? It means simply that, as usual, the honorable member for East Sydney gets a straw here and a straw there, magnifies them, and tries to turn them into a huge elephant, and make that elephant bestride the world. The honorable member offered no alternative to the treaty that we are being asked to ratify. Those of us who listened to him in th hope that he might utter even one constructive thought have once again been disappointed. In not one speech that he has made in opposition in this House has he offered any observation of constructive value.
This peace treaty will mean security for Australia. Honorable members opposite have said that we are following America. During the course of his speech the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) said that the United States of America had taken the lead in the war in the Pacific, and we were not ashamed of following the Americans in that enterprise. He has also said that prior to japan entering the last war it was accepted as a principle by the then government that leadership and initiative, should be retained by the United States of America on behalf of the democratic powers. America took the lead then, and it is taking the lead again. The United States of America has continually taken the lead in the Pacific as is being demonstrated in Korea and Japan to-day. Let us not forget that the only way in which Australia can secure itself is by a system of defensive pacts.
– What rot!
– The honorable member who was so beguiled as to imagine that the appellation “ rot “ was the only term to apply should blush for his interjection - if he is still able to blush. Let him consider what would happen if Japan were left defenceless. In that unfortunate event the hordes of Russia would immediately take charge in Japan. Then they would proceed to arm Japan against us for their own purposes. It is ridiculous to say that a peace agreement was made when the war concluded, and that therefore we must now adhere to its terms. It is well known that when an agreement is made in accordance with a certain state of affairs and that state of affairs changes completely, then the agreement becomes completely discharged. Since those early agreements Russia has become the potential enemy of the democracies of the world, and the whole basis of the early agreements has disappeared. Therefore, it is essential that we should have a different type of treaty in order to provide for our own defence, the security of the free nations and the peace of the world. That is what this treaty will help to do.
Honorable members opposite have not put forward one real alternative to this peace treaty. They have suggested that we should return to the old agreements, but the whole basis of those agreements has disappeared. Circumstances have completely changed and it is of no use for us to close our eyes to the facts of the international situation. The opposition to this treaty has been put forward purely for political purposes. The Opposition has said that it is here to oppose. That is granted, but the opposition should be constructive. If honorable members oppose a matter that is vital to the welfare of this country purely for the sake of obstruction, then they have no right to be proud of their role as an Opposition. They have departed from the standards which are expected of a responsible Opposition party.
As one result of this treaty, we shall have a Pacific pact which will be of enormous benefit in the security of Australia. What has happened in the relationship between Australia and the United States of America to lead us to the belief that the United States of America will depart from the treaty terms? The United States of America and Australia have always been proud to work together. Our soldiers have fought together and there are great feelings of loyalty and friendship between this country and the United States of America. The future of the Pacific lies in the hands of Australia and the United States of America, because we are- the main bulwarks against aggression in that area. I remind ‘honorable members of the provisions of the Atlantic Charter. The Leader of the Opposition has pointed out time, and time again that the principles of the Atlantic Charter are principles which have world-wide significance. One of those principles is -
Aggressor nations must be disarmed pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security.
Weare getting that wider system of general security. We have agreements by Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America. There are agreements between the United States of America and the Philippines and between Japan and the United States of America. Consequently, if we are to carry out the principles of the Atlantic Charter, we can no longer hold that Japan must remain disarmed. Therefore, when we consider this treaty on the basis of its value as a protection for us by providing for the defence of Japan, we must come to the conclusion that, in the existing circumstances, it represents the only useful instrument that could be devised. The Atlantic Charter provides that the object of peace is to afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own borders. How could the Japanese people dwell in safety within the borders of Japan if Russia were able to jump in immediately after the occupation forces had departed, and Japan had been so weakened as to be powerless to resist it? If we permitted that to happen, would we be carrying out the principles of the Atlantic Charter? Whether we consider this treaty from the standpoint of our own defence or from the standpoint of the Atlantic Charter, we have no justification in the present circumstances for opposing the armament of Japan, as provided in this document.
One of the grievances that was expressed by the honorable member for East Sydney was that we have shorn Japan of certain territories. It is true that we have done so, but that fact makes the Japanese menace less serious. During the last war, the Japanesecame close to Australia without leaving their own territory. In the future, should they chance to be against us - I believe that they will not he opposed to us again - they will have much greater difficulty in approaching close to our shores. Far from being a cause of complaint, the fact that we have shorn Japan of its territories should be a matter for congratulation. I fail to understand why the honorable member should complain of it. No doubt the Russians will complain of it, but why should an Australian complain of it? The honorable member also said that the press has realized the need for this treaty. To me, that is a healthy sign, but to the honorable member for East Sydney, it is apparently a source of grievance. I am inclined to think that the honorable member grieves merely for the sake of grieving, whether his grievances he real or otherwise. The press of Australia supports the signing of the treaty, because it has been driven to do so by the force of , cold facts. It shares our view that the treaty is the best possible instrument that could bo devised. We have to deal with the realities of the situation, and unless we do so, we cannot formulate a proper peace treaty. Almost every nation which has made a treaty of peace in the past has been confronted with the fact that the results that would flow from it were problematical. We must deal with the facts as they are apparent at the time the treaty is made. The only possible treaty that could be devised in the circumstances that exist in the world to-day is the instrument which has been submitted to us for ratification by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey).
Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Holt) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I direct the attention of the Government to a very serious matter that affects serving members of our permanent forces. It arises from an order issued by the Minister for the Army (Mr. Francis). I understand that similar orders have also been issued by the Minister for the Navy and Minister for Air (Mr. McMahon). These orders relate to the rental of governmentowned houses by married members of the permanent defence forces. Under the order issued by the Minister for the Army, the rentals of governmentowned houses which, for a considerable time, have been fixed at the equivalent of 10 per cent. of the occupying servicemen’s pay, have been increased to 15 per cent. This increase is causing considerable hardship to married personnel. In a news item published in the Melbourne Herald on the 8th February last, the following statements appeared : -
Officers and men of the three services previously paid 10 per cent, of their salary as rental, regardless of the nature or condition of the house, plus 10 per cent, of the capital value of rented furniture.
Now they must pay 15 per cent, of salary phis 15 per cent, of marriage allowance, uniform allowance and provision allowance, plus 10 per cent, of the value of furniture and equipment.
The increase averages between 00 and 70 per cent., but one officer has to pay an extra 75 per cent.
An officer whose salary is £1,500 a year now pays fo 10s. a week rental.
Another is paying £0 3s. a. week for a house which cost the Government £1,200 to build in 1!)3S.
Kent for chief petty officers and warrant officers has gone up from £2 19s. Od. a fortnight to £5 3s. 10d., for leading seamen and corporals from £2 10s. 2d. to £4 8s. 8d., and for able seamen and privates from £2 5s. 6d. to £4 2s. lOd.
Civilians working for services and living in service houses are not affected.
From a careful analysis of these figures, and knowledge of the houses to which they apply, it will be appreciated that servicemen will eventually pay, by way of rent, the full value of their rented dwellings and all interest on the capital in from fifteen to 30 years. In most instances, the Government will recoup the whole of its outlay in fifteen years. On his retirement the sailor, soldier or airman, having already paid for a government house, will be obliged to find a house in which to live. The houses occupied by servicemen are, for the most part, situated in remote places, usually adjacent to large military camps such as Puckapunyal. They are not usually located in towns and suburbs where there are schools, shopping facilities and all the amenities found in cities. I realize that the exigencies of the services demand that servicemen and their wives shall live, in many instances, in undeveloped areas. I do not suggest that the experience of home life is not a great and new enjoyment for many servicemen, but there is every reason why the conditions surrounding the home settlements provided for them should be carefully examined with a view to ensuring a proper assessment of the value of the quarters provided. It will be realized that servicemen are being called upon to pay unduly high rentals for houses of a poor standard. They are, in effect, being required not only to staff their barracks but also to provide out of their pay the capital cost of them.
It is clear that the proper approach to this matter is to fix a nominal rent for each building, having regard to its type, position and purpose. These buildings have been provided out of interestfree money allocated for defence purposes. It was never intended that money so expended should be revenue producing. It was intended to provide necessary defence establishments for servicemen and not to make money out of them. Many of those who occupy these houses are men who have had considerable battle experience. They are deserving of every consideration. Many of them, have been away from home for years, and are only now able to enjoy home life. I ask the Government to discuss this matter with the service chiefs with the object of doing justice to members of the Permanent Forces.
– For two or three years the children of Canberra have been able to buy ice cream from street vendors who traverse the suburbs on Saturdays and Sundays. They have sold ice cream in the form of wafers and the arrangement has worked very well, but the Health Department has decided that the children shall no longer be able to buy ice-cream wafers; they are to be permitted to buy only ice cream sold in buckets and sealed at the factory. A bucket costs 7d. end the ice-cream wafers cost 6d. The Health Department claims that the supply of ice cream in bulk and handled by vendors in the streets is unhygienic. That is the most stupid argument that I have heard. I have accompanied some of the vendors and have seen how they handle the ice cream. It is sent in bulk from the factory, which is not one of the big monopolies but a small concern. It is taken into a room where refrigeration is provided and there the vendors cut the ice cream into the proper sizes, place it between the biscuits and put it in a refrigerator. On Sundays, it is driven in the ice-cream cart packed in dry ice. I should say that the way in which it is handled is more hygienic than are the methods of handling it in the shops. Thu Health Department has suggested an ordinance to ban the sale of ice cream in that way. That proposal was submitted to the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council, and, although two members of the council opposed the proposal, it was adopted by a majority of the official representatives after the most weighty consideration. I submit that the 1 Lea 1th Department could very well give its attention to more important matters, including the handling of ice cream in the shops and the conditions at the rear of those establishments. They should not waste their time on such a fiddling business. The children prefer the wafers because they get more ice cream between the biscuits and they are cheaper. I ask the Minister in charge of the House to submit to the Minister for Health (Sir Earle Page) that this is a ridiculous move and that the time of his officers could be occupied better in other ways.
. -Certain happenings in relation to transport on the south coast of New South Wales are a shocking commentary on the Condition into which public affairs have been forced. I refer to the withdrawal of the ship Cobargo from the south coast run and to the cessation of operations of the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company, which had been operating for 99 years. The railway from Sydney to Nowra is 100 miles long and there are 200 miles of road as well between the south coast district and Sydney. Up to ten or fifteen years ago, the ships on that run gave a very good service. At one time there were two services a week. The ships were unloaded by their crews. They carried hay and mill offals, fencing materials and farming machinery and carried back butter, cheese and timber. Members of the Waterside Workers Federation insisted upon unloading the ships and contended that it was not work that the crew should perform. They stated that they would meet the ship at the various ports, which are from 40 to 50 miles apart. If they were late, the ship had to. move out into the stream and wait until morning at heavy financial cost. The number of trips that these vessels were able to make declined until the service became practically useless. A jibe was made to-day about the high cost of food. The community, including the families of unionists, is compelled by the attitude of the waterside workers and the Seamen’s Union to pay higher prices than would otherwise be the case. In this case the excessive costs of land transport are superimposed on the other costs of a wide variety of goods which are needed for efficient farming where the food is produced. If the farmers in that locality need fencing material or other goods, these have to be carried 200 miles by road and 100 miles by rail. Many materials will be costly and others will not be available to farmers. The south coast will be cut off from heavy haulage. It is shocking that unions have been able to effectuate this position. About £9,000,000 worth of wharfs and capital equipment is involved and the interest alone on that outlay would be about £450,000. The position has been allowed to deteriorate over a period of fifteen years. The roads are not in good condition and probably will not be for many years. Sixty 10-ton trucks would be required to carry by road the 60,000 tons of cargo now transported by sea each year. The roads would simply not stand up to such a strain upon them. We are told that trade unions are worried about rising food prices; let them take action against their leaders, as the ironworkers have; done.
.- I rise to seek from the Minister for the Army (Mr. Francis) some information about certain newspaper reports, the truth of which he denied after they had been published, concerning an incident that :is alleged to have occurred during his recent visit to Japan. According to those reports, which are supported by the Australian Associated Press-Reuter office in Tokio, the Minister attended a reception arranged by MajorGeneral Bridgeford, the CommanderinChief of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, on the 21st December, 1951, and a scene occurred arising out of the taking of certain photographs, one of which showed the Minister clinking champagne glasses with the Soviet representative, General Kislenko. The Minister ordered the confiscation and destruction of the photograph and said “that picture would be political dynamite in Australia “. I should have thought that the Minister would take the earliest possible opportunity to explain the incident. If the photographs were taken by an Army’ photographer as the Minister has claimed, and, if none has been destroyed, the whole collection should be intact. The Minister said that 30 or 40 photographs were taken and that those considered suitable for release were released. I should like to know who decides whether or not photographs are suitable for release. If a photograph such as that to which reference has been made had been taken, would the Minister have, regarded it as suitable for release? Finally, will the Minister arrange for the photographs that were taken at that reception to be laid on the table of the Library so that honorable members may examine them ?
.- I shall refer first to the observations of the .honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Joshua), who raised the question of the rents that are being charged for service homes. My remarks on this subject will apply also to homes occupied by Air Force and naval personnel, as well as by the Army. We are now in the happy position of being able to build a substantially increased number of houses for members of the services. Thousands have been built since this Government assumed office. One of the problems that we. have to face is that of replacing sub-standard houses, numbers of which were built during the term of office of the previous Government. Houses occupied, by service personnel are situated in the main in remote areas, away from railways, tramways, bus routes and the other suburban amenities of big cities. For that reason the Government is not charging the tenants a rent equal to 20 per cent, of their .wage as it is doing with public servants. Instead, the figure of 15 per cent, has been fixed. That is my first explanation. My second explanation is that because, some of the houses are substandard, the rent charged for them is what is termed an economic rent. Some such houses are converted military huts. The conversion was carried out either by the servicemen themselves or by the Department of Works and Housing. Some were brought from Manus Island when the Labour Government was in office. They, in particular, are of a poor standard. The occupants of such houses pay substantially less than 15 per cent, of their salary. In brief, the occupants of houses of various types are given the option of paying 15 per cent, of their salary or an economic rent based on 1950 values, whichever is the less. If any occupant believes that 15 per cent, of hispay is an excessive rent he has the right to appeal against it.
– To whom?
– To a committee consisting of representatives of the ServiceDepartment concerned, the Department of the Interior, and the Treasury. Such committees have been established in each military command. An occupant has only to say. “ I appeal against the rent of my house because I consider it to be in excess of the economic rent “. His appeal is then heard. The Department of the Interior is assessing the economic rent of every house occupied by members of the Services. When an appeal is made to a committee, the figures are examined, and if the economic rent of the dwelling concerned is less than 15 per cent, of the occupant’s pay, he is given the opportunity to pay the lesser amount. I am sure that I speak for the other Service Ministers when I say that any sailor, soldier or airman who is dissatisfied with the rent that he is paying is invited toappeal.
– They all will appeal.
– They are entitled todo so. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has referred to an incident that is alleged to have occurred’ in Japan during my recent visit to Korea. I state emphatically that the incident never occurred, and that a similar allegation could be made with equal justification against any member of this House. It has been alleged that, at a reception tendered to me at the home of the Australian Ambassador, Lieutenant-Colonel Hodgson, at which the Russian Minister was present, I objected to a certain photograph having been taken and took a film by force from a photographer.
– Did t,lie honorable gentleman clink his glass?
– That also is alleged. My answer is that the Russian Minister was not at the reception tendered to me by Lieutenant-Colonel Hodgson. When I read the allegations in the press, I took the precaution to obtain from LieutenantGeneral Bridgeford, the CommanderinChief British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan, and the British Commonwealth Forces in Korea, a statement emphatically denying the report. I also have a statement from Lieutenant-Colonel Hodgson which gives a complete and unqualified denial of thereport. I have similar statements from Lieutenant-Colonel Tilley, the public relations officer in charge qf all press photographers. Sergeant Lee, the only Army photographer who was present at Lieutenant-General Bridgeford’s function, and Brigadier Nye, the Deputy-Director of Medical Services of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force and the British Commonwealth Forces in Korea. I shall read one or two of the statements for the information of the House. But before I do so, I wish to say that I have no objection to any photographs being taken on any occasion at diplomatic gatherings of that nature, because it has always been the custom to take photographs at such gatherings. I wish to add also that a reception was tendered to me by the Commander-in-Chief, British Commonwealth Occupation Force and British Commonwealth Forces in Korea, Lieutenant-General Bridgeford, at which 23 foreign representatives were present. The whole function was conducted with proper decorum. It was a splendid function and I have already expressed appreciation of the goodwill to Australia that was voiced by everybody who attended it. Lieutenant-General Bridgeford’s letter to me reads as follows : -
As requested by you, I submit the following statement concerning the alleged happening sit the party given in your honour by me, at the Commander-in-Chief’s residence on the evening of 2 1st December, 1951.
The guests, just on 100, included service representatives and Heads of the various Diplomatic Missions in Tokyo. Among them was the Head of the Russian Mission, General Kislenko and his Aide, 1st Lieutenant Vorotilin.
During the evening several photo groups were taken. The photos were taken by the official Public Relations Photographer, Sergeant Lee. He was the only photographer present.
One group taken included yourself, General Kislenko Mr. Challis (Head of” the New Zealand Mission), Air Vice-Marshal Bouchier (Representative of the United Kingdom Chiefs of Staff), Major-General Ogden (United State.Army), Colonel Moll (South African Liaison Officer) and Brigadier Nye (Head-quarters British Commonwealth Forces in Korea and British Commonwealth Occupation Force).
I was standing close by and actually observed the photo being taken. As soon as itwas taken the group broke up and I saw yon move away and intermingle with the other guests.
The press statement that when the photo was taken you displayed great agitation, slapped your glass on the table, rushed at the photographer, seized the camera and with your own hands then confiscated and destroyed the film is utterly false.
The letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Hodgson, the Australian Ambassador to Japan, reads -
With reference to the article which appeared in the Sydney Sun in December, 1951, attributed to the Australian correspondent, Richard Hughes, I wish to say that the despatch cannot be described as a tissue of lies because it is a complete fabrication and there is not one element of truth in it. In the first place, the Christmas party that I gave was not a reception to you, but a private gathering of our own personal friends to which you and your party were invited. Not one Soviet representative was even invited, let alone present and therefore no such incident as described in the despatch could have occurred.
I was present at the reception given by the Commander-in-Chief, General Bridgeford, to you, on the evening of your arrival. At this reception, General Kislenko aud one of his staff were present, but the relations with all the Australians and the Soviet representative? were cordial and friendly. I was the last guest to leave this reception and can say that at this reception no such incident as alleged did or could occur.
I have spoken to Mr. Challis, head of the New Zealand Mission, who was at both of these functions and he asked me to inform you that in his opinion this despatch is the worst example of lying journalism he has ever experienced.
– The Minister’s time has expired.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Australian Imperial Force Canteens Funds Act - Annual Report by the Trustees for year 1950-51.
Broadcasting Act - Nineteenth AnnualReport and Balance-sheet of the Australian Broadens tiny Commission for year 1950-51.
Commonwealth Railways Act - Annual Report for year 1950-51.
Defence Act - Royal Military College - Annual Report for 1950.
Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act - National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (3).
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Postal purposes - Hemmant, Queensland.
Nauru - Report toGeneral Assembly of the United Nations on Administration of Nauru for year 1950-51.
New Guinea - Report to General Assembly of the United Nations on Administration of New Guinea for year 1950-51.
Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -
Attorney-General - A. W. Cowie.
National Development - A. D. M. Bell.
Postmaster-General - P. R. L. Badham,
Prime Minister - T. S. Hepworth.
Repatriation - M. M. Ferguson.
Seat of Government (Administration) Act -
Statement of Receipts and Expenditure for the Australian Capital Territory for year 1950-51.
House adjourned at 11.23 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– Since I replied on the 28th November, 1951, to a similar question asked by the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) Sir Arthur Fadden has been abroad. The collection of the other details requested by the honorable member would require considerable expenditure of time and labour.
If he wishes to obtain a detailed return of ministerial visits abroad for any period, say the last five years, he should move accordingly.
s asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has supplied the following information : -
Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, Whyalla. - (1) Four 10000-ton bulk carriers to the design of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited; (2) four 10,000-ton bulk carriers to the design of the Australian Shipping Board: (3) two 4,750-ton colliers to the design of the Australian Shipping Board.
Evans Deakin Limited, Brisbane. - Four 10,000-ton bulk carriers to the design of the Australian Shipping Board.
Consideration is at present being given to the placing of further orders including orders for the State dockyard, Newcastle.
a asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
What arrangements have been made or are contemplated regarding supplementary allowances to hospitals in respect of age and invalid pensioners who cannot join a hospital benefits or other similar insurance association ?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
The method by which pensioners and other persons unable to join voluntary hospital benefit organizations may be brought within the scope of the hospital benefits scheme is now receiving consideration. Discussions with the State Government as well as the voluntary organizations are taking place and it is expected that an announcement on the proposed method will be made at an early date.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 26 February 1952, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1952/19520226_reps_20_216/>.