20th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Having regard to contradictory reports that have been circulated, can the Minister for External Affairs inform the House of the position which has apparently been created by the departure from Darwin in recent weeks of a vessel for Indonesian territory ?
– It appears that a small vessel called Tiki sailed a few weeks ago northwards from Darwin with a crew of about seven men, including a number of foreigners. In due course, the vessel returned to Darwin. I sent an appropriate senior officer to Darwin to conduct a thorough interrogation of all of the men concerned in the enterprise. I have had a verbal report, but have not yet received a formal report. As soon as possible, I shall report the facts to the House. However, even at this stage I can say that I have convinced myself that no Australian authority, least of all the Australian Government, had any hand in the expedition or was responsible in any way for it. As soon as the facts are clarified precisely, I propose to inform both the Indonesian and Dutch Governments of them through their diplomatic representatives at Canberra.
– Did the Minister for Social Services, in the course of his second-reading speech on the War Service Homes Bill, say -
For the purchase of existing properties the maximum loan will remain at the present figure of £2,000.
Is it a fact that at present the War Service Homes Division is refusing to make available loans of any amount whatever for the purchase of existing properties ? Has governmental policy in this respect been altered in any way ? If so, what is the nature of the alteration?
-Order! Questions which relate to policy should be placed on the notice-paper.
– As the honorable member is aware, the sum of £27,000,000 was allocated in this financial year for war service homes. All of the provisions that were made in the amending measures were understood to come within that allocation. There has been no alteration of policy whatever. So much of the amount for which provision was made hasalready been allocated that the pro gramme is approximately three and a half months ahead of schedule. Consequently, we are obliged to inform current and future applicants for one particular type of assistance that they must expect a substantial delay before their applications can be granted.
– In view of the statement by the Minister for Social Services that £27,000,000 allocated by the Government for loan money to exservicemen to buy houses that are already built has been expended, is the honorable gentleman willing to endeavour to obtain additional loan money to satisfy ex-service applicants or does he intend that those applicants shall wait until some time in the next financial year, when they may not be in a position to make the purchase of a heme?
– I point out to the honorable member for Wills that this House, of which he is a member, approved of the allocation of £27,000,000 this year. If he can suggest where additional money might come from in the form of taxation, I shall be pleased to consider his proposal.
– I direct to the Minister for Social Services a question on an aspect of a matter that has been mentioned by other honorable members this afternoon. In view of the announcement that the War Service Homes Division cannot finance the purchase of any more previously occupied dwellings this financial year because funds for this purpose have been exhausted, will the Minister make exceptions in the cases of ex-servicemen who, with no prior knowledge of this recent decision, have already paid substantial deposits on old houses and are in danger of losing them because they cannot now borrow the balance of the ‘purchase money?
– I make it clear that the position of any ex-serviceman who has entered into commitments with the War Service Homes Division will not be altered at all. In every instance, the applicant’s requirements will be met. The Government has no intention of slackening in that respect.
– My . question is addressed to the Prime Minister. I have been informed that the Commonwealth Bank is refusing, and, indeed, has refused for some time, to make any advances for the purchase of existing dwellings. That policy may possibly have some influence upon the expenditure of the allocation of £27,000,000 for war service homes before the anticipated time. If the statement as I have repeated it is correct, will the Prime Minister make inquiries with a view to ascertaining whether it will ‘be possible for the Commonwealth Bank to relax its restrictions in view of the fact that he has said that, under the central banking policy, the bank is entitled to lend amounts up to £3,500 for the purchase of a new home?
– In view of the various questions which have arisen on this mutter, including the one which has just been asked by the honorable member for Bowman, I shall have prepared n short statement that will indicate the position of the Commonwealth Bank in relation to housing loans, so that the whole subject may be comprehensively
– I think that the category which the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory has in mind, and which I certainly have in mind, is that which is due to the inevitable delays in the completion of the purchase of an existing dwelling under the regulations governing the purchase of war service homes, lt has been the practice of an eligible person to pay a deposit on a house, borrow money from the bank in order to obtain possession of the dwelling, make an additional deposit, and then repay the loan with money obtained from the War Service Homes Division. No warning was given to that class of person of the introduction of the recent restrictions, and I know that a number of contracts have been entered into in my own electorate which cannot now be fulfilled by the War Service Homes Division. It is not the contractor, but it might reasonably have been under the previous regulations. Can the Minister for Social Services take any action to assist persons in that rather curious category?
– Each case in the category to which the honorable member for Henty has referred is probably different from the others. I shall be pleased to examine any one of them that is causing him concern.
– Is the Minister for Labour and National Service aware that serious industrial unrest exists in the metal trades industry as a result of the recent Galvin award? Can he say whether this unrest is due to discrepancies that exist between the margins provided in that award and those in other awards that were made some time ago? Does he know that, as a result of the Galvin award, some tradesmen, such as welders, have had their margins reduced considerably, and are leaving their trade for work of a more lucrative nature? Will the Minister examine the effect that this award is having on industry? To obviate further industrial trouble, will he ascertain whether there are, as is alleged, anomalies in the marginal rates for the same type of work in various industries? If it is found that such anomalies exist, will the Minister request Conciliation Commissioner Galvin to review his judgment in this case?
– I do not feel that I can comment in any detail on the award which has been made by the conciliation commissioner, Mr. Galvin, and, indeed, J. consider that this House is hardly the proper place to do so. It is a fact that. the conciliation commissioner recently issued the very important award to which the honorable member for Newcastle has referred, and no doubt its terms have been disappointing to many tradesmen in Australia, who had been expecting to receive some addition to their marginal rates. However, as the honorable member is doubtless aware, cost-of-living adjustments have ‘been granted periodically to this group of workers, as well as to other groups that are covered by Commonwealth awards. The request of the honorable gentleman that I ask Mr. Galvin to review the award raises an important matter of policy. I think that the honorable gentleman is aware that the official attitude of the Australian trade union movement on this point at any rate has been one of opposition to any appeal from the award of a conciliation commissioner even to the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration itself. However, I shall examine the question which the honorable gentleman has asked when I see it in print, and if there are any additional points that I can bring to his notice for his information, I shall do so.
– Can the Minister for Immigration inform the House whether it is a fact that some immigrants who have been sponsored by the Commonwealth and given contracts which guarantee them employment for two years now find that their contracts have been broken by the Government, in some instances after only eighteen months’ work, and the persons concerned have been told by Commonwealth employment agencies to find jobs for themselves?
– There seems to be some misunderstanding about the nature of the arrangement which the Commonwealth has made with immigrants in the manner which has been indicated by the honorable member for Griffith. It is an obligation on the immigrants concerned, in consideration of the payment of passage money or a large proportion of it to this country, that they undertake to work where required for a period of two years. I am not aware of the existence of any legal obligation on the Commonwealth to guarantee such persons employment for that period. However, as I have pointed out to the House recently, this Governmnent accepts as a general obligation the task of providing ample opportunities for employment throughout the Commonwealth, so that there shall be, in substance, a condition of full employment in this country. No cases have been brought to my notice so far of new Australians whose contracts have been only partly completed and who have been put out of work and are unable to find employment. If the honorable gentleman has a specific instance in mind, I shall be glad to examine it.
– Has the Minister for Immigration seen a pamphlet entitled Operation British Commonwealth, issued by the Migration Council in London, in which it is proposed that great blocks of population from Britain, together with suitable industries, be shifted to various parts of the British Commonwealth? In view of the housing difficulties that will a rise if this plan is put into operation, will the Government permit the immigrants to live in tents, if they are willing to do so, while they build their own accommodation ? By way of explanation I remind the Minister that about two and a half years ago the immigration committee at Gunnedah had made arrangements with the Cobbers Club at Birmingham to bring to Australia a number of tradesmen who were willing to live in tents and erect their own accommodation. The arrangement was cancelled because th.i New South Wales authorities and the Department of Immigration objected to British immigrants being accommodated in tents. What is the attitude of the department to proposals of that kind now?
– I have seen the publication Operation British Commonwealth, which has been produced by a representative group of citizens in England who have formed themselves into what is known as the Migration Council. I am very favorably impressed with the objectives of this body, which is seeking to encourage migration from the United Kingdom to the European-settled parts of the British Commonwealth. It also favours the inclusion of Europeans in its schemes where such migrants would be suitable. It is seeking to make the movement of migrants from the United Kingdom a policy issue of the highest priority in that country. The Department of Immigration does not favour the use of tent accommodation for immigrants at Gunnedah or elsewhere. Recent experience has shown that some British immigrants are by no means completely satisfied with the accommodation that is provided for them in standard hostels, which are immeasurably superior to tents. The department considers that tents would be unsuitable for the housing of young families from the United Kingdom. The question of providing immigrant labour in rural areas has been exercising the minds of members of the Government and officials of my department. The provision of a hostel at Gunnedah is already contemplated, and that plan will be carried out if future circumstances make it practicable.
– Will the Minister for Immigration inform me whether a screening organization has been set up at The Hague to screen prospective Dutch immigrants? Is the screening political, or in relation to health? Has any person been appointed to take charge of the screening? If such a. person has been appointed, is he an official of the Department of Immigration, or was he selected for the position from outside applicants?
– There is a screening organization at The Hague, and Australian officers are stationed there. So far as I am aware, the screening .methods which are employed at The Hague do not differ substantially from those which have been applied in other areas and other places. However, I shall ascertain whether I can get a detailed statement for the honorable gentleman on that subject.
– My question, which is addressed to the Prime Minister, deals with a passage which occurs in his policy speech of 1949 under the heading “Development of Resources”. It reads as follows : -
Over ii period nf five vi-ars we shall raise loans totalling £250,000.000 the interest and siinkking fund of which will lie provided out nf the Petrol Tax . . . the work will include feeder roads; soil conservation; the development of rural housing embracing the construction of groups of workers’ homes in seasonal labour areas; Hood prevention; the provision of water, light and power; vermin and noxious weed destruction.
If the right honorable gentleman can recollect the inclusion of such a promise in his policy speech will he inform me of any action that he has taken to honour it? Has he raised any portion of that £250,000,000 loan? If he has not done so, may this failure be taken as evidence that nothing will ever be clone to carry out the solemn promise that was made by him on behalf of Liberal party and Australian Country party candidates?
– Apart from, the argumentative parts of the honorable member’s questions, I think that he has quoted accurately from my policy speech of the 1949 general election campaign. He is not unaware of the fact, I hope, that the loan demands of all Australian governments, and in particular the governments of the States, have been greater in the last eighteen months than the market has been able to provide. This circumstance has developed since 1949. For example, during the current financial year the governments of the States, which have been given the substantially exclusive right of recourse to the loan market, have programmes totalling £225,000,000 for public works, which include some works of the description mentioned by the honorable member. The loan market, as is well known, will not provide anything like the amount of £225,000,000 and,” as a result, this Government will be called upon to find a. very large sum in order to enable the State programmes to be carried through in accordance with the schedule. It is very difficult to believe that, in these circumstances, in which the Commonwealth’s taxpayers will be called upon to provide a sum of at least £100,000,000 for State works programmes this year, the honorable member would propose that we should go through the somewhat curious procedure of increasing our demands on the already overstrained loan market.
– I ask the Minister for Supply whether any contracts are still in force between the Australian Government and Japanese textile firms for the supply of khaki cloth and mercerized drill for the use of the Australian armed forces. If so, have those contracts ever been offered to the Australian textile industry? Is it a fact that Australian firms . have been refused contracts in favour of the Japanese, because it has been alleged that the cloth produced by Australian factories has not been equal to the standards set by the Department of Supply? Is there any warrant for the allegation that the Australian industry cannot produce cloth for servicemen’s uniforms equal in quality to that made by the Japanese? How many Australian samples have been rejected by the Department of Supply? In view of the dangerous unemployment trends in the textile industry will the Minister ensure that all service contracts for cloth that can be made in Australia will be given to Australian industry?
– I was under the impression that I had answered this question very fully yesterday. In no case at all has a contract been offered outside Australia which could have been fulfilled inside Australia. I give the honorable member my assurance that that practice will continue to be followed at present.
– Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture give the reasons why the provisions of the woollen textiles labelling regulations have not yet been enforced?
– The matter that the honorable member has raised comes within the jurisdiction of the Minister for Trade and Customs. I am not completely up to date with the facts, but, broadly speaking, it has not been possible to reach final agreement on practical terms. The woolgrowing interests, for instance, have been insistent that there should be displayed on woollen textiles the quantities of virgin, re-used and re-processed wool contained in them. The analysts who would be required to advise the Government with respect to penalties, if that provision were adopted, say that they would not be able to identify those different types of wool. That is one reason why this matter has not yet been finalized.
– In view of the fact that bush fires do not stop at State boundaries, and that fire losses are nation-wide in their effect, does the Minister for Defence believe that there is any good reason that prevents the Commonwealth from sharing with the States responsibility for the raising of the money and the establishment of the organization necessary to prevent or fight bush fires?
– The matter of whether the Commonwealth should co operate with the States in the setting up of fire-fighting organizations has, as far as I know, never been considered in the civil field. However, my colleague, the Minister for the Interior, who administers the civil defence organization, is at present consulting with the States in an attempt to evolve fire-fighting organizations to fight fires which may be caused during a war by enemy or local sabotage.
– Will the Minister for the Army investigate the stocks of steel posts and barbed wire which are held by the Army authorities, and, if possible, make some of them available temporarily to State instrumentalities for the purposes of bush fire relief, particularly in north-east Victoria? I point out that persons in that part of the State are experiencing considerable difficulty in obtaining transport for donated hay and fodder for stock. Will the Minister investigate the possibility of making Army transport available to supplement civilian transport resources, and will he also consider whether that transport can be placed at the disposal of the relief organizations which have been established?
– It has been the policy of this Government at all times to ensure that the Army, in peace or in war, shall render the greatest possible assistance to the community generally. In furtherance of that policy, we have always made available substantial assistance in times of flood and fire. The Army has done everything possible to help victims of the numerous bush fires that have occurred in recent months, but I am sorry that I cannot hold out any hope that it will be able to provide barbed wire or steel posts-
– Why not? The Army has stores full of it.
– The honorable gentleman is talking through his hat. He has no knowledge of the facts.
– The Army has stores full of barbed wire, and I shall take the Minister to them if he wishes.
-Order ! The honorable member will cease interrupting.
– The Army has no steel posts or barbed wire. Substantial requisitions for this type of material have been lodged with the Department of Supply. I made personal investigations in order to determine the facts because I v«s eager to provide help for primary producers who had suffered loss as a result of bush fires. I should be very glad to provide the materials if the Army had any stocks of them. I shall consider the suggestion by the honorable member for Indi that Army vehicles be made available to assist in the transportation of gift fodder for farmers and graziers whose properties have been swept by fire. I shall be happy to arrange for all possible aid to be given.
– I refer to the Prime Minister’s welcome announcement yesterday that payments from the proceeds of the sale of Japanese assets will be made to Australian survivors of Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. Can the right honorable gentleman say whether those payments will be exempted from income tax, as were war gratuities?
– Neither the amounts distributed according to my recent announcement, nor the payments made from the £250,000 special trust fund that was previously established, will be treated as income in the hands of the recipients for the purpose of taxation. Those amounts will not be taxed.
– The Prime Minister has indicated that an amount o<’ more than £700,000 will be paid from Australian-held Japanese assets to former Australian prisoners of war who were held by the Japanese. As I believe that there is some misunderstanding in the public mind on the point, will he make it clear that there is a further amount of this kind to come from Japanese assets outside Australia? Can he also inform the House of the amount involved in that additional sum, and when it may be avail- able for distribution?
– It is quite true, as the honorable member has said, that the amount of £705,000 is to be dis tributed to former prisoners of war out of the value of Japanese assets in Australia. We have every expectation that under the terms of the peace treaty with Japan certain Japanese assets in other countries will be made available to the International Red Cross and, among other governments, to the Government of Australia. We have indicated that that sum will be regarded by us as giving us a further opportunity of making some distribution to former prisoners of war. I cannot say what the amount involved may be. The only estimates that have been made are. in the nature of pure guesses, but it is hoped that the sum involved will be substantial.
– About two years ago a committee was set up by the Public Service Board to investigate the status, salary, hours and general conditions of the instructional staff of Postal Department training schools. The committee functioned under the chairmanship of Mr. Eltham, and there were about 90 officers concerned with investigations. Pending the committee’s report, the union that represents the officers postponed making claims to the Public Service Arbitrator. Has the Public Service Board or the Government considered the report of the committee and, if so, is there likely to be an early decision on its findings?
– The report has not come to me. It may very well be under consideration by the Public Service Board, which may have dealt with it. I shall make inquiries, and if the honorable member will renew his question to-morrow I hope to be in a position to give him an answer.
– In view of the fact that the outlook for the wheat industry al present indicates that the price for export wheat in the coming years will be substantially above the sacrificial homeconsumption price of the wheat stabilization scheme, thus making it very unlikely that the wheat-growers will require to call on the stabilization fund, and as almost the whole of the wheat available for export from last harvest and possibly most of the wheat for export from the coming harvest will be from Western Australia, will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture consider waiving the imposition of the export tax on wheat so far as it applies to the export wheat from the harvest that is just completed and from the coming harvest?
– The export tax on wheat which goes into the wheat-growers’ stabilization fund is levied under the terms of composite legislation of the six State parliaments and of this Parliament. That legislation will cover the crop that is about to be sown, which will be the last crop under that plan. Therefore the tax will be levied on that crop. Whether it will be levied on future crops will depend on the terms of any extended stabilization plan that may be devised. The Government will consult the wheatgrowing industry on whether it wants a stabilization plan and, if so, on what terms, and it will then consult the State governments. On the outcome of those negotiations will depend whether there will he a wheat tax on export wheat beyond the crop that is about to he sown.
– Is the Minister for Com moree and Agriculture aware of the position of stockfeed consumers who are being supplied with poor quality wheat both bagged and in bulk and who- are required to pay top price for this inferior grain? If f.a.q. wheat cannot be supplied to stockfeed consumers, will the Minister endeavour to see that the price be reduced in accordance with the quality supplied ?
– Prom time to time I have had complaints of the supply of substandard wheat to stockfeeders, particularly poultry farmers, allegedly at f.a.q. price. When such incidents are brought to my notice I take the matter up with the Australian Wheat Board. Adjustments have been made from time to time. If the honorable member will bring to my attention any particular cases of this kind, I shall be glad to discuss them with the Australian Wheat Board. The general principle is that poultry farmers shall not pay for sub-standard wheat the price that is charged for f.a.q. wheat.
– J ask the Prime Minister whether it is a fact that private banks have decided to increase by 100 pei- cent, their charges for keeping current accounts. Was this decision forced upon the private banks by the Commonwealth Bank? Is it also a fact that the Commonwealth Bank is to discontinue its past practice of not making a charge for the keeping of current accounts, and will charge the same rate as is to be charged by the private banks? What body or person initiated the move to double the present charge by private banks for keeping current accounts and to compel the Commonwealth Bank to discontinue the free service it has previously given in this regard? Does the Government agree with the decision to make the community pay to the banks of this country an additional ,500,000 a year, seeing that those banks are already showing substantial profits? If not, what action does the Government propose to take in regard to this matter?
– I have no official information of this matter. I observed in the press that the Commonwealth Bank had raised its charge for keeping current accounts to 1.0s. a. half year. It would not astonish mc if the banks generally increased the charge for keeping current accounts from 5s. to 10s. a half-year. After all, the charge has been 5s. for as long as I can remember. It is quite true than an increase of the charge from 5g. to 10s. a half-year can be described as an increase of 100 per cent., but the charge is still a very small item in the banking transactions of this country.
– Is the Minister for Supply aware that in the Riverina, and, probably, in other districts, there is an acute shortage of compressed oxygen for industrial purposes? Will he take appropriate action to ensure that adequate supplies of this fuel, which is urgently required, arc made available?
– I was not aware of the shortage of compressed oxygen to which the honorable member has referred. I shall have the matter investigated immediately with a view to seeing whether anything can be done about it.
– Has the Postmaster-General discussed with M.P.A. Productions Limited the matter of removing the English control of broadcasting in the terms of the decision reached by the Parliament on the 29th November? If so, has the principle that the Parliament laid down been modified to the degree that he, and he only, insists that “ substantial ownership and control by Australians “ of commercial broadcasting stations means at least 51 per cent, of the shareholdings? Is that the basis upon which the entry of M.P.A. Productions Limited into radio broadcasting :n Australia is now being permitted by him as the relevant Minister?
– I have not in any way modified any decision that the Government has announced with respect to the matter that the honorable member lias mentioned. An announcement will be made in due course about the negotiations that are proceeding at present between the Government and M.P.A. Productions Limited.
– I desire to address to the Prime Minister a question which, subsequently, I should like to address also to the Leader of the Opposition.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman must address his question to. only one person at the one time.
– I submit, Mr. Speaker, that the Standing Orders make provision for the asking of supplementary questions. I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that a member of this Parliament recently publicly expressed the view that soldiers fighting in Korea under the flag of the United Nations should be told that they are not fighting for the purpose of keeping South Korea free, but that they have become embroiled in extending and strengthening American imperialism in Asia? Does the right honorable gentleman agree that such a statement by a member of the Aus tralian Parliament at this time, when Australian men are dying in Korea in defence of Australia and the freedom of the world, is harmful? Does he agree that any party in the Parliament which continues to harbour such a member automatically brands itself as a party of treason? Will he undertake to initiate immediately proceedings for the expulsion of any such member from his party?
– I was not aware of the statement to which the honorable member has referred. If any such statement were made it would, of course, in my opinion, and I “should think in the opinion of everybody, be outrageous and false, and, I should have thought, seditious. There could be no greater falsification of the Korean campaign. Nor could there be any statement more calculated to give aid and comfort to the enemy against which Australians are fighting. If the honorable gentleman is in a position to assure me that the man who made the statement belongs to my party, I shall arrange a parting.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that certain Communistcontrolled organizations in Queensland are campaigning against the ratification of the Japanese Peace Treaty by obtaining signatures on postcards which are forwarded to members of the Parliament? Has this campaign been operating in other States, and have steps been taken to warn the public of these Communist activities, which are designed to help the cause of Soviet Russia in the Par East?
– So far, I have not received one of the postcards to which the honorable member has referred, but I was spoken to a couple of days ago about this .campaign. It is being organized by a body known as “ The Society for Non-Ratification of the Japanese Peace Treaty”. That society is by no means confined to Communists. I want to say that immediately. There are many non-Communists in it, as will not be surprising; but there is no doubt that the Communist party has been extraordinarily active in promoting the society’s work. This morning I learned from the appropriate source that since the middle of January the Communist party of Australia has concentrated its efforts on supporting this campaign. I am able to read to honorable members a couple of quotations from the document that the Communist party itself has issued concerning this matter.
– I thought that this question was asked without notice.
– It was; but, fortunately, I had heard about the subject a couple of days ago when I fell into a conversation about the Communists which led, naturally, to the honorable member for East Sydney and led me to make inquiries. I shall quote to the honorable member words with which he is no doubt familiar. This is what the Communist party says to its lower divisions in the society that I have mentioned -
The Society proposes to have a representative deputation present the petition to the Prime Minister in Canberra when the House meets to consider the treaty . . . The sponsors’ names and the fact that the Labour party will oppose the ratification, should facilitate both the widest collection of signatures and the drawing into the collection of many Australian Labour party members mid non-,party people.
– The right honorable gentleman got that from a security officer.
– No; the Communist party wrote it and I am quoting its words precisely. The statement continued -
Every form of pressure should be exerted mi the Menzies Government with the object nut. only of preventing the ratification of the treaty, but also of further weakening and defeating the Government.
The campaign around the Japanese treaty should be a part of all our other campaigns, in particular those around .the return of the delegates from Berlin and the Carnival preparations.
Honorable members may draw their own inferences from these matters in accordance with the terms of the statement that I have just read to them.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether it is correct that the air safety programme of the department has been deferred through lack of finance and that as a result the provision of safety appliances such as instrument landing systems for the landing of aeroplanes in conditions of low visibility is not to be proceeded with at capital city airports with high density of traffic while such provision is being made at Royal Australian Air Force stations. If this is correct, has he issued instructions that the provision of these modern safe working appliances is not to be proceeded with? If they are being provided at aerodromes of the Royal Australian Air Force, will he have the matter further investigated with a view to providing them at civil airports in densely populated centres as early as possible so that the utmost safety can be provided in the interests of the continually growing air travelling public and of civil aviation?
– Quite a number of these modern instrument-landing systems have been ordered by the Department of Civil Aviation, and some of them have already been received from abroad. They are being, and will continue to be, installed as rapidly as facilities permit.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service, and I point out, by way of explanation, that a well-attended rural conference of the Liberal party, which was held at Bowral last .Saturday, asked, on the motion of Mrs. Keil, that the Women’s Land Army be reformed to assist in the food emergency. Will the Minister inform me whether women are offering in sufficient numbers for that purpose? If they are not, does he consider that such an organization can be established on a voluntary basis, and provide, at moderate charges, elementary training, suitable clothing and amenities? Is it expected that immigrant rural workers of both sexes will resist the super-attractions of urban life?
– No consideration has been given to the reconstitution of the Women’s Land Army under existing circumstances. That organization did valuable work during the war years, and I understand that some of the units of the former Women’s Land Army meet, from time to time in conference. The honorable member is probably aware that we have organized seasonal workers, including women, in substantial numbers for each seasonal harvest. During the last week, we sent some 400 seasonal workers from Sydney to assist in the harvesting operations, and our figures may be even greater in Victoria and South Australia. I have already given to the House some details of the plans that we have made for placing immigrant labour on farms, if farmers are prepared to take them. Full details of this scheme are now being circulated by the Commonwealth Employment Service to the farming community, and I recommend that all farmers who would like to to take advantage of that scheme should notify their requirements to the employment officials without delay.
– The honorable member for Macarthur has referred to a motion that has been carried by a Liberal party conference to the effect that female labour be recruited for farmwork. If the Government adopts the suggestion for the re-establishment of the Women’s Land Army, will the Minister for Labour and National Service insist, as a condition precedent to the granting of any assistance in that connexion, that the women shall be employed under the Australian Workers Union award rates and conditions and shall not be exploited?
– I have already stated that this matter has not been considered by the Department of Labour and National Service, and it certainly has not been considered by the Government. The honorable member for Dalley has asked a question that involves government policy, and I am not in a position to answer it here, but I assure him that this Government, in all its dealings in such matters, has insisted at all times that persons who are engaged under its immigration schemes or in its employment schemes shall receive the appropriate award rates and conditions which apply to any such Australian worker.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been directed to the practice which has recently been adopted by the taxation authorities in the Northern Territory of including holiday fares in the taxable incomes of government and nongovernment employees ? I point out that such a decision is causing serious ddiscontent among residents of that part of Australia. As this new policy will have a serious effect upon inducing men, especially married men with families, to accept employment in the Northern Territory, will the right honorable gentleman issue instructions immediately to the taxation authorities to revert to the previous practice of excluding holiday fares from taxable income?
– I have no knowledge of the matter to which the honorable gentleman has referred, hut I shall certainly make inquiries to ascertain the position.
Motion (by Mr. Anthony) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Life Insurance Act 1945- 1950.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
– oy leave - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to amend section 19 of the Life Insurance Act 1945-1950. Under the provisions of the act, a company is not permitted to carry on any class of life insurance business unless it has first been registered by the Insurance Commissioner. Although, up to date, registration has not been refused to any company, the act specifies five grounds upon which the Commissioner may, with the approval of the Treasurer, refuse to register a company which was not carrying on life insurance business in Australia when the act came into force on the 20th June, 1946.
The five grounds for refusal of registration, in conformity with the general intentions of the act, all relate to the better protection of the insuring public. They do not, however, enable the Commissioner to have regard to the expenses of management of a company which, prior to its application for registration as a life insurance company, was conducting some other form of insurance business. In the opinion of the Government, it is desirable that this omission should be remedied. This short amending bill accordingly “ provides that the Commissioner may refuse to register an existing insurance company for life insurance purposes if he is satisfied that its expenses of management are excessive having regard to the nature of the insurance business previously transacted. I commend the bill to the favorable consideration of the House.
– The bill commends itself to the Opposition, but I think that we should have an opportunity to consider it before we proceed with the debate.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 26th February (vide page 3*71), on motion by Mr. Casey -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– This bill, under which we are asked to take the important step of ratifying the treaty of peace with Japan, is a very short measure, but the schedule that is annexed to it contains the full textual matter of the treaty. The bill has already had an expansive airing in this House, and I do not intend to traverse at length the matters that have been encompassed in the debate to date. However, one or two articles of the treaty require further examination. They include what may be described as the economic or trade provisions of the treaty. I refer particularly to Article 12 and Article 14.
The treaty has been received with mixed feelings in various parts of the world, and even in Australia there is considerable division of opinion in relation to it. Government supporters declare that all those who oppose it are actuated by very short-sighted motives and have no* the full interests of the Australian community at heart. The Opposition contends that inherent in the treaty are certain weaknesses that could cause violent repercussions to the future disadvantage of Australia’s internal and external security. The treaty has been accorded a mixed reception even in the United States of America. Some American newspapers, whose editorial policies are a little more honest than those of their competitors, have criticized it. The Washington News, which belongs to the ScrippsHoward newspaper chain, published this comment on the 20th August last -
This treaty is essentially a war settlement between the United States and Japan. It does not require a majority approval. As it is being submitted, any nation can take it or leave it as it sees fit. Any nation is free to negotiate a separate agreement with Japan if it elects to do so.
That newspaper regards the treaty simply as an instrument to advance the interests of the United States of America. The Opposition takes the attitude that this Parliament is entitled to scrutinize the treaty with care and to indicate any dangers inherent in it to the future welfare of Australia. The fact that the document is primarily of American inspiration is borne out by a close study of its text. I refer honorable members to these words in Article 14 -
Nevertheless it is also recognized that the resources of Japan are not presently sufficient, if it is to maintain a viable economy .
I suggest that there are honorable members of this House who, if they were asked to define the term “viable economy”, would have some difficulty in explaining its meaning. It is a part of the jargon of American economic text-books that has been thrust holus-bolus into the treaty.
Very little has been said about Articles 12 and 14 during the course of this debate. There has been some talk about reparations, and reparations are provided for in Article 14, but the main emphasis up to date has been placed on the payment of monetary reparations to injured prisoners of war. Honorable members should read Articles 12 and 14 very carefully. They contain important hidden powers. Very little attempt has been made to elucidate some of the phraseology in them. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), when introducing this bill, said -
Japan has also agreed in principle to pay reparations in the form of services to be provided by Japanese labour in the processing of raw materials, the salvages of ships and similar forms of production and restoration. II is expected that Asian allied countries will make use of this opportunity to benefit from Japan’s industrial resources and technique.
Sow what is behind the so-called reparations article? It envisages the payment of reparations in services to be provided by Japanese industry. The conservative but reputable journal, the British Economist, published extensive articles in its issues of the 20th October, 1951, and of the 27th October, 1951, about the dangers of this reparations article to the future of the British textile industry. What applies to the British textile industry might also apply to the Australian textile industry. Lately the Australian textile industry has been in the news, and the present disemployment in that industry could be accentuated if some of the factors latent in Article 14 (a) ever came into effect. It is envisaged that America might send raw cotton to Japan for processing in Japanese mills, and the labour costs of the processing would then become part of Japanese reparations. For the mere cost of the raw materials America or Asian countries could get fully manufactured goods which would be produced to them so cheaply that no other country could coin pete with them. The declaration mentions Japan’s “ viable economy “. Japan, because of its war difficulties, is not in a position to have a viable economy and that factor is to be taken into account in negotiating reparations. We have suggested that if the economy is not in a viable state there is little validity in the suggestion that Japan might be able to engage in an armament race. If a large part of Japan’s resources were to he devoted to the manufacture of armaments, that would still further lessen the viability of this economy. That seems to be a contradictory attitude on the par-t of the Government, but the Government suggests that the Opposition is the shortsighted party. To overcome this difficulty this strange new method of paying reparations has been devised. According to Article 14 (a) the scheme is as f follows : -
Because of that, the future of the British textile industry in particular, and the Australian economy in general, have been called into question. Because of that concern, an article appeared in the British Economist, which is a journal usually devoted to the economic interests of capitalism in Great Britain and not to the espousing of radical causes. In the issue of the 20th October, 1951, of the Economist, an article appeared which reads -
Broadly, under Article 14a, countries receiving reparation arc to provide Japan with raw materials to be processed ami returned to them free of cost. This will not only affect the textile industry, but in theory any other industry with which Japan is equipped. Then* is nothing, however, in the present clauseswhich have yet to be clinched in separate agree ments - to prevent nations receiving reparations from buying raw cotton in large quantities on the world’s markets, shipping it to Japan for processing, receiving it back at costofrawmaterial price, and soiling it both al home and in neighbouring territories at prices far below those ruling to-day.
Tet that article has been written into the peace treaty and has been accepted hy this Government without demur. I suggest that that is a provision about which exception can certainly be taken. Various interpretations of history from the time of the Bom an Empire and the time of Napoleon have been put forward by honorable members on the Government side. I suggest that modern economic history indicates that economic forces are more potent than political forces in deciding the peace of nations, and the Australian people are entitled to consider their own immediate economic interests in this matter.
It has been said that we must save Japan from falling into the arms of another nation. That appears to be a shortsighted policy, because Japan is a country of 85,000,000 people who live in an area of about 140,000 square miles. Such a nation will have great difficulty in providing sufficient raw materials for its purposes. Trade is essential for
Japan’s survival, and there are certain natural trade relationships that have existed in the past and which are still essential for Japan, whatever the short-term political advantages of the treaty may be. In 1938 72.3 per cent, of Japanese exports and 56.2 of its imports were to and from Far Eastern countries. China, including Manchuria, Formosa and Kwantung accounted for 38.7 and 25.8 per cent, of exports and imports respectively. Japan’s major trade channels have always been with Eastern countries, including China and Russia. Countries like Australia are insignificant for the Japanese as far as trade is concerned. If Japan is to feed its population it must import raw materials from those countries and pay for them by the export of manufactured goods. In the past Japan’s important industries were shipping, silk, rayon and mechanical equipment. They were the basic elements of the Japanese economy and in the long run they will be assisted to grow by the vast amount of capital that has been poured into Japan since the war by the United States of America. If they are honest, the Americans will admit that this treaty has been inspired primarily by American interests and not by the Allies in the Pacific.
One article of the treaty which will have some effect on the Australian economy is Article 12, which gives to Japan what is known as the mostfavourednation treatment. Under that article, all parties who ratify the. treaty contract that they will negotiate most-favoured-nations treaties with Japan. That treatment will have more advantage for the J Japanese economy than it will have for the Australian economy. Along with the treaty must be considered the tariff agreement which is known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade which was negotiated some years ago when circumstances were very different from those of to-day. The Government has been very silent about that agreement. If this treaty is ratified, Japan will automatically come under the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. From time to time, the Government has promised to allow full scope for debate in this Parliament on that subject, but so far little debate has occurred. Producing interests in Australia have called upon the Government to indicate its attitude on that matter. The Government has said that there are various escape provisions and, that this treaty need not be fully operative unless we wish it to be. A similar suggestion was made by the Minister for Defence Production (Mr. Eric J. Harrison) when the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) mentioned that one of the articles of the treaty referred to the most-favoured-nation treatment. The Minister said that Australia would not need to observe that provision. If certain parts of the treaty are to be observed or not observed according to whether it suits the Government, the document would seem to have very little value. Unfortunately, it seems that the word of the Government in relation to the interests of the Australian producer cannot be accepted. Although the Government has stated that it is looking after the interests of the. Australian producer, the producer often finds over-night that under by-law provisions and the revoking of tariff protection, all sorts of goods have been allowed to flood into our market. That is one of the reasons for the current recession in the Australian textile industry. Many textile manufacturers did not know that the market was being flooded by textile goods from overseas. If that sort of experience is to follow the application of this treaty, a new competitor for Australia will be brought into the field. That will be Japan. Apparently the Australian community will wake up one day to find that the Australian market has been flooded with goods which were allowed in under the economic provisions of this treaty.
Whatever the other arguments against the treaty may be, at least there is need for closer scrutiny of it. More detailed explanation by the Government is also required on the ostensible meaning of Article 14 (a). The Economist in Great Britain drew attention to this provision and this interpretation of it brought from the authorities an explanation that they did not believe that the reparations scheme would operate in the way that had been suggested. No reservation has been made so far as Australia is concerned and nobody knows whether certain interests have already been promised by this Government that they can send raw materials to Japan to be manufactured freely under the reparations provision and brought back to Australia to compete with Australian goods at uneconomic prices.
If the Government had the interests of Australia at heart in relation to this treaty and if the United States of America had the elevation of the nations of the East at heart, they should have acted accordingly hut there is nothing in this treaty to suggest that the Japanese ought to adopt the International Labour Organization’s convention regarding conditions of employment such as the 40-hour week and an adequate reimbursement for those who work in Japanese industries. This treaty would have provided a good opportunity to improve the conditions of the workers in the Eastern countries. Instead it is apparently to be used as an opportunity to import low standard goods into this country. Figures to the end of June, 1951, indicate that in Japan the average working week is 51.6 hours and the average wage is equivalent to £16 12s. a month in Australian currency. No wonder goods that are produced in Japan can compete successfully with goods that are produced by the Western countries. Honorable members on this side of the House have consistently suggested that the best way to fight communism is to provide decent conditions for those who are faced with the challenge of communism. An attempt could have been made in this treaty to improve the conditions of workers in J Japan ,by providing in it for the ratification by Japan of the Geneva Convention. No such attempt has been made. Honorable members on this side of the House urge the rejection of this treaty because they believe that it will be prejudicial to the future welfare of the Australian community and to the conditions’ that have been gained by the struggles of the Australian people in the past.
– Certain general considerations affect every question of foreign policy and before I deal in detail with the actual provisions of the treaty, 1 wish to draw the attention of honorable members to certain of those considerations. First I think that we might remind ourselves that foreign policy never presents to any country an easy choice of alternatives. It is not a case of being able to select one particular course of action on the assumption that if we follow it we shall obtain complete satisfaction of our requirements and that if we follow the opposite course everything that we wish to avoid will automatically come to pass. The choice that confronts us now, like every other choice in relation to the foreign policy of a country, is an option of difficulties. lt is a question of which difficulty will most approximate to our requirements. lt must he apparent that in no issue so great is it possible for a country to obtain complete satisfaction of all its demands. The basic requirement of the foreign policy pursued by any Government is the security of the country for which that government is responsible. It is upon that basis that all arguments advanced for or against the ratification of this treaty must rest and must be judged. By the word “ security “ I do not mean only the continued existence of a country as a political entity. I mean also its economic security as well as other aspects of security in the general sense.
Last night the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) made what I consider to be the most reasoned attack, on the proposal to ratify the treaty that the House has yet heard. The, essence of his argument was that the Japanese had pursued a traditional policy in the Pacific, and would continue to pursue that policy. He said that that policy had two aspects, one being continental expansion on the Asian mainland and the other oceanic expansion. He went on to say that America’s foreign policy had shown itself to be amateur in . many respects, and was therefore unworthy of acceptance hy Australia. Whatever reservations we may have about the conduct of America’s foreign policy, and however we may. disagree about certain aspects of it, we must all agree that since the war American foreign policy has been the only thing that had prevented the relapse of Europe into utter chaos. American foreign policy has, in fact, stabilized the Western world. We must also realize that our interests are completely bound up with American foreign policy. The honorable member for Fremantle took it for granted that Japan must follow one of two courses. It must either attack the two Asian powers, Communist China and Russia, or it must expand by violent means seawards into the Pacific. Surely we cannot rightly assume that because Japan’s former policy was one of expansion in those two directions it must inevitably be the same in the future. The honorable member for Fremantle ignored entirely the factor of power in politics. After all, international power determines the actions of most nations. The world to-day is divided between two colossi. On the one hand we have the vast power of Russia, its satellites and its allies; on the other hand we have the United States of America, possessed of a military power more tremendous than we can easily imagine. There is now no third force to hold, the balance between those two vast forces.
I suggest that the future actions of Japan will not be dictated by any inherent or traditional policy, but will be dictated by considerations of where the power lies, because, when all is said and done, politics without power has no meaning. If it is admitted as obvious that world power is divided between America and Russia, then it is also obvious that British and Australian interests are inevitably linked with the interests and the power of the United States of America. What steps has the United States of America taken in the Pacific to maintain the balance of power in that region? First of all it offered this country the Pacific pact, which it has envisaged as not merely a pact by America, Australia and New Zealand, but as a regional arrangement similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, capable of extension to embrace not only the present participating nations but also other nations, including Japan. Surely that is a realistic attitude on power politics, if that is the correct term. Another most potent factor on which American power in the Pacific is based, is provided for by this treaty. That is the retention in Japan of American bases. That material and realistic factor is designed to do two things. On the one hand it is designed to prevent Japan from falling into the Communist orbit, and, on the other, to draw it into the orbit of American power. That is the policy that we are asked to support by our ratification of this treaty.
While the arguments presented to the House by the honorable member for Fremantle were closely reasoned from an academic point of view, they lose much of their force when they are considered from the stand-point of reality. Nobody can say with authority whether Japan will finally ally itself with one side or the other, but we can safely say that unless we are prepared to support the attitude and efforts of the United States of America in ensuring that Japan will aline itself with American power, we run the greatest risk of allowing Japan to disappear forever behind the Iron Curtain. Even if the facts were entirely as the honorable member for Fremantle has contended, I cannot understand how he or any other honorable member opposite can imagine that our refusal to ratify this treaty could make the slightest difference to the real facts of power in the Pacific, or be of the slightest use in containing the power of Japan?
Other objections that the Leader of the Opposition advanced against the ratification of this treaty were based, not on considerations that the honorable member for Fremantle put forward, but on quite vague considerations. The right honorable gentleman argued that as the terms of the treaty were objectionable, there would be something to be gained by refusing to ratify it. However, he failed to give to the House a solution to the problems that would then arise. I invite him to explain how, by refusing to ratify the treaty, he could guarantee Australian security. We have been offered, and we are about to conclude, a security pact with the United
States of America and New Zealand. If we refuse to ratify this treaty, will the United States of America welcome us into that pact? Shall we, in a petulant manner, throw aside this real chance of ensuring our security and, instead, resort to some mysterious means to achieve that objective? If the Leader of the Opposition believes that the treaty as it stands offers to the Japanese too soft a peace, I invite him to explain how, by refusing to ratify the treaty, he can make provision for a harder peace. I remind honorable members that Great Britain, under a Labour government, ratified this treaty by a large majority.
If the United States of America and Great Britain ratify the treaty, how on earth shall we be able to make provision for a harder peace if we refuse to ratify it? Is it proposed that we should arrange for a. military occupation of Japan or take military measures to impose our will upon Japan when it is clear to every one that we have no possibility of doing so? Honorable members opposite have opposed every suggestion of the Government to increase our military strength to its present potential. Yet they now say that because they regard this treaty as being too soft we should not ratify it, and, I presume, should make provision for a harder peace. Such suggestions are not based on realities. One can sympathize with those who recollect the atrocities that the Japanese perpetrated during World War II. One can understand the antipathy of such persons to this treaty. One can also understand that many people feel that it leaves the ground insecure. But upon what other ground can we take our stand? These matters must be decided upon the basis, not of wishes, but of facts. If, by refusing to ratify this treaty, we cannot make provision for a harder peace and cannot guarantee the security of Australia, what is our alternative?
Non-ratification of the treaty will produce two results. The first of them is that having allies who are making peace with Japan, we alone would incur the permanent hatred and animosity of the Japanese people with whom we have to live in the Pacific. I cannot understand how that result would be of any use to us, or how it would contribute to our military security or make easier the path of our trade and commerce. The second result that would flow from nonratification of the treaty would be the forfeiture of the goodwill of our allies and of their trust in our common sense. Those considerations are more important than the question of whether or not this treaty bears hardly enough upon the Japanese.
What conditions shall we accept by ratifying the treaty? Broadly speaking, it will affect us under two main headings. The first of them relates to trade and commence and the second relates to defence. It is obvious that in respect of trade and commerce we must take a risk, just as we must take a risk in the formulation of foreign policy generally. However, the plain fact remains that a nation of 80,000,000 people in the Pacific must trade with other people in that sphere. How, by refusing to ratify this treaty, can we direct that trade into channels that will be in the best interests of Australia ? We are now debating not whether the treaty is entirely satisfactory, but whether we can achieve a better result by refusing to ratify it. That is the vital point. Some honorable members have lost sight of it. We shall not solve the problem of Japanese trade competition by refusing to ratify the treaty. Great Britain, which has far greater trade interests than Australia in the Pacific and which are menaced by Japan to a far greater degree than are our industries, did not take the view of members of the Australian Opposition.
The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) spoke at length about the textile industry. The British textile industry has most to fear from Japanese competition, but, the British Government considered that that issue could not be dealt with appropriately in relation to this treaty. That Government has ratified the treaty. It took the view that nothing would be gained by refusing to do so and that measures to safeguard the British textile trade, or any other British trade, should be taken in subsequent negotiations with not only Japan but also with other nations in the Pacific and the rest of the Western world as well. That is a realistic approach. By refusing to ratify the treaty, we cannot bind down Japanese trade and commerce in order to remove the threat that it presents to the Western world. No more unreal picture could be imagined. The Japanese must trade. They cannot continue to exist as a nation unless they do so. By refusing to ratify this treaty we cannot avert all of the dangers which we foresee in Japanese trade competition in the years to come. I repeat that we cannot appropriately take steps to deal with trade aspects in relation to this treaty.
Our next vital consideration relates to defence. Never in the course of our history have we been able, by ourselves, to ensure our defence. Not for one moment since the first landing of white settlers on our shores have we, by our unaided efforts, been able to defend this country effectively. In the past, the British Navy has guaranteed our safety in peace and in war. Only by active co-operation with the rest of the British Commonwealth of Nations shall we be able to guarantee our security in the future. Are we to remove ourselves from the shelter of the shield that Great Britain and the United States of America now offer to provide for us? The defence of this country is only part of the defence of the Western democracies, and our security can be guaranteed only if Great Britain, America and Australia continue to stand together. It cannot be guaranteed even if one of the three parties withdraws from such co-operation. Those are the realities about our defence. How could we make the slightest contribution to our defence by refusing to ratify this treaty? Thereby we should put ourselves out of court with those upon whom we must depend as allies. We now have offered to us the Pacific pact, the power and strength of the rest of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and our own resources; but unless those factors are integrated, and unless, in order to integrate them, we accept the leadership of greater countries than our own, we cannot for one hour assure the defence of this country. If security is the objective of our foreign policy, as it must be, we have no alternative but to ratify this treaty. Those who oppose its ratification ignore overriding and inescapable facts, which nothing can alter. Our existence is linked with that of the powers that I have mentioned and must be determined in the light of the facts that I have given. We can ensure our security only by uniting with our allies in ratifying this treaty and going forward with them in the politics of the Pacific and of the world. Australia, in fact, comes within the power system of the Western democracies. As I said earlier, there is no such thing as politics without power, and that axiom holds true for small as well as for great countries.
Honorable members opposite have suggested that supporters of the Government have reflected upon the valour and ability of the armed forces of Australia. No honorable member on this side made any suggestion of that kind; but we must realize that our military effort is inevitably linked with that of other countries. We cannot continue to exist as a nation without the aid of those countries. That is why supporters of the Government contend that the treaty should be ratified. Are we to be willing partners and cooperators with our great allies in the Pacific and, indeed, throughout the world? Of course, we are. Our lot is irrevocably cast with those countries and we must back them up to the hilt in this as well as in other vital actions. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) claimed that Australia’s point of view had not been put clearly before our allies when the treaty was being drafted. That is not correct. The Minister for External Affairs has assured the House that he and his predecessor from start to finish of negotiations have made our allies fully aware of Australia’s point of view. That being so, we are confronted by the fact that if we fail to ratify this treaty we shall forfeit the assistance and friendship of great military and economic allies in the difficult days ahead. The only result that a refusal to ratify this treaty can have for Australia is to prejudice us in their eyes, and we shall be denied the great advantages that the ratification of the treaty will bring.
Nobody knows, and nobody can read, the thoughts of the Japanese from day to day. It is fashionable to say that we cannot, read the oriental mind. Well, perhaps we cannot; perhaps we cannot read any mind ; hut I express the opinion that no nation, not even Japan,, in spite of the fact that the effects of thousands of years of traditional conservatism are rooted in the spirit of its people, can be completely unaltered and unchanged by the tremendous events of the last war and the rapid march of progress in the world. If that is not so, human efforts have no reality at all. Japan had never suffered military defeat before World War II. Its people had been educated to the idea that Japan could conquer the earth. But it was subjected to atomic bombing and was suddenly overthrown and occupied by the forces of the countries that the Japanese people had been taught to despise. They were then open to a flood of Western ideas. I venture to say that even the Japanese with their agelong traditions, cannot be completely unchanged and unaltered by those events. Our hope for the future is not to- build on the ashes and ruins- of the past, but to embody in our dealings with Japan and with other nations in the Pacific a broader and better diplomacy, and to endeavour to incorporate them in what we are proud to call the Western system. They may not fit into all the nooks and crannies of the Western system, and. see eye to eye with us in everything, but there is at any rate the hope that we shall be able to draw them away from the dark shadow that overlies half the world and into our orbit. We should use our utmost endeavours to build them into the great system to which we ourselves adhere. To my mind, a refusal by this country to ratify the peace treaty, especially at this stage when it has been accepted by our allies, is not only useless but also contrary to out best ideals, and has no basis in reality. [Quorum formed.]
.- The honorable member for Oxley (Dr. Donald Cameron) gave, in a carefully considered statement, the reasons why he believes that Australia should ratify the peace treaty with Japan, but, nevertheless, I found it difficult to understand whether he was putting forward reasons to justify the treaty or the policy of the Government in. introducing this bill. He began his- speech with the statement that the basic principle of the foreign policy of a country was to ensure its own security. I believe that his statement, from the standpoint of the conduct of foreign policy, is correct. The honorable gentleman also expressed the view that Japan would possibly be caught between the hammer of the United States of America and the anvil of Russia, and he hoped that Japan would aline itself with America. He admitted that it wa3 impossible to state definitely whether Japan would become an ally of the Western democracies, and I gained the impression that he was far from satisfied with the provisions of the treaty but had reluctantly come to the conclusion that it should be ratified because nothing better could be secured. He also considered that it was unlikely that Japan was completely unchanged and unaltered as a result of its experiences in World War II. I shall endeavour to convince the House that the trend of Japanese thought, and the effect of World War II. on the Japanese people, are more likely to make them more antiWestern in outlook than they have been in the past.
No honorable member will contend that Japan, during the last 30 years, has shown very friendly feelings towards the West, particularly Australia. That factor must be taken into consideration when we are examining the possible effects of this peace treaty. It is because I believe that the cardinal principle of the foreign policy of a country is to ensure its security that I oppose the ratification of this peace treaty with Japan. I do so for several reasons. The first is that the treaty fails to recognize the psychology and national aspirations of the Japanese people, and will inevitably lead to a resurgence of anti-Western feeling. My second reason is that the treaty will promote the resurrection of imperialist influences in Japan. My third reason is that rearmament will strangle the growth of democracy in Japan, and depress the already low standard of living of the Japanese people. My fourth reason is that the treaty is not in the best interests of Australia. My last reason is that the trade provisions of the treaty can, and probably will, have an adverse effect upon Australian secondary industry.
All honorable members agree that the important consideration for Australians is the effect of this treaty upon this country, not only at the present time, but also in the future. In order to estimate that effect, we should have some knowledge of the national thought of the people with whom the treaty is to be made. Two sections of the treaty require careful consideration. The first is that which permits the unrestricted rearmament of Japan, and the second is that which deals with trade and commerce with nations which are parties to the treaty. It is well to recall that the matter of J Japanese armament was the subject of discussion at conferences held at Cairo, Potsdam and Yalta, and that the terms of the surrender agreement provided clearly that Japan was to renounce forever its right to rearm, and was to remain an unarmed country. The effect of that policy on Japan was almost immediately felt, and I remind the House that the constitution which has been adopted by the Japanese people provides that Japan shall renounce war forever and shall not prepare in any way for the conduct of a war. That is to say, the Japanese people renounced the war-like aspirations that had’ led their country to disaster, and were prepared in future to follow the paths of peace. I do not speak in any way in condemnation of the United States of America when I say that it may be regarded as the architect of this peace treaty and that, in such a role, it has completely changed the policy which it had pursued towards Japan for a number of years. It is significant that the countries which are remote from Japan place the least significance upon Japanese rearmament, while other countries which lie nearer Japan attach the greatest importance to it. Strong resentment has been expressed by Indonesia and the Philippines at the possibility of Japanese rearmament. Those countries which were invaded by Japan show the greatest hostility to Japanese rearmament. Evidence of a similar feeling may be found in Europe at the present time. Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which are nearest Germany are strongly opposed to the rearmament of that country, because they have suffered at the hands of German armies.
– They have agreed to the inclusion of Germany in that organization.
– But very, very reluctantly. As the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) is aware, it was a matter of grave doubt whether France would agree to the proposal, and that when that country finally adopted the resolution, a number of reservations were included in order to protect its security. We face a similar position in Australia. We must protect our security, and because we as a nation are most likely to feel first any tragic effect of the rearmament of Japan, our duty as a nation is to ensure that our protests against rearmament shall be clear and strong. We should do everything that we can do to prevent the implementation of a treaty that most of us believe in our hearts to be against the best interests of Australia. The world has already had its tragic experience of the dangers of Japanese nationalism and imperialist expansion, and we are not eager to repeat that experience. I agree with the honorable member for Oxley (Dr. Donald Cameron) that it is not easy for us to understand the oriental mind. That difficulty hampers the development of our relationships with Asiatic nations.
The Japanese have a conception of their influence, their power and their destiny that we, as people of Western descent, cannot , readily appreciate. The Japanese regard themselves as a superior race and believe that they are destined ultimately to be not only the leaders but also the masters of the East, and, indeed, of the rest of the world. Those honorable members who have studied the history of the Japanese people, particularly in the period between the early ‘twenties and the attack on Pearl Harbour, when imperialism grew apace, must realize that the Japanese co-prosperity sphere was intended to include not only Asia and Oceania but also Australia and New Zealand. For years, the Japanese had aimed at the domination of most of the world in the belief that conquest was a part of the destiny of their race. In short, the Japanese people consider themselves to be the sons of heaven. . They believe that each of them is of divine origin and that the Emperor is the direct representative of the Sun Goddess and the symbol of their heavenly descent. From that belief there developed hundreds of years ago a cult - it can scarcely be described as a religion - known as Shintoism. The influence of Shinto in relation to political, economic and military affairs was very great. I shall read to the House an extract from The Menace of Japan, by Mr. Taid 0’Conroy who was significantly endowed with the capacity to understand the Japanese mentality. He was married to a Japanese woman and was for fifteen years the Professor of English at a Japanese university. He was able to make a complete study of the thoughts and ambitions of the Japanese people. This is what he wrote about Shinto -
Shinto was n. mere subconscious factor, although an extremely important factor, a mixture, pure and simple, of ancestor and nature worship with the very important addition of reverence towards the Throne and a. belief in the Emperor’s divinity. Neo-Shinto was built up on the foundations of this order faith, which can best he described by quoting The Japan Times (English edition). This paper, speaking of the new thoughts coming from the West, said that Europeans “are apt to forget the fundamentals of our Japanese race nature. For history records that all manner of foreign ideas have, from time to time, flooded the nation, but standing like a sun, about which these new ideas found their proper and subordinate place, has, through long ages, stood the Imperial House. Indeed no foreign idea - Buddhism, Christianity, Democracy, Socialism - may survive in this country and find root in the consciousness of the Japanese unless it subordinates itself to that undefinable yet all-pervasive soul element of the Yamato race, which stands crystallized and symbolized in the person and tradition of His Imperial Majesty. For deep in our race is rooted reverence for the Emperor as the descendant of the very Gods to whom we owe our being. Indeed, even to speak the words ‘ Tenno Heika ‘ or ‘ Shison ‘ conveys to us a very solemn and deep impression and stirs to depths our profoundest emotions. To explain or rationalize this attitude is unnecessary; it is fact and true because it exists “. That is the old Shinto. It defines the feelings of this wordless, gospelless cult. Race nature, race soul, race, that is Shinto.
Neo-Shinto is more concrete in its ways. It is made the excuse for the persecution of the foreigners, and the political murders that are so frequent. It is the basis of the favourite charge of “dangerous thoughts” which result in the arrest of its citizens on the information of their neighbours. It is the cause of the request for espionage of the people by the people.
I have quoted that extract from Mr. O’Conroy’s hook because I believe that it is essential for us to understand the Japanese people.
Shintoism, or Neo-Shintoism. is a cult that embraces the spiritual, economic, political and military aspirations of the Japanese. The development of Japan into a war-like nation was made possible by the cult, which was fostered by ecclesiastical and military authorities alike. Shinto was strengthened, and terrorism arose in Japan, as a result of the formation of large numbers of secret societies, the chief of which were the Society of the Black Ocean and the Society of the Black Dragon. Hundreds of subsidiary societies were established. The development of the cult led to the initiation of a war-like programme of imperialistic expansion. The Sino-Japanese war of 1895 was followed by the annexation of islands adjacent to Japan. Propaganda disseminated by the secret societies caused the incidents that le<7 to the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese war. That war was followed by the invasion and annexation of Korea, and later by the invasion and annexation of Manchuria. The activities of the secret societies and the cult of Shinto were behind the assassinations of the noncooperative political leaders in Japan who were not prepared to espouse the teachings, aspirations and desires of the warrior class. From time to time we have read in Australian newspapers reports of the assassination of various Japanese ministers. The truth is that, between 1900 and 1941, literally hundreds of persons who were associated with the political life of Japan were assassinated because of their failure to co-operate with the Samurai, the warrior class that was endeavouring to make Japan a war-like nation. The activities of the secret societies caused the smashing of the trade union movement in the early ‘thirties. That movement had a long and bitter struggle to establish itself and, as soon as it appeared to be capable of becoming a powerful force in
Ja:mn. the secret societies set out to destroy it and the efforts that had been made by the Japanese workers to improve their economic position were nullified. At that time, the Japanese doctrine in relation to dangerous thoughts was promulgated. By means of the relentless and ruthless persecution of persons who were accused of harbouring dangerous thoughts, the trade union movement was brought to a state of subjection.
The brief period of six years that has elapsed since the termination of hostilities with Japan has not been sufficient to permit of the democratization of Japan. Notwithstanding the optimistic assertions of the honorable member for Oxley, the truth is that the dangerous aspirations and tendencies of the Japanese people have not been eliminated. From the time it opened its doors to trade in the ‘sixties of last century until the outbreak of World War II., Japan vigorously pursued a programme of territorial and economic expansion. It established one of the biggest fleets in the world, amassed one of the largest armies, and organized one of the most efficient air forces, and it used those weapons with the greatest possible effect against the democratic nations. Now we are asked to agree that Japan shall be rearmed after six years of apprenticeship in the arts of democracy ! The Opposition believes that Japanese rearmament will gradually result in the destruction of any democratic principles that the Japanese may have assimilated. It will provide the Samurai clique with an opportunity to reform and strengthen itself so that it may revive the old imperialist policies, and eventually we in Australia will be forced to face again the threat that we had to face in 1941. We shall not encourage the growth of democracy by permitting Japan to rearm itself. The SocialDemocratic party in Japan, working in co-operation with the trade union movement, has succeeded in resurrecting democracy since 1945. But rearmament will mean that that portion of the Japanese economy that could be used to improve the standard of living of the Japanese people will be devoted instead to the task of making the nation mill. tarily strong. Therefore, the standard of living of the people will be depressed and the way will be made easy for those with Fascist or Communist tendencies who wish to gain control of the nation. Thus, rearmament will lead to the frustration of democracy in Japan. We can do no greater harm to the democratic nations than will be done by permitting the rearmament of Japan. Those who desire the re-establishment of the pre-war Japan will seize with both hands the opportunity thus afforded by the Western powers, and will use it for their own purposes.
The mass of the Japanese people do not desire rearmament. We all have read recently of the riots and disturbances that have taken place in Japan against the peace treaty. These show clearly that the ordinary working people of Japan realize that rearmament will result in their desire for improved living standards being frustrated. The Japanese people appreciate that the fascist section in Japan will be only too anxious to seize on rearmament as an opportunity to increase its prestige and re-establish itself as the ruling group in Japan. As was indicated by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean), quite apart from the matter of rearmament we must consider the effect of the Japanese peace treaty on the economy of Australia.
As a result of the treaty, Japan is sure to link itself with’ the -General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and will then apply for most-favoured-nation treatment. That will mean that the duty on Japanese goods being imported into Australia will then be reduced from 52$ per cent, to 45 per cent.
– We are not bound to grant most-favoured-nation treatment.
– I suggest that if the Japanese become linked with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, following their entrance into the United Nations, such a request will certainly be made. It is necessary that every effort be made to induce Japan to take a part in the International Labour Organization. It is essential that Japan shall adopt the conventions of the International Labour Organization so as to enable the Japanese to secure many of the important advantages that other nations enjoy as a result of membership of that organization. The International Labour Organization has realized the importance of improving the living conditions of the people in the East, and on more than one occasion during the last two years, conferences have been called of governments, employers and workers in the Asian and South-Asian countries in order to consider problems of under-payment, insanitary conditions, long hours, malnutrition, and so on.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– This debate has revolved mainly round Chapter III. of the peace treaty, which concerns the security of Japan. I suggest that the security of Japan is of great importance both to the Japanese and to our own people. We have been told by the Government that at all COnferences about this treaty Australia has done everything possible to restrict the rearmament of Japan. By ratifying this treaty we secure the protection of Britain and the United States of America against Japan, should the necessity for such protection arise in the future. Therefore, the Government’s good faith is not in question. However, the Australian Government was overridden at those conferences by all the other 49 nations that attended, with the exception of New Zealand, and we must accept this treaty as the best and wisest solution of a difficult problem. India did not become a party to the treaty, because it considered that the terms were too harsh.
I have been astonished and bewildered at the similarity of the arguments against the Japanese peace treaty advanced by honorable members opposite and by Communists generally throughout the world. Most honorable members opposite who have spoken in this debate have used the arguments that have been used by Communists both in Australia and overseas. Communists in every country in the world are doing everything possible to prevent this treaty from coming into effect, and to cause dismay and bewilderment in the minds of all democratic people. Last week in Japan, Russianorganized Communists stirred up riots against the treaty. In Australia to-day
Communists form the greater part of the delegation of over 300 people that is now waiting upon Labour members in King’s Hall in this building. No good can come of Australia refusing to ratify this treaty. To refuse ratification would be to secure a victory for the Communists. The treaty must be our instrument to save Japan from being over-run by communism. A Communist Japan would complete the pattern of Russian conquest in Asia.
Communist agitation has demanded the complete disarmament of Japan, and has attempted to stir up hatred against the United States of America. Both those lines of argument have been used by the Communists, and I repeat that both have been used by the Opposition. I remind honorable members that if it had not been for the United States of America during the last war Australia would have gone down in ruin. Moreover, the United States of America cannot continue to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into its present system of occupation of J Japan. Unfortunately, the pattern of communism is quite plain throughout the world. Arguments similar to those used by Communists against this treaty have been used by Communists in France and other countries against the German peace treaty. Apparently the Communists wish to see the democratic nations pour out their lifeblood in the defence of an unarmed Japan and Germany against Russian aggression. In fact the- Communist activities were so intense in France at the time when the German peace treaty was being discussed that they almost wrecked the French Government. At present Russian influence has extended to within 2 miles of the Japanese mainland, yet honorable members opposite want to prevent the Japanese from taking any defensive moves against this Communist menace.
The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) said that America gave strategic bases to Russia. I submit that America did no such thing. Strategic bases were given to Russia under the Potsdam Agreement, an agreement that was entered into by Great Britain, France, America and Russia. I submit that Russia is not entitled to anything in the Far East because Russia entered the war against Japan only a day or two before it surrendered to the Allies. Yet when Japan was broken, Russia marched in and looted steel-works, electrical equipment, power stations and all the slaves and wealth on which it could lay its hands. Surely we shall not be a party to handing Japan over to a power that has already taken possession of China. By the Potsdam Agreement Russia was given Port Arthur and certain islands up to within 2 miles of the mainland of Japan. Russia was also given fishing rights in the waters between Siberia and Japan which had been a matter of controversy between Japan and Russia for many years. Russia therefore constitutes a terrible threat to Japan, and for the Allies to refuse to concede to Japan the right to take defensive measures would be merely to foster Russia’s imperialistic ambitions. The Labour party has adopted to-day the arguments and methods of the Communists, not only in Australia, but also throughout the world, and they have advocated that Japan should not be allowed to defend itself.
– So has the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer).
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) is only concerned about a couple of Japanese boys who were taking photographs in Adelaide. The Japanese have not one warship with which to attack Australia, and the Russians have, great offensive fleets. I never hear the honorable member for Hindmarsh saying anything about the defence of Australia against the Communists in Australia. Russia has been given the position to attack Japan at any time, and we now have to see. to it that Japan shall be given the power to defend itself. “We must take precautions against the forces being developed by the. Communists for an extension of their march southward from the Asiatic mainland. It has been claimed by the Communists, and by those in this House who have espoused their arguments, that this treaty should not be ratified. Honorable members opposite have not told us whose children will have to go to Japan to save it from the Russians. The honor able member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) said that Japan would have only one course to adopt if it were allowed to rearm and that would be to join Russia. He claimed, further, that Japan could retain its neutrality only by not . rearming. Could anything be more childish? That is the desire of Russia and of Communists throughout the world. That is the reason for the agitation in France about the rearming of Germany. The desire was made evident also in Japan last week, when the Communists demanded the withdrawal of American troops. That is the sort of claim that is being urged by the Communists who nr» in King’s Hall of this Parliament House to-day. They are agitating in the name of the so-called Non-ratification of Japanese Treaty Committee. While they enjoy that freedom, the press from Peking to Hong Kong speaks of the relentless assassination of Chinese people on the ground that they are not co-operating with the Communist regime. The individuals who advocate this action are the traitors to Australia who have allied themselves with a foreign power. The official Chinese Communist newspaper has announced that the purge in China will not end until all opposition to the existing regime ceases. Millions of Chinese will be assassinated because they hold a different political opinion. Yet people with similar views enjoy the freedom that Australia gives to them, and honorable members opposite support their contentions. They would not be prepared to allow Japan to rearm, neither would they allow Australian youths to enter the Army to train for the defence of Australia. Trade unions are now being established in Japan. No doubt the Communists will get control of many of the more important of them, and Japan will be harassed in its endeavours to provide home defences against the Communists of China. The honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) said that he could not believe that Japan would aline itself against the Asiatic races.
– That is true.
– Only two weeks ago complaints were published in the press because Japan had indicated its desire to become linked with Nationalist China. Japan selected Nationalist China as against Communist China.
– Because the Americans made them do so.
– The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) suggests that the Americans will be allowed to tell the Japanese what they should do so. The treaty gives to Australia protection in ways upon which honorable members opposite refrained from commenting. The Australian Government did. what it could do to prevent wider support of Japan but received no support except from New Zealand. Australia had either . to sign the treaty or refrain from signing it, in which latter event Japan could make an agreement with Australia later in the terms of this treaty. In the treaty the Japanese agreed to the United States of America continuing to hold the Japanese islands and bases within Japan itself. The only assistance that Japan received from Russia in a belated appearance at the peace conference was a demand that it should be allowed, to retain those islands and bases. Japan accepts the obligations imposed under Article 5 of the treaty to conform to Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations. It agrees, further, to pay compensation for prisoners of war, to renounce its claims to Allied property, to grant most-favoured-nation treatment to the signatories to the treaty, to undertake civil aviation and to renounce war claims, including its claim to the Antarctic, which worried Australia.
– They will agree to anything.
Mi-. BERNARD CORSER. - Agitations emanating from Moscow are spreading throughout the world. In them the lowest classes of all communities are merged to demonstrate against the desires of the United Nations and Great Britain. They agitated in Japan last Sunday. Similar people forced the British to abandon their oil interests in Persia. In Egypt individuals of the lowest types were inflamed by the Communists to destroy British interests, but fortunately wisdom prevailed there. Communist-inspired disturbances have occurred in North Africa, Indo-China and Burma. There are limitations to the possibilities of Japanese expansion. Japan is not in a position to restore its army, navy and air force sufficiently to enable it to become an aggressor nation in ten years. The riches of Manchuria have been stripped from it. As a nation the Japanese are bankrupt. They have neither the power nor the industry to rebuild. They must first establish civil industries if they are to save their people. The “Japanese citizens, the rank and file, must be given some hope of the rehabilitation of their country and of reasonable living standards in the future. If they are not given that hope the seeds of communism will spread there as they did in China. That is what Russia desires. No peace treaty anywhere has been assisted by Russia. Taking everything into consideration, and realising Australia’s interests, this Government could not have done anything but agree to the treaty. The danger of a Japan controlled by Russia would be greater than the possibility that in some distant future Japan may become an aggressor nation again.
– What about a Japanese-controlled Australia ?
– If the policy of the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) were adopted, nobody would carry arms in this country for its defence, or in Japan for the defence of that country against Russia. The Australian Workers Union believes in the defence of Australia. That is probably the
Tea son why the honorable member for Hindmarsh was kicked out of it. Whilst all true Australians regret the necessity to permit Japan to rearm there are many side issues that make its rearming obligatory. The alternative would be the retention of an army of Americans, British and Australians in Japan. Such an army would weaken United Nations forces in other parts of the world. I am prepared to support the treaty. I am confident that we can establish a peaceful Japan so long as we do justice to that country, give to it the assistance that is promised in the treaty, and exact from it the obligations imposed by the treaty.
– Mr. Speaker, 1 wish to make a personal explanation.
– Order ! Does the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) claim that he has been misrepresented?
– Yes. I wish to refer to the statement just made by the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Corser) that I had been kicked out of the Australian Workers Union. That is not a correct statement. I am an officer of the executive of the South Australian branch of the Australian Workers Union. I was elected with a record majority at the election just completed.
– Order ! The honorable member’s election to office is not a part of the misrepresentation to which he claims to have been subjected.
– There is absolutely no truth in the statement that was made by the honorable member for Wide Bay, and I venture to believe that he knows it.
– I do not know it.
.- If every honorable member on this side of the House made it a practice to ask for apologies we all should be asking for apologies from the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Bernard Corser), because he has linked us all with subversive activities. I hope that when he goes home to-night he will have a good look in his cupboard and wardrobe and below his bed, in case any “ Corns “ have hidden themselves there during his absence. In a recent Gallup poll 67 per cent, of the Australian people expressed an opinion that disagrees with that expressed by the honorable member for Wide Bay and other honorable members who have supported this treaty. It is passing strange that Government supporters depreciate the value of Gallup polls when the findings of these polls do not accord with their opinions, but praise their excellence when the findings are agreeable to them. At the last genera! election 1 per cent, of the Aus tralian electorate voted for Communists, compared with the 67 per cent, of Gallup poll voters who expressed themselves as opposed to ratification of this treaty in its proposed form. How can honorable members opposite reconcile that disparity with their statement that the people who oppose this treaty are all “ Corns “ ? I firmly believe, and I think that all honorable members who are concerned about this treaty, even those on the Government side who speak with their tongues in their cheeks about it, would agree with me, that this bill would pass through this House without a dissentient voice being raised if it contained no clause providing for the rearmament of Japan. It is incredible that honorable members opposite can now so strenuously support in this Parliament a nation that was guilty of the most cruel barbarities in the war that ended only a little more than six years ago. Honorable members opposite who were prisoners of war of the Japanese must find this a hard pill to swallow, because they saw the Japanese at their rawest. Yet they are prepared to support a move to put guns and bombs into the hands of the Japanese. About 7,000 Australian, English and Allied prisoners of war lost their lives while working on the BurmaThailand railway.
The supporters of this proposed treaty have not demonstrated the necessity for it in its present form. The inclusion in it of clauses that will permit the rearmament of Japan have aroused opposition both here and outside, and are delaying the passage of the bill. Yet in my opinion the general principles underlying the treaty could still be achieved if the rearmament clauses were dropped from it. The Government argues that we must rearm Japan in order to protect ourselves against some other power, presumably Russia. How do honorable members opposite imagine that Japan alone could ward off a Russian attack? It would not have a hope of doing so. Japan would be absolutely blasted and destroyed in one week by atom bombs and so would the army that it is intended to maintain there. iSo it is utterly fantastic to believe that Japan can defend itself against Russia. That being the case, why should this rearmament clause
Lave been inserted in the treaty, especially when the general purposes of the treaty can be achieved without it? I claim that the clause is completely irrelevant to the true issue.
The treaty will give to Japan the right to enter the comity of nations on an equal footing with ourselves. I am agreeable to that. It will allow Japan to make bi-lateral arrangements with other nations. We should not disagree with that proposal. Japan will also be allowed freely to trade again with the world. We should not disagree with that provision, although it holds dangers, because we cannot allow a nation of 83,000,000 people to starve to death. The natural increase of the population of Japan is 1,000,000 a year, and in ten years it will have a population of 93.000,000 people in the small territory that it occupies. It obviously will have to trade if it is to maintain that population. We agree on that point and on all the other incidentals of the treaty relevant to those three points that I have mentioned.
A part of the terms of the security treaty between the United States of America and Japan reads -
The United States of America, in the interest of peace and security, is willing to maintain certain of its armed forces in and about la pan . . .
So America will have, and, in fact, has had an opportunity to establish and develop fortifications around the perimeter of the Japanese islands. Yet, the Government claims that Japan must be armed to defend itself against any attack by Russia. As I have said, Japan could be wiped out by Russia in one week of atomic warfare. American power is based around Japan, therefore America could provide the armed force necessary to withstand an onslaught by Russia from Manchuria or “red” China; not that we would suspect “ red “ China of having designs on Japan. As the issue of such an attack would depend on American power and not on Japanese power, there is no necessity for the inclusion in tho treaty of a clause to permit Japanese rearmament.
The only matter other than that of rearmament which would evoke much criticism of the terms of the treaty, is in relation to the dangers inherent for Australia in the reindustrialization of Japan. The Government claims that we must forgive and forget the past. That is a Christian principle, and we wish to be Christian in our dealings with others. But repentance must precede forgiveness. What repentance have the Japanese leaders or people shown for their actions ? Have they apologized to the world, or to us? No, they are as arrogant as ever! Until the Japanese are prepared to show real repentance it will be too early for us to welcome them open-handedly into our midst and to forgive them for their barbarous atrocities during the last war. We can afford to wait longer before we ratify this treaty, and we should certainly wait until we see more evidence of the growth of a real democracy in Japan. The Americans bore most of the burden of the war in the Pacific, and so have been the prime movers behind this treaty, but, as the honorable member for Fremantle, (Mr. Beazley) pointed out last night, the United States of America have provided some glaring examples of a political and diplomatic immaturity that I consider to be the result of the long years of American isolationism that ended only in 1941. Americans are still new to the business of conducting world affairs, ‘ and are taking upon their shoulders responsibilities that they are not yet fitted to carry. It would be dangerous for us to follow the United States foreign policy blindly. I appreciate, as well as does anybody here, what we owed to the Americans in war-time, and I have a keen recollection of the relief which’ the Australian people felt when General MacArthur ami American troops arrived here in 1P42. Our opposition to this treaty, however, is not directed against the United States of America, as the honorable member for Wide Bay claimed. He also accused us of being Communists because we do not support the treaty. The fact that such accusations are madeshows that the Government’s case is weak, because always when it has a weak case this anti-Labour Government drags in the subject of communism.
How far has Japan deserved such generous treatment as is to be accorded to it under the treaty? Any apparent changes in the Japanese since the war are a result of a form of dictatorship imposed by General MacArthur. The Japanese did not ask for the reforms that were introduced during General MacArthur’s regime. Having been imposed on the Japanese people by a foreigner, such reforms have no lasting character. The Japanese people in their hearts reject them. In fact, they do not yet realize that they are a defeated nation. The Japanese are .an unpredictable people, as our prisoners of war well know. On the Burma-Thailand railway, prisoners of war were at times bashed for actions which their captors completely ignored at other times. The Japanese are also completely untrustworthy. Their religion is still Shintoism, combined with ancestor worship and militarism. That religion has been ingrained in the Japanese for centuries, and anybody who thinks that it can be expunged in six years should think again. There are only 70,000 Christians among Japan’s poulation of 83,000,000, and they have a very small voice in the affairs of the country.
The obvious intention of the treaty is to develop Japan as a buffer state against Russia. History repeats itself. Our leaders have forgotten that Hitler gained the support of the “Western world on the ground that Germany would be the great buffer against the onslaught of Bolshevism. So the Western world helped Germany to rearm between 1934 and 1936. The Bank of England lent, if not gave, to Hitler £54,000,000 in those early years of his rule. In addition, the Western nations supplied him with raw materials that he would otherwise have been unable to obtain. How ironical it all proved to be. We helped to sharpen the claws of the tiger, and when he started his mad race’ he turned on us. A more amazing fact is that in 1941 the very Bolsheviks to contain whom we helped Hitler to rearm became our allies. Now, in 1952, a. similar position exists in the Pacific. Under this treaty, we shall permit a country that was our enemy, six years ago to rearm, in order, presumably, that it will act as a buffer against Russia. The Government may be sincere in pressing for the ratification of this treaty. The Opposition’s approach to it would be different if events could be foreseen ten years ahead. But we must rely upon guesswork. The risk involved in allowing Japan to rearm in the near future is altogether too dangerous. It might, again, be a case of arming the tiger; and the tiger might come southward instead of going westward. I believe that in order to find additional living room for its population, Japan will not seek to go westward, but will come southward.
The Opposition has pointed out the dangers to Australia of Japanese industrial expansion. The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) emphasized this point. The treaty represents a threat, to Australian industry. I was informed this afternoon by a leading trade unionist that already high class American machine tools are being landed in Australia from Japan and will be sold at prices 40 per cent, below the cost of production of similar tools in this country. Recently, I read in the press a report that towards the end of last year 32 ships were loading 150,000 tons of goods in Japanese ports for export to Australia. That fact indicates the capacity which Japanese industry has already regained. There cannot be the slightest doubt that attempts will be made to flood Australia with Japanese goods of all kinds. In order to meet those attempts, the Government must act resolutely and erect an effective tariff barrier against the importation of any goods that will compete with Australian manufactures.
The Government assumes that the Japanese will reform and will play fair with us and engage in any possible conflict in future as our ally. That is naive thinking. Racially, the Japanese have affinity with the Chinese and the peoples of the eastern Soviets.
– Stalin is an Asiatic.
– That is so. The. Japanese, like all Orientals, are contemptuous of Europeans. For racial reasons, the Japanese will be more likely to ally themselves with Russia and China than with the Western democracies. No doubt, Japan, for a time, will cunningly play off the East against the West; but ultimately it will come down on the side that will best serve its interests. It will exploit its racial affinity with Indo-China, Malaya and Indonesia, and very soon will again propagate the ideal of the co-prosperity sphere. Ratification of this treaty will give to Japan ample opportunities to engage in such activities. On the 1st February, the Launceston Examiner published the following article which it had received from Renter’s correspondent in Tokyo : -
Police in JAPAN are Nucleus of Army.
Japan to-day has a coastguard service of more than 400 vessels, a 75,000-man police reserve organised like an army, and a national rural police force of nearly 50,000 men. While it is claimed that these units perform essential security services, it is also clear that they are or can be the nucleus of a new armament. The coastguard vessels, organised in the National Maritime Safety Board, are unarmed. This year, after ratification of the Japanese Peace Treaty, according to reports not so far contradicted, armed frigates and patrol boats are to be added to the already sizeable fleet.
Former Imperial Navy officers in the fleet are reported openly anticipating return to their former status. The police reserve works with machine-guns and mortars and bazookas. The rural police are lightly armed.
Japan’s post-war constitution forbids rearmament, but her post-war security pact with the U.S. foreshadows Japan’s future ability to look after her own security and relieve America nf the burden of keeping armed forces stationed here. The Maritime Safety Board is claimed to be too small at present for its task. It patrols Japan’s 11,000 miles of coastline, watches for smugglers, attempts to check the passage of spies and saboteurs from the Asian mainland, watches coastal lights and beacons, engages in rescue work.
In a recent twelvemonth the board’s watch led to the capture of 522 persons attempting to enter Japan illegally. The National Police Reserve’s arms are leased from the U.S. With the American effort diverted to Korea, General MacArthur in 1950 diverted arms to Japan to ensure the reserve’s ability to maintain a security watch.
So, already, the Japanese possess the requisite weapons. The article continued -
The smartly uniformed reservists look very much like soldiers, whatever disavowals may be made about their purpose. Twenty-four full colonels of the former Japanese Imperial Army have been accepted into the reserve with US I lower rank former army officers. Japanese have so far been forbidden by the occupation to use radar or fly their own planes.
The Maritime Board wants radar to aid its work. Japan has her own civil airline already.
Only in the air does she lack the nucleus nf an armed force. Ratification of the peace treaty is, however, expected to put Japanese pilots again at the controls of Japanese-run aircraft.
The ground work is being done even before this treaty has been ratified; and its ratification will give a tremendous impetus to Japanese rearmament. I repeat that had the rearmament clausesbeen omitted from the treaty it would probably have been ratified unanimously by all parties in the Parliament. The Opposition realizes that the time has arrived when the war with Japan should be brought formally to a conclusion. However, my colleagues and I have no alternative but to reject this treaty because it will permit Japan to rearm and to rehabilitate its great industrial war potential. I have no doubt that in the immediate future, Japan will receive great assistance from the United States of America. Dollars will be made available to it because the great industrialists, monopolists and speculators in the United States of America see in Japan a rich field for exploitation. Recently, I was informed on good authority that parts of certain equipment that had been made in the United States of America had been exported to Japan to be assembled there and returned to the United States of America. By that means the American interests concerned were enabled to benefit by employing the cheap labour that is available in Japan. Surely, it is not our task to concentrate upon defending a former enemy which, in any event, could, not defend itself unaided. On the contrary, our primary objective should be to raise the standard of living of the Japanese people as a bulwark against the inroads of communism. Women engaged in industry in Japan -receive a wage of £2 7s. a month. Therefore, Japanese industry must always remain a serious threat to not only Australian but also British industry.
The future of the world will be determined not in the West, as it has been in the past, but in the East. We must maintain friendship with the people of the East, even with “ red “ China, which is, or at least could be made, the Yugoslavia of the Pacific. We must be careful not to drive China into the arms of Stalin, but, on the contrary, should seek to drive a wedge between that country and Russia. We must not, because of prejudice, follow a shortsighted policy towards China. Great Britain did the right thing in recognizing the “red” regime in China. If we are wise we shall seek to make of “ red “ China another Yugoslavia. I can see no reason why we should fail to do so. China might continue its adherence to Moscow in a general way, hut, like Yugoslavia, it could refuse to he subservient to Moscow. Mao Tse-tung could become the Tito of Asia. Although no disaster may follow the ratification of this treaty in the immediate future, we must remember that the Japanese have great patience. They will bide their time and will never lose sight of their ultimate objective. They will wait for generations, if need be, to get back on us for Hiroshima.
I admire the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) for his courage in opposing the ratification of this treaty. At the same time, I deplore the action of his colleagues in implying that he was linking himself with the Communists when he dared to stand to his guns. The speech of the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) was the worst that I have heard him make in this House. He displayed no enthusiasm and, indeed, it was obvious that he did not believe half of what he said. Yet, he had the nerve to link with the Communists all honorable members who have expressed opposition to this treaty, including one of his colleagues. I have only contempt for such an attitude. The Government has the necessary numbers to ensure that this treaty shall be ratified. The blood of future generations will be on its head. The Opposition will not vote for the ratification of this treaty. The future will reveal who was right, the Government or the Opposition.
– -Irreconciliable differences of opinion have been expressed in the course of this debate. I was particularly interested to hear the views that were expressed by honorable members who had the misfortune to have been prisoners of the Japanese in World War II. It is noteworthy that those honorable members suppressed the bitterness that they must still feel as a result of their experiences at the hands of the Japanese. The debate has produced two extraordinarily interesting speeches. I refer to those that were made by the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) and the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes). My attitude to this treaty is clear and unequivocal. I say plainly that I am inclined to join those honorable members who are not warmly in favour of it, because T do not consider that its provisions are an adequate safeguard for our future. However, I realize that the present situation demands a realistic approach. A number of realities must be faced. I have misgivings about the treaty, because I believe it to be true to say that General Douglas MacArthur, despite his own views on the subject, has not succeeded in democratizing Japan. Japan may have the veneer of democracy, but I do not think that it lies any deeper than the surface. I have no doubt that in the event of war, Australia will be menaced by Japan if it is not our ally. The proper course is being followed in trying to bring Japan, as safely as we are able to do so, into our camp. Various objections that have been advanced against the treaty on the subject of trade are perfectly valid, but again, the realities of the situation must be faced. The trade threat from Japan must arise one day. We must face that fact, and that is all there is to it.
I now wish to correct a statement that was made by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who said -
However, the Zaibatsu organization which controls Japanese industry has not been broken up. There is a parallel between this situation and the situation of the Farben chemical enterprises in Germany during the Ant world war. Those great chemical industrial plants were looked upon as legitimate targets by our servicemen, and yet by some strange happening, amid all the fire and thunder of the war, they remained serene and untouched.
From my own knowledge of the facts, I do not believe such a statement to be true.
Yet another reality must be faced. If we do not sign the peace treaty within a. reasonably short time, we shall be keeping the Japanese people, to all intents and purposes, in a state of semi-subjugation. A long extension of that period must inevitably produce a strong reaction among the Japanese against us, and re-fan the flames of any hatred that they mayretain against us as a people. T nave little more to acid to the remarks that have been made by previous speakers in this debate. The whole field has been thoroughly covered, and I wish to refrain from indulging in tedious repetition. However, I should like to place on record ray personal opinion about the peace treaty. Frankly, I do not like it. My instinct is strongly opposed to it. But I realize that we must face the realities of the situation. Nothing else matters in the present extremely tense international situation. For that reason, I shall support the ratification of the treaty, although I shall have some misgivings in doing so. We must watch the dangers in future, because they are real, and we must take every step that lies within our power to protect ourselves and other people against them.
– Many varying opinions have been expressed in this debate in justification of, or in opposition to, the proposal for the ratification of the peace treaty with Japan, and Government supporters are in just as big a predicament as are Opposition members about it. The honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Falkinder) stated a few moments ago that he does not like the provisions of the treaty. I do not think that any Government supporter likes them any more than Opposition members like them. In fact, none of us likes this treaty with Japan.
Why are we asked to ratify this treaty ? Honorable members should endeavour to understand the situation, in order that they may vote intelligently upon the bill. The present international situation is similar to the position that continually arises in a parliament. Honorable members ask themselves whether legislation will be in the best interests of the people whom they represent. The Western democracies are now asking themselves a similar question about the peace treaty with Japan. Opposition members, after they had discussed its provisions thoroughly, came to the definite conclusion that we in Australia should not be prepared at this ‘stage to conclude a peace treaty with Japan. The Treaty of Peace (Japan) Bill 1952 contains only a few clauses, and our interest is directed principally to the schedule, in which are incorporated the provisions of the peace treaty. The Labour party contends that this treaty should be in conformity with, the provisions of earlier treaties that were entered into with J Japan by the victorious Allies a few years ago, or alternatively, with the provisions of the surrender agree. ment. Opposition members realize that the international position is vastly different to-day from what it was at the cessation of hostilities with Japan, when the surrender agreement was signed. That the Japanese surrendered to the Allies is unquestionable. They laid down their arms, and- accepted the surrender agreement which was dictated to them by the victors. The peace treaty is a substantial departure from the surrender agreement, and the Labour party considers that the Australian people have been let down by their Government, by virtue of the fact that it advocates the ratification of the treaty.
The treaty will come into force when it has been ratified by a majority of the States that have signed it. During this debate Opposition members have claimed that the United States of America has been able to impose its will upon iti allies in the formulation of the treaty, and such an opinion is borne out when we glance at the names of the countries that, are expected to ratify it. I agree that the United States of America came to our help, and prevented the invasion of this country by the Japanese. I, for one, will never forget our “obligations to the United States of America for the assistance that it rendered to us in World War II. Perhaps, then, we should analyse the .reasons why Americans advocate this treaty lest we criticize them too hastily. I have visited the United States of America in the post-war years, and had an opportunity to speak with some of the leaders of that country. When I make that statement I do not mean the President and members of Congress. I refer to the executives of big business organizations who are really the voice of the American people. We, as a parliament, do not always truly reflect the views and the outlook of the Australian people. We have to move among the leaders of various sections of the community in order to obtain a knowledge of what the people are thinking. I have always prided myself on the fact that I, in my endeavours to understand that outlook, have always tried to keep in close touch with the ordinary people and with their leaders. By so doing, I have gained a knowledge of their outlook and their needs. “When I was in the United States of America, I moved among executives who control hig businesses and industries, and found that many of them had broad ideas for a better condition of affairs in the world. For that reason, I am perhaps in a better position than are most honorable members to interpret the American mind on the peace settlement with Japan.
I should like Government supporters to understand that I do not oppose the ratifiation of this peace treaty without a knowledge of what is in the minds of the ordinary people who form the backbone of the great American nation. Speaking generally, they seek to improve conditions in the world. In such circumstances, we should ask ourselves whether this peace treaty will be a contribution to that objective. I freely admit that I am in a quandary as to whether the action of the United States of America, in advocating this peace treaty, will he justified by future events, or whether the Americans are making a mistake. Last night, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) recalled that the United States of America had changed its foreign policy from time to time. Perhaps such changes were justified by altered circumstances, but even if that were so, the fact remains that the Americans are not omnipotent in their vision of the future in international affairs. I am in a quandary about whether the American support for the rearmament of Japan will be justified by later developments. Like the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) I wonder if the Americans’ decision to rearm Japan will prove to have been another error of judgment on their part. I agree with the statement that, had it not been for the provision for the unlimited rearmament of Japan, the Labour party would most likely have taken a different view of this treaty. But we are not prepared to give our blessing and approval to the proposal for the reamament of Japan.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– The most objectionable feature of the treaty is the provision that will empower Japan to rearm. That small clause in Article 5 may affect the whole course of world events. This is the provision to which the Opposition objects -
The Allied Powers for their part recognize that Japan as a sovereign nation possesses the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence referred to in article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations and that Japan may voluntarily enter into collective security arrangements.
When Japan capitulated in 1945, the Allied Powers laid down terms of surrender that were designed to prevent Japan from threatening democracy again. They decided that it should never be permitted to rearm beyond a certain limit. But this treaty, which has been signed by Mr. Spender on behalf of Australia, includes a provision that will enable Japan to rearm itself as fast as it can do so and establish offensive forces that can he used against Australia.
We know Japan of old. We remember that, at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbour, representatives of Japan were talking of peace and co-operation while their aircraft were launching an assault on American soil. The Opposition believes that Japan has not changed. The Japan of to-day is the Japan of years ago, and we may be threatened again whenever Japan decides that it can profit from another war. I acknowledge that we cannot keep Japan in subjection for ever. For instance, the people of the United States of America would not allow hundreds of thousands of their sons to be stationed continually under arms in Japan. But we assert that Japan should not- be permitted to become strong again. The Government claims that Japan must be permitted to defend itself. I agree that, if the United States of America withdraws its occupation forces, Japan must be allowed to have some means of defending itself. But there must be a limit. Japan should not be given carte blanche to do as it pleases. Although the Labour party is opposed to participating in wars overseas and to interfering with the rights of other nations, we are convinced that the proposal to allow Japan to become a great military power again is dangerous to us and to the rest of the democratic world. I agree with the honorable member for Wilmot that, before a sinner can earn forgiveness, he must repent and prove that he is worthy of forgiveness. The. provisions of the peace treaty that concede to Japan the right to rearm do not flow from the spirit of forgiveness. They arise from the fear of the United States of America, which wishes to have Japan as a counteracting force to the Communist-dominated countries of the east.
The United States of America dreads the advance of Russia and is afraid to leave Japan without a big army lest Communist China or some other country backed by Russia should overwhelm it. I condemn Russia’s conduct in Korea and elsewhere, but that does not destroy my belief that we should not agree to the rearmament of Japan. I realize that the Government cannot proclaim from the housetops every action that it proposes to take in the field of international affairs, but this is a special case. The Government should have consulted the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) at least before it sent Mr. Spender to San Francisco to sign the peace treaty on behalf of Australia. During the war, before Mr. Curtin became Prime Minister, the Menzies Government discussed the conduct of the war effort with the leaders of the Labour Opposition. Representatives of all political parties in this chamber were able to meet regularly in order that we should present a united front. But there were no consultations in relation to the Japanese peace treaty. Even before our plenipotentiary went to the conference at San Francisco last year, everybody knew that the Government of the United States of America had laid down definite conditions under which the representatives of other countries would have no chance to amend the form of the treaty but would be required merely to sign on the dotted line.
– It is not rubbish.
– It is utter rubbish.
– The Minister knows that it is not rubbish, whatever he may say. The Government of the United States of America, let us know before the conference was held that there was to be no dilly-dallying or protracted discussion. We were told that the business had to be transacted within a few days.
– That is what happened. It is easy for the Minister to say “ rubbish “, but I know that he does not like the truth in this instance. This is a one-way Government. We should be united and go forward hand in hand on matters that are of such vital importance to Australia. But the Government has not sought our co-operation. It now asks us merely to sign on the dotted line as its representative did at San Francisco.
I was greatly impressed by the speech that was made earlier in the debate by the honorable member for Angas (Mi1. Downer). That young Government supporter has been lauded for his declaration that he cannot support the peace treaty. But this afternoon, another young exserviceman on the Government side of the House, Mr. Falkinder-
– Order ! The honorable member must not refer to another honorable gentleman by name.
– The honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Falkinder), who has had experience of war and who. therefore, is qualified to speak on this subject, rose and said that he would vote for the ratification of the treaty, but he had to sit down again in less than five minutes because he could not find anything more to say. His failure to justify the ratification of the treaty was the greatest rebuke that the Government has received in this debate. The honorable member for Franklin was chosen by the Government as an under-secretary. It looked upon him as a young man with war experience who would bring great credit upon himself and the Government. But all that he could do to-day, when he rose to speak on this important war matter, was to say a few words and then admit that he could not say any more on the subject. The Opposition does not want Japan to be ground down forever under the heel of an occupation force. We want it to have the opportunity to prove the sincerity of its professions, but we do not want to take the undue risk of allowing it to establish a powerful army.
The Government has adopted an uncompromising attitude on this matter. It refuses to heed the wishes of the Opposition, which cannot approve of the form of the peace treaty. I am greatly concerned about the political and economic provisions in. Article 7 of the treaty, which states -
Each of the Allied Powers, within one year after the present treaty lias come into force between it and Japan, will notify Japan which of its pre-war bi-lateral treaties or conventions with Japan it wishes to continue in force or revive .
We do not know what the Government will do within the next twelve months under the terms of that article. It has had no heart to heart talk with representatives of the Opposition about its plans for the future. It asks us to trust it and to believe that it will do the best for Australia. We cannot trust it. We want to be told what it proposes to do before it acts. Furthermore, the Government cannot truthfully say that the Opposition lacks men with experience of international affairs. No man in Australia has had so much to do with such transactions as has the Leader of the Opposition.
– And what a mess he made of them !
– The Leader of the Opposition has been criticized by some of the Government’s supporters because he championed the little nations. Some of these little nations are bigger than Australia. Although the right honorable gentleman has been condemned on that account, Australia is to-day still fighting for little nations.
We do not want Japan to threaten the world again yet, under the terms of the treaty, it will be empowered to make military alliances with other nations. Who can say now that Japan will not come to an arrangement with Communist China after the treaty has come into force? Japan is an industrial nation, and it is building ships to-day more cheaply than they can be built in other parts of the world. Japan has large steel and other heavy industries, but has very little in the way of raw materials for those industries. In the past, Japan depended on China and Malaya for most of its ores, but since the war ended those sources have been closed to it. I am in favour of making a just peace with Japan, but I consider that that peace must be a wholehearted one. It should be more widely realized that if six nations out of the .eleven nations concerned ratify this .peace treaty, then itwill come into force. The signatures of the remaining seven will have no effect on its validity. I know that Japan must be able to defend itself, but there is a difference between giving to Japan the ability to defend itself and giving to it the ability to wage war whenever it considers that the occasion requires it.
Certain honorable members -on the Government side have said that they are in favour of allowing cheap Japanese goods to be imported into Australia. I am definitely against such a practice because it will mean that our own industries that are producing comparable goods will not be able to compete with the cheap Japanese goods and will have to close down, to the detriment of our people and the nation as a whole. Just before last Christmas, large quantities of cheap Japanese toys were imported, and our own toy making industry felt the impact of the Japanese goods far more than. we should have dreamed of a few months before it occurred. The Opposition maintains that this Government should first protect our own industries and our own people. I am afraid that if this treaty should be ratified it will prove to be not in the best interests of Australia. Honorable members on the Government side have said that they do not really desire to ratify the treaty, but that there is no alternative. I believe that there is an alternative. The alternative is that this Parliament should do what has been suggested by the Opposition. That is, it should not agree to the ratification of the treaty until the war clause has been altered. The Government should confer with the leaders of the Opposition party about this objectionable clause and then say to the other nations, “ We are certainly in favour of peace, but we cannot accept this objectionable clause”.
.- Any peace treaty is of the greatest moment to any country participating in it, and this treaty is of the very greatest importance to Australia. It must be approached in a spirit of great responsibility. Honorable members opposite who have spoken in this debate, including the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson), should at least have acquainted themselves with the facts of the matter bef ore they gave expression to their views in such unrestrained terms. The honorable member for Port Adelaide said that Australia had to sign this treaty on the dotted line. Nothing is further from the truth. There were lengthy consultations between all the governments concerned, and the fact that Australia did not get all that it wanted is surely not very astonishing when it is remembered that ours is only one of the nations involved and indeed is one of the smaller nations.
– What did Australia’ get?
– Australia got reparations of some importance. During the last 150 years there have been many wars and many peace trea ties. When one considers the treaties that have been signed one must admit that most of them were bad treaties. Most of the bad treaties were based on principles which, as I understand the matter, have been put forward to-day by honorable members opposite. Those principles, understandable as they are, spring from two sources : First, the short-sightedness of the ordinary human mind and, secondly, the failure to learn from the teaching of history.
There are powerful arguments for and against this treaty. On the one hand it has been said that it will turn out to be a disaster for the democratic world. On the other hand it has been said that it will turn out’ to be a big step forward by the Allies in their world-wide struggle against Russian communism. The first viewpoint is advanced by people whose minds have been influenced by recent happenings, and the second by those who have some vision of what might take place in the future and who want to do the best that they can for Australia. Our attitude towards the Japanese people has been caused by two things. The first is the fear that we may again become a victim of an aggressive, war-like, efficient Japan which is ten times as strong as we are. Having a vivid memory of how close we were only ten years ago to being overrun by the Japanese, that state of mind is understandable. I know also that our generation is living in a troubled world - a world of wars and economic depressions, atom bombs and intellectual conflicts, lt is only natural that it is the desire of all of us to attain some sort of security, physical and economic. Therefore, I understand the fear that is in our minds.
The second emotion that has influenced us is hatred, not of the Japanese people, but of the Japanese inhumanities and brutalities during the war. I do not need to remind honorable members of the atrocities associated with the construction of the Burma-Thailand Railway, the hardships and murders in the Japanese prisoner of war camps, and the many individual cases of atrocities. But I also remind the House of another part of the world - -Germany. I find it hard to assess which of German and Japanese atrocities were worse. All that I know is that in Japan and Asia our prisoners of war were treated with inhuman brutality, but that that treatment was largely caused by individuals. On the other hand there was mass slaughter of human beings by Germany in Poland and other countries At Ausschlitz 2,500,000 people were killed. We remember the atrocities at Belsen and the massacre of Lidice. When I put all those things in the balance against the Japanese atrocities I find it hard to determine which weighs down the scales. However, I do know that on the other side of the world Germany is being taken back into the comity of nations on an equal footing. Those Western European nations are not akin to children who quarrel and then kiss and make up, they have national hatreds that go back far into the past. Their memories of national wrongs are very long and it is impossible to wipe out the injustices of past years.
What is taking place to-day in Western Europe has been caused by stern necessity. Over Western Europe lies the shadow of the immense power of Soviet Russia. That shadow is spreading over all demo.ratic nations. People in power have realized that there can be no strength in Western Europe unless Germany is strong. They also know that there can be no stability in Europe, either political or economic, unless there is a powerful and stable Germany. For that reason, and for that reason alone, they have taken Germany back into the comity of democratic nations. The same thing should apply in the Pacific. I cannot visualize a stable Eastern Asia or a stable South-Western Pacific without a stable Japan. Surely we must try to work for stability in those areas. I know that the emotions that we feel in this country are the same emotions that have been felt in other nations that have been the subject of aggression during past ages, and I understand it. But emotions are not safe ground on which to build a really stable structure.
In the course of this debate a number of speeches has been made in opposition to this treaty. I want to deal with only two or three of them because that is all that my time will allow me to cover. One of the main points raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) and supported by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) was a legal point, and a point that one might expect from the Leader of the Opposition. His argument was that binding agreements had been signed in the past, in particular the agreement at Potsdam and the decision of the Far Eastern Commission. It is astonishing to discover that the Leader of the Opposition, who has had extensive experience in external affairs and who has borne in the past and bears still a great responsibility, should have forgotten or should have refrained from mentioning that both those agreements when signed and made public were also made the subject of certain conditions. Consider the Potsdam Agreement, which did not affect Australia-
– We were signatories to the Potsdam Agreement.
– That agreement was made between three great powers, as the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) should well know. President Roosevelt specifically said that that agreement was subject to any further negotiation that might take place when the peace treaty was being concluded.
I now turn to something closer to us, the Far Eastern Commission, of which Australia is still a member. When the decisions of that commission were made public our Ambassador to America, Mr. Makin, released a statement to the press for the whole world to read. That statement indicated that decisions made by that commission were subject, and without prejudice, to any negotiations that might take place in respect of the final peace treaty. The Leaders of the Opposition did not see fit to make those facts known to the public or to the House.
In the course of an interesting speech the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) appealed to the emotions and made statements which in my opinion were highly dubious. He spoke of the probable resurgence of the military spirit in Japan. That is his opinion. I point out to him that the resurgence of Japan would be a long process. He was in Japan when I was there and we spoke to many people. A very large section of the Japanese is not now militaristic, and if any resurgence takes place it will not be in the near future. In order to support his argument, the honorable member for Parkes went on to talk about the Zaibatsu. He should know that the Zaibatsu was broken to pieces, not horizontally hut vertically, by the removal of some of its branches of business. The honorable member suggested that the re-emergence of the Zaibatsu would be brought about by big money interests and cited as an example of immunity from attack I. G. Farben Industries in Germany. He said that it was a curious thing that those big industries were not destroyed in World War I. and that obviously they escaped because big industrial interests did not want them to be destroyed. The honorable gentleman should know that the big factories of that group were situated at Cologne and Frankfurt and were 200 miles behind the front line until the closing stages of World War I. Not until then did the Allies have bombers with a sufficient range to reach Cologne or Frankfurt. Only two or three reached Frankfurt and Cologne and there is no sinister inference to be drawn from the fact that neither of those establishments was destroyed. The position of the factories in Japan was very similar and they were not destroyed until the final stage of the war.
The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) gave some interesting facts to the House, but I believe that the inferences that he drew were wrong. Contrary to my point of view and that of many others, he said that the short-term problem which faced us was the early settlement of the matter of rearming Japan. He suggested that if Japan were rearmed it would probably encompass our downfall. The rearmament of a country must necessarily extend over many years. Japan was producing armaments over a period of from 30 to 35 years before the last war and even though Japanese industries worked at full speed for the last ten years with large resources of iron and coal, Japan was even then not entirely satisfied about its strength. Now Japan is bereft of supplies of raw material and plant and of technical personnel. How can Japan occupy a position of great strength in a military sense in the next fifteen or twenty years?
– But Japan will do so.
– Facts are undeniable. Germany cannot raise more than twelve divisions in two years and then only with the help of the United States of America and the supply of heavy armaments from outside, and honorable members will not deny that Germany’s industrial knowledge is better than that of Japan.
The honorable member for Angas referred to the occupation of Japan. He does not trust the Japanese and suggested that the occupation should be continued. Does the honorable member believe that the occupation of Japan for ten years could have any more effect than it has had already? It could not. The occupation of Germany after World War I. had no real effect on the Germans. No nation with old traditions, education, and pronounced characteristics will he changed in less than several generations, if at all, unless it is occupied by a completely new set of people and the children are educated apart from their parents. Russia is an example of the force of my argument. A strong dictatorial power has been in control of Russia for 30 years but, fundamentally, Russia is unchanged. The honorable member for Angas spoke about the posibility of educating the Japanese and of spreading the assimilation of democracy in Japan. Democracy has not made much advance there, but a strong liberal element in the community has been in existence for more than 30 years. The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) spoke about assassinations. That the Japanese assassinated the liberals indicates that they were there in some strength. Their presence is a hopeful sign that democracy will continue to be a factor in Japan.
The honorable member for Parkes recalled that Mr. Speaker had once stated in this House that a peace treaty could be negotiated with the application of common sense and a knowledge of history. Following that line, how have the victorious treated their defeated enemies throughout history ? The middle way invariably has turned out badly. The enemy should be entirely eliminated or completely conciliated. A mixture of the two simply guarantees the continuation of a cause for resentment. History provides many examples of annihilation. When the children of Israel returned to Palestine they put their enemies to fire and the sword. Those days have gone. History provides few examples of complete conciliation, but these have been successful. One example is Britain’s treatment of the Boers at the end of the Boer War. The Boer leaders Botha and Hertzog then became firm friends of the British Empire. I recall the events in Germany after the first world war, when I was in that country. Under the Treaty of Versailles a strong and sensitive nation was completely humiliated. We disbanded their armies, took their arms, and forced them to pay immense amounts by way of reparations. That was all done under the guarantee afforded by a continuous occupation. Partly because of the terms of the reparation settlements, and partly as a result of the humiliations that we inflicted upon them, the Versailles Treaty bit deeply into the souls of the Germans. They nursed, and to some purpose, thoughts of revenge and of the rehabilitation of their nation. Such a reaction in Japan would be a result of the harsh conditions that the Opposition wants to have included in this treaty, and I for one will not agree to their inclusion.
The terms of the proposed treaty are remarkable for their generosity. They are free from any suggestion of attributing collective guilt. They recognize, by implication, that in a non-democratic country the humble individuals who make up the mass of the people cannot be held responsible for the decisions and misdeedsof the small clique of militarists who led them. The treaty is generous in respect of reparations. In fact, America has already disbursed 2,000,000 dollars in order to restore and maintain the Japanese economy. Japan certainly has lost its overseas possessions and. is confined to its home islands, but I cannot see that the terms of the treaty can possibly arouse rancour in that country. I believe it to be a statesmanlike document. Admittedly, Ave have no certainty about the nature of future events, so all we can do is to try to encourage those whom we wish to have as friends, and to discourage those who may wish to be our enemies. The proposals of the Opposition are impractical and wrong. For that reason I support the treaty.
– The honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) sought to chide his colleague, the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), apparently for having suggested that the occupation of Japan should be continued for a further period. The honorable member for Flinders has apparently abandoned the view that he expressed on his return from Japan, which he visited as a member of a parliamentary delegation. That view was that the occupation should be continued for twenty years.
The debate has been lengthy and the pros and cons of the subject have been well argued by speakers on both sides of the House. We are now much better informed on the subject than we were, as a result of the able speeches that students of Asian affairs on both sides have made. I listened with respect and interest to the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes), who spoke strongly in favour of the ratification of the treaty. Later in the debate the honorable member for Angas spoke feelingly and eloquently against his Government’s decision to ratify it. I do not propose to canvass their arguments, but I find extremely interesting the difference in the viewpoints that have been expressed by two honorable members who have had greater experience of the Japanese than, fortunately, most of us have had. Both of them suffered severely at the hands of the Japanese as prisoners of war, and were forced to become acquainted with the characteristics of the Japanese. Yet we have one speaking in favour of the ratification of the treaty and the other speaking vehemently against it. That divergence of opinion shows only that an intimate knowledge of the Japanese does nor, by itself weigh in the argument.
I also have some knowledge of the Japanese. I have met a number of them, though not in the most favorable circumstances. I assume that the Japanese with whom I came in contact were, as members of the Japanese army, drawn from the ranks of the average Japanese. They came presumably from ordinary Japanese homes in town and country, in civil life worked on farms or in factories or shops. They served their Emperor obediently, but willingly, in the army. I found them low in mentality, bestial in conduct, and certainly lacking in the traits and concepts that we normally regard as civilized. I could not regard them as human beings. They were like animals that had been dressed up and drilled in fixed procedures. It ha.5 been claimed that the Japanese have been democratized. Indeed, the Generalissimo made such a claim only eighteen months or two years after hostilities had ceased, as though the waving of some five-star wand had worked a miracle! How the Japanese must have laughed at the gullibility of their conquerors ! How they must be laughing now!
I do not believe that there has been any miraculous change in the nature of the Japanese. I believe that, given the opportunity and, indeed, the encouragement that is proposed to be given to them by this treaty, they will again follow their leaders blindly and fanatically in whatever adventures those leaders dictate. I do not believe that the leaders of the Japanese have undergone any change of heart. In Japanese eyes their crime was that they were defeated. Their only aim will be to wipe out that defeat, restore the prestige of Nippon, reconquer its island empire, and re-establish its leadership in Asian waters. What a golden opportunity they will be given to do so by a treaty that will allow unlimited rearmament! Te believe that the people of a rearmed and resurgent Japan will be on the side of the west against the Communist Asian continent is to be incredibly foolish. Indeed, so far as Australia is concerned, it is a most dangerous thought. Japanese power and armaments will be exercised only in the interests of Japan itself. I believe that sincerely. I also consider that every honorable member must share that belief.
This afternoon the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Bernard Corser) urged the rearmament of Japan so that the Japanese might deal first with the Communists in their own country and then with the Communists in the rest of Asia. Does he, as a representative of a Queensland electorate, really believe, and expect his constituents to believe, that that is the direction in which Japanese arms will turn? Let honorable members look to the record of the Japanese in relation to international treaties and agreements for information on the question of whether they can be trusted. That record was admirably recited last night by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). I do not consider that there is great value in treaties, as such. They may be regarded merely as documents which assess and express only a present intention. History shows that treaties have been of little value when national interests and aspirations have cut across the solemn obligations that they have imposed. The treaty which this Government proposes that we shall ratify is a complete negation of the war-time aims of the Allied powers in the Pacific. It is a negation of the armistice terms, and I oppose its ratification. Look at the people with, whom the Government proposes to join in this treaty, the people in whom the Government puts its trust! When the honorable member from the Australian Country party corner says, “Why bother about this one?” let us remember that honorable members on the Government side have said that they do not believe that this treaty is all that it should be, and have seemed concerned about Japan’s future actions. Yet by supporting the ratification of the treaty they approve of everything that will be done under it. They approve of the rearmament of Japan and of the principle that Japan may use its rearmed power in any direction it chooses.
Japan News, a newspaper that is circulated among the Allied forces in Korea and Japan, in its issue of the 12th February last, printed an item which reads as follows: -
The Japanese Government would take steps tu tce that the purged Communists would remain purged even after the Peace Treaty, State Minister Katsuo Okazaki told the Lower House Budget Committee on Saturday.
First they purged them, and then they de-purged them. This is disclosed in theensuing sentence, which reads -
On Saturday, the Government announced the de-purge of three-time Foreign Minister Hachiro Arita and 137 high-level Army and Navy officers.
Most of the officers were former admirals and generals.
The list included former Military Governor of Korea ex-General Kazushige Ugaki and Emperor Hirohito’s aide-de-camp ex-General Ban Hasunuma
Under this treaty we say to the Japanese that they may rearm. They have anticipated us by saying, “ Some of our best generals have been purged as Communists. We shall de-purge them “. Again, on the loth February, Japan News reported as follows: -
The Government yesterday de-purged former navy Minister Ex-Admiral Zengo Yoshida and 135 other military men and four politicians.
Sixty-eight of the men were former gendarmes.
Two of the de-purged politicians ex- Agriculture Minister Tatsunosuke Yamazaki and exTransportation Minister Maoto Kohiyama are no longer living.
Those are the people who will lead the armies of Japan and will re-establish the naval might of Japan. They are the people whom we may expect to meet in combat in future years.
Another item from Japan News gives some hint of the direction in which the interests of Japan lie. On the 15th February, under the heading, “Investments in SE Asia” the paper printed a statement that was made by a spokesman for the Economic Stabilization Board. According to the report he said -
Japan will give all aid it can to her business men tohelp develop her resources in South-East Asia.
The report continued -
Japan would be able to underwrite $91,250,000 over a period of five years for Japanese firms to invest in the development of mining, lumber, salt and other industries in the countries of South-East Asia.
India: For developing iron ore resources, it would require about $16,600,000 which would from the third year produce sufficient iron ore for Japan to import 1,500,000 tons a year.
Indonesia: An investment of $60,000,000 over a five-year period would be needed to develop coal resources and Japan will import 1,000,000 tons of it during the first and second years and 200,000 tons after the third.
A $2,660,000 investment in two years would he required for developing Indonesia’s lumber resources that will allow Japan to import about 720,000 cubic feet yearly from the second year.
The Philippines: For copper ore production, an investment of $416,000 would allow Japan to import 1,000 tons in the initial year and 2,000 tons thereafter.
Development of iron ore deposits in the Philippines will need about $1,000,000 for an importation of 620,000 tons in the first year and 1,000,000 tons from the second year.
And we are still merely talking about bauxite.
Malaya: Japan will be able to allot $5,830,000 to three iron mines over a period of from two to four years to produce 100,000 tons in the first year, 600,000 tons in the second and 1,200,000 tons in the third.
Japanese investments for developing bauxite miningis expected to reach $1,160,000 for producing 200,000 tons in the first year, 400,000 tons in the second and 500,000 from the third.
Thailand: An investment of $1,660,000 in four years will be needed to boost salt production to allow Japan to import 30,000 tons in the first year, 100,000 tons in the third and 150,000 tons after the fourth year.
Indo-China: A $5,550,000 investment in salt production over a four-year period will allow Japan to import 120,000 tons in the initial year, 240,000 tons in the second, 360,000 tons in the third and 500,000 tons from the fourth year.
Those figures show the direction in which Japan’s interests lie and in which its armed forces, if necessary, will be used. The following items relating to proposed trade talks in which the Japanese Government will participate appeared in Japan News of the 14th February : -
Japan is expected to press for the following imports; 300,000 to 500,000 tons of wheat from Australia:
I wonder whether that fact accounts for the interest displayed by members of the Australian Country party. Has the prospective re-entry of Japan into our waning wool market influenced the speeches which members of the Australian Country party have made in the course of this debate? The item continued - 800,000 tons of salt from India and the Mediterranean area, including Aden; 200,000 tons of rice from Burma. 900,000 tons of iron ore, and 1,000,000 tons of coking coal.
I shall now quote from an American source, the journal Time, of the 10th December last, which was the 10th anniversary of the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbour. Incidentally, this article opens with a few lines that were written by Emperor Hirohito after the fall of Japan. The honorable member for Bowman (Mr. McColm) quoted them in his speech. They are worth repeating. The Emperor said -
Man should be like the manly pine
That does not change its color
Though bearing the fallen snow.
The article went on -
Pearl Harbour Day, 1951, finds Japan a rising sun once more, and the snow on the manly pine melting fast. The most dynamic, aggressive and industrialized people in Asia are again preparing themselves for the responsibilities and delights of sovereignty. Already the scene is changing. Trim, alert members of the National Police Reserve (nucleus of the army Japan must inevitably raise to defend herself) train with U.S. carbines, mortars, bazookas and light machine guns. The old zaibatsu (financial cliques) are reviving under new names. Recently a dozen offspring of the old Mitsubishi Commercial Co. combined into four large firms.
Are these only the normal manifestations of a vigorous people coming once more into their own? Japan’s approaching independence portends an all-important shift in the balance of power in Asia.
For the present and for the foreseeable future. Japan is solidly encamped with the free world. But she is going to stay in that camp on her own terms.
As that statement has been published in an American journal of the standard of Time, it should carry considerable weight.
I believe that the occupation of Japan by Allied forces should be continued.
– The honorable member means by the “ Yanks “.
– No ; I mean Allied forces. I doubt whether the cost of maintaining troops in Japan would be as great as that now being incurred in respect of the national service training scheme in Australia. I distrust the Japanese and hope that the people of Australia will not be fooled by their present smug, “so-sorry” attitude. I say to the Government, “Sign this treaty, if yon must “ - I do not doubt that the Government will use its numbers in this chamber to ensure that the treaty shall be ratified - but I add, “ For goodness sake, do not he deluded and do not delude the people of Australia into believing that the Japanese have changed, and that now they are all sweetness and light and are the friends of the “Western democracies “.
-. - No honorable member has made that suggestion.
– Supporters of the Government have made that suggestion very strongly in this debate. I do not believe it to be true, and I hope that the people of Australia will not be fooled into such a belief. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and that vigilance can best be exercised ,by continued surveillance and supervision and restriction of Japanese armaments.
– I pay tribute to those honorable members, particularly some supporters of the Government, who have made singularly valuable contributions to this debate. 1 refer to the moving speech of the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes), the challenging speech of the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), the very fine utterance of the honorable member for Bowman (Mr. McColm) and the extremely interesting historic exposition that the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) delivered in his characteristically clear and lucid style, but which, I am afraid, did not greatly clarify the issues now before the House. Unlike the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr. J. E. Fraser), I shall not attribute motives to any honorable member for the attitude that he may adopt in this debate. I prefer to assume that the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) and his followers are observing the timehonoured tradition of the Opposition in all British Parliaments of voicing the opinions of those who do not see eye to eye with the government, of the day. That is the privilege and prerogative of members of an Opposition.
I echo the view that the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) voiced when he said that it would be a splendid thing if we could go forward shoulder to shoulder in matters of foreign policy. I hope that as a result of this debate the Opposition will recognize that the Government is taking a wise course and, indeed, the only wise course that i3 open to it in existing circumstances. Even if, as the Minister for External Affair3 (Mr. Casey) has said, this treaty is not necessarily perfect from our point of view, nevertheless it gives to Australia a good deal more than we could have hoped to obtain in the dark days when the Japanese fleet was only 450 miles from the city of Townsville. If at that time we had been asked to accept a treaty to which the United States of America was a major party any one who said some of the things that have been said in the course of this debate would have been hounded out of the country. So quickly are things forgotten !
In the nature of things, this treaty cannot be discussed in vacuo. We cannot dissociate it from world events and the hard facts that now confront all nations. It seems extraordinary to some people, particularly those who have not studied history, that enemies to-day findthemselves allies to-morrow. Unfortunately, that too often happens after international conflicts ; and, to-day, the world is compelled to follow a similar course. Honorable members opposite have said in very scathing terms that Japan is a backward nation. The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory did not rate very highly the intelligence of the Japanese. That is a curious commentary in the light of what the Japanese have done in the international sphere. The fact is that the Japanese have given evidence of exceptional capacity. In less than three-quarters of a century, Japan threw off its old feudal system; it broke the bands that held it to the past and with amazing diligence it emerged as a modern mechanized nation which, not so very long ago, shook the world. I marvel at the curious obtuseness of honorable members opposite who argue that Japan by reason of its backwardness and brutality must be barred from the society of nations. Those honorable members forget what has happened recently on the other side of the world. We have never seen anything gence emerged as a modern mechanized worse in the form of genocide than that which Germany practised under Hitler, or brutality and cruelty greater that that which the German panzer columns perpetrated when they drove through hapless cities in France and scattered death round them. Honorable members should realize that France, which suffered so bitterly at the hands of the Germans, is now making an arrangement with Germany, perhaps in the belief that Germany has learnt its lesson, or, at least, that what remains of that great power, is a less undesirable partner than Russia, the invader standing on the frontier of what is left of Europe. It is extraordinary -that honorable members opposite should so vividly recall Japanese brutality and deny that Japan Iia.? progressed and, at the same time, forget that Russia, which some of them so ofter speak about so admiringly, has not, in fact, emerged from serfdom. On the contrary, there is every indication that the Czars never perpetrated brutality so cruel as that which is now being perpetrated under the present dictatorship in Russia.
We must face the facts. We must remember that we are now considering noi only a treaty of peace with Japan, about the terms of which, incidentally, a great deal has not been said in the course of this debate. We are considering also other matters of infinite importance to Australia - the Pacific pact, the pact between the United States of America and the Philippines and the separate pact between the United States of America and Japan. We must remember that the United States of America as a major partner, with its tremendous resources, has once again shown its interest and regard for Australia by giving to us its unequivocal assurance that if we should be attacked it will be our ally. It has thrown a barrier between Australia and Japan in the form of the United StatesPhilippines pact, which is just as bind- ing. Therefore, we cannot discuss this subject in vacuo. We have to regard it in the light of actual conditions in the world, and of those extraordinarily fine arrangements into which we have entered with the United States of America. I deeply regret that statements have been made in the heat of discussion that reflect upon the nation which has poured out astronomical millions of dollars in an endeavour to organize throughout the world a balance of power and of strength against the great set-up that Russia has been able to establish, and is steadily extending by pushing its satellites into trouble in a southward drive.
Having referred to the balance of power, I should like to read to the House what that expression meant in British history, because it should not be forgotten in this debate. David Hulme wrote in 1776 -
In short the maxim of preserving the balance of power is founded so much on common sense and obvious reasoning that it is impossible it could altogether have escaped the notice of antiquity.
I direct the attention of the House to the words “ common sense and obvious reasoning”. The author then proceeded to enlarge his essay on that subject. The following memorable words, which were written ISO years ago, are worth recalling to-day : -
In the three last of these general wars Britain has stood foremost in the glorious struggle and she still maintains her station as guardian of the general liberties of Europe and patron of mankind.
We should do well to remember, as we discuss the Japanese peace treaty, that this great and powerful nation, which has brought itself almost to the state of bankruptcy, won that true tribute from a great thinker 180 years ago. It is the nation which was the world’s last citadel of freedom in the battle fought by mankind in the last war to retain that freedom. For centuries the policy of Great Britain has been to preserve the balance of power, and to recognize the inescapable fact that no man and no nation, when given overwhelming power, can be trusted not to misuse it. When we examine the balance of power in the world to-day. we find that Great Britain has been driven by the inescapable facts to join the United States of America and other countries in signing this peace treaty. It is obvious to those persons who study world affairs that the first hope and intention of Great Britain in applying the policy of preserving the balance of power, which it understands better than does any other nation, hoped against hope that it would be able to wean Communist China into a state of neutrality and, to that degree, away from Russian influence. The fact that the Government of Great Britain recognized Communist China Was, in itself, an indication of the trend of policy, but the facts were too strong for it. When the position was no longer tenable, Great Britain turned to the obvious thing, which was that Japan, bound by treaty, must be trusted to parry out its share of the contract against the overwhelming danger of a great mass of power in Europe, and Asia. In the same way, the French and Belgians, who have no reason to love Germany, are prepared to enter into certain arrangements with Western Germany, and, under certain conditions, probably with Eastern Germany.
When we examine the names of the nations that have signed the peace treaty with Japan, we find an interesting and important fact in the theory of the balance of power. No fewer than 49 nations are named in the treaty. I do not mean to suggest, nor do I believe, that all those nations would be capable of making much of a contribution of a military kind in a world struggle ; but they at least can be friendly neutrals, and give from their resources free access to materials, and perhaps the manpower required to produce them. I find in the list of those nations the embodiment of the principle of the balance of power. They have set their seal to the fact that they stand behind the policy represented by the might of the United States of America, Great Britain and its dominions. As I recall the past, and think of the League of Nations, which has been described as the light that failed, I believe that the United Nations will succeed, because it has sufficient strength to enforce its purposes and intentions. It will succeed through strength, whereas the League of Nations failed through weakness.
I do not believe that in the world as it is to-day, or as it is likely to be for centuries to come, we can ignore the practical facts of life. That statement does not mean that we should abandon the eternal hope that the common sense and humanity of mankind will finally turn to police action as a whole, just as we have turned to police action in our own community. But we have to face the position as it is, and, in doing so, this Government, which I support, has said, in. effect, “ In the circumstances this is a good treaty, and we shall stand behind, it “.
What does the Labour party say about the treaty? I recall that I asked my first question in public life during a general election campaign some 33 years ago. A speaker was addressing himself, strangely enough, to the subject of foreign affairs. He was a supporter of the Labour party in the Queensland Parliament, and later became a judge. After he had completed his speech, I said, “ Sir, I understand that your party believes in a white Australia “. He replied, “ Yes “. I then said, “ Sir, I understand that you are opposed to compulsory military training “. He again replied in the affirmative and I asked, “Well, how do you propose to stop the Japanese, should they ever decide to invade Australia ? “ His reply was, “ Legislate against them “. I was reminded of that incident when the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) was making his second-reading speech on the bill, and I visualized him standing at Sydney Heads, with a bundle of bills in his hand, and saying, “Legislate against this invader “. That statement may be a little harsh on the right honorable gentleman, but the fact remains that there is a complete lack of reality in his opposition to this bill.
I admit that we on this side of the chamber have not a monopoly in respect of men who have served in the forces. I know that nearly every Government supporter who has spoken in this debate has had cruel experiences of the Japanese. Yet those men, who suffered as I did not suffer, because I was a civilian, are prepared to say, “We have little cause to love the Japanese; on the contrary, we have cause to hate them with a profound and enduring hatred. But we believe that we should rise above that feeling, and give to them a chance to come back into the comity of nations. We should give to them, under reasonable safeguards, an opportunity to develop and, if necessary, to play their part in preserving their own security”. To that attitude the Opposition has replied, “ But the Japanese may turn against us “. Well, I admit that there is a risk: but a neutral Japan on the frontier of Russia would immobilize great forces. Russia, if it were to attack Japan, would have a doughty opponent on its hands. So, on the balance, it appears to be wise to take a chance. Safeguards have been provided in the treaty to the point beyond which we cannot go if we arc to re-establish the Japanese nation.
Finally, there arc certain, facts that must be faced. In 1937, if my memory serves mc correctly, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mi1. Neville Chamberlain, informed the Lyons Government that Great Britain, in the event of war, would no longer be able to take immediate action to safeguard its Dominions. That is to say, he threw on to the Dominions the responsibility for taking a greater part in their own defences. The Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Lyons, immediately raised that matter with the British Government, and Australia was considerably rattled by the fact that we might have to stand alone in a war. But it was the leader of the Labour party, Mr. John Curtin, who said, “ Without pangs or inhibitions, I appeal to the United States of America in this hour of danger “, of which he and his Government had greater knowledge than anybody else had. That appeal is a strange contradiction of, and is in contradistinction to, the speeches of Opposition members in this debate, who query the good faith of the nation that accepted the responsibility for the major part of Australia’s defence in the last war, and is pouring out astronomical sums of money in an endeavour to preserve and strengthen the balance of power for sanity, freedom and decency in the world to-day.
.- I oppose the bill. I am astonished, after having listened for days to this debate, to discover that the Government is apparently sincere when it asks the Parliament to ratify the peace treaty with Japan. I emphasize that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), in his second-reading speech, apologized to the House for this bill, and told us that the treaty fell far short of his wishes. SomeGovernment supporters have expressed genuine misgivings about the efficacy of the treaty. One member of the Liberal party objects so strongly to it that he intends to vote against the bill. Another prominent member of that party is reported in the press as having said that he is strongly opposed to the treaty. Therefore one wonders why and how the Government decided that this treaty would be acceptable to the people of Australia. My astonishment continues to grow as the debate progresses. I direct the attention of the House to a statement on the Japanese peace treaty that the Minister for External Affairs made on the 12th July of last year. He then said -
It is our belief, after carefully weighing all considerations, that to permit the Japanese people to recover their self-respect, and some measure of economic independence, offers the best means of promoting the growth of a workable democracy in Japan.
That sounded fine and sincere, but he continued -
We are under no illusions that democracy has as yet taken firm root there. The seed has been sown, but its growth will have to be carefully watched if it is to resist the inroads of Communism on the one hand or old-style Japanese militarism on the oilier.
That is the problem that the Minister posed for himself, and apparently he has finally solved it by deciding that staunch support of old-style Japanese militarism will prevent communism from making inroads in Japan and will protect the interests of Australia. I shall endeavour to prove later that the treaty will not achieve the objective that the Minister so optimistically envisages. He went on to say -
This brings me to the security clauses of the draft treaty, which have been a matter of considerable anxiety to Australia. It will be seen that the relevant chapter, while containing an undertaking by Japan to refrain in its international relations from the threat or uae o’f force, does not contain any precise limitation on Japanese rearmament. In my statement in Parliament on 21st June I went at some length into the related questions of security against Japan and the security of la, ian itself, and indicated the dilemma that we in Australia are faced with. Our first preoccupation must bc the security of Australia,
Mid thu memory of the last war is too clear to us to ignore the possibility of a revival of Japanese aggression, if not in the near future, at any rate within the coining generation.
In view of the seriousness of the misgivings that must have prompted him to make that statement, one might reasonably have expected that he and his staff would fight to secure a treaty that would be satisfactory to the people of Australia and would guarantee our security for a generation or two. But the Minister and those who work with him apparently showed little fight.
The treaty may he satisfactory to the United States of America, and to the United Kingdom, France and Italy, but Australia is faced with a problem that does not confront those nations. That problem is to find the best means of maintaining the security of Australia against Japanese aggression. There is little prospect that a rearmed Japan, imbued with the old militaristic ideals and controlled by its former imperialist leaders, will attack the United States of America, Great Britain, France or Italy. But there is always a distinct possibility that a rehabilitated Japan will cast its eyes southward and attack Australia. Of the nations that I have mentioned, Australia is the weakest from the standpoint of population and ability to maintain strong defences. It will always be vulnerable while there is a militaristic Japan. Australia’s representatives at the San Francisco conference apparently did not take that fact into consideration. The Government did not seek consultations with the Opposition before it decided that Australia should ratify the treaty. Many of its supporters have complained that the Opposition has not submitted proposals for the improvement of the treaty, but I remind them that we were not given an opportunity to do so.
Had the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) been called into consultation, he could have made many sound suggestions for the amendment of the treaty, and also could have put a little backbone into our negotiators, who noticeably lacked stiffening. When I compare the. actions of our representatives at the recent San Francisco peace conference with the actions of our representatives at the peace conference of 1919, I am forced to conclude that we were represented at San Francisco by the most anaemic set of negotiators that has ever acted on behalf of Australia. I remind the House that Japan was represented as one of the victorious Allied nations at the 1919 conference, at which the present right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes) appeared on behalf of Australia as its Prime Minister. The Japanese then insisted on racial equality and made many demands, including the demand that they be permitted a colonize the islands adjacent .to New Guinea. Our representative, in the face of strong opposition from a majority of the delegates at the conference, fought on behalf of Australia and succeeded in having that claim rejected. Had we had the benefit of similar strong representation at the San Francisco conference last year, I venture to suggest that the peace treaty would have been drafted in terms altogether different from those that we are now asked to ratify.
The treaty is merely an American arrangement with Japan. It has been drafted in order to conform to the wishes of the United States Foreign Office. Mr. John Foster Dulles was given the task of visiting various Allied nations in order to submit the draft treaty to their governments. It appears to me, and I ‘have heard of no evidence to the contrary, that Mr. Dulles merely handed the draft treaty to Australia’s Minister for External Affairs and said, in effect, “That is the form of the treaty. I shall invite you to visit the. United States of America in September so that you may sign it “. Our delegates were duly invited to attend the peace conference and they made no attempt whatever to alter any of the main provisions of the treaty. One Australian representative certainly made a somewhat startling speech that was reported under large headlines in the Australian newspapers, but it did not include any appeal for an improvement of the terms of the treaty in the interests of Australia. It merely consisted of an attack upon Russia’s attitude to the treaty. I do not criticize him for having made that attack, but the important fact is that he neglected his most important duty, which was to try to protect Australia.
– Has the honorable member noticed-
– I have noticed the honorable member blindly following his leader.
– Order !
– I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I should not offend if disorderly interjections did not distract me.
Although the Minister for External Affairs is not entirely satisfied with the treaty and has definitely expressed misgivings, and although the Opposition ha, expressed even graver misgivings, the honorable member for Evans (Mr. Osborne), in his abysmal innocence, staunchly supports every article of the treaty. He is even out of step with the Minister. I suggest that, if the honorable gentleman would go away and arrange for somebody who understands the articles of the treaty to explain them to him, he would change his mind as the Minister for External Affairs has done. The fact remains that this is an American treaty with Japan and that Australia has been dragged in at the heels of the United States of America to sign it. I strongly object to having my mind made up for me by the representatives of another nation. That sort of thing may suit some of the rather stupid hack-benchers on the Government side of the House who, like the slaves they are, are content to ratify the treaty because they have been told that they must do so, but honorable members who have minds and wills of their own hold views that are entirely different from those of the honorable member for Evan.-; and other satellites of the Government. We should examine the treaty with the greatest care from an Australian standpoint. It is all very well for the Minister to excuse his acceptance of the treaty by saying, “We have concluded a security pact, with the United States of America, and therefore we are obliged to ratify the peace treaty If Japan is to rearm, it is very fortunate for us that we have concluded a pact with the United States of America !
The honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) referred earlier to-night to the appeal for assistance that was made to the United States of America by the late John Curtin in 1942. I warn the Government that, if Japan is permitted to rearm, we shall be obliged again before, many years have passed to go on our knees to appeal to the United States of America for support against Japanese aggression. John Curtin was a much greater man Chan is any honorable member on the Government side of the House. Of course, the Government and its supporters are capable of changing their minds overnight, and no. doubt they will have no qualms about begging for American aid when we are again threatened.
I do not demand a harsh peace against the Japanese. I do not ask that they be ground down for generations. I make no appeal to sentimentality, because I have heard too many appeals to the sentiment rather than to the common sense of the people during this debate. But I object with all the force at my command against the terms of this soft treaty. As John Foster Dulles said a few weeks ago, the treaty provides for the rearmament of Japan, and, furthermore, the United States of America expects Japan to rearm. It wants to have a rearmed and militaristic Japan that will combat communism within its own borders and throughout East Asia. It has been said that because of Communist China and Russia a strong Japanese army, navy and air force will act as our first line of defence against Communist aggression and will prevent the spread of communism throughout Japan. I submit that the rearmament of Japan will not prevent the spread of communism in Japan or throughout Asia. Communism in Japan is a greater danger to Australia, as well as to the Japanese, than is the spread of communism in Asia.
Communism is not being spread throughout the world entirely by force of arms; it is being spread in a great part of the world in spite of the force of arms. Australia is expending hundreds of millions of pounds in war preparations to counter the alleged threat of communism. America, England, France and Germany also are expending enormous sums on. war preparations to counter the alleged threat of communism.
Meanwhile the people of their countries are suffering shortages of some of the necessaries of life. We in Australia are experiencing some of that sort of trouble at present. People are being thrown out of employment in certain industries in order that they may be employed in essential war industries. Therefore; some necessary forms of production are being liquidated. That is the policy of this Government as well as of the governments of a number of the Allied nations. That is the policy that is being proposed for Japan. Preparation for war in Japan will not stop the march of communism. Great war preparations cause discontent and shortages among the people, and so assist the spread of communism.
While we are expending large sums on munitions of war the Communists are continuing their so-called cold war and are disseminating their propaganda throughout the world. While they are gaining adherents to their ideas this Government’s only counter attack takes the form, of training more soldiers and producing more munitions. The Government has indicated that it will prepare for a shooting war while the Communists proceed to win the cold war.
Government supporters interjecting,
– If some of those loudmouthed people with empty heads on the Government side-
– Order ! The honorable member will withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it. I point out that we must develop a Japan that will be able to defeat communism both inside Japan and throughout Asia. The various articles of this treaty will prevent that objective from being achieved. There are about 80,000,000 people in Japan, and the population is increasing at a rapid rate. As the papulation increases it will be found that the Japanese will overflow their own islands but will have nowhere outside their islands in which to live. The main islfinds of Japan are hopelessly overcrowded, yet in order to prevent the spread of communism the peace treaty proposes that the whole of the Japanese territories outside the main islands shall be confiscated.
– Does the honorable member object to that?
– Yes, because I’ am prepared to give to the Japanese some place in which to live.
– Whose territory would the honorable member give to them?
– If they cannot live in their own islands they will have to live somewhere else. There are many vacant spaces in Australia, and in the islands north of Australia, and I do not want the Japanese to settle in them. I want them to spread from their main islands to territories adjacent to them where they will do us no harm. We must improve the living conditions of the Japanese workers if we want to stop the spread of communism. The Japanese must be made a race of contented workers, and if we take their territories from them and confine them to their four overcrowded islands their living conditions will continue to decline until they burst forth once more. Are we going to kill the Japanese off or give to them a place in which to live?
– Let the Russians make such provision.
– The poor country storekeeper has something more to say.
-Order ! The honorable member will not make personal references to other honorable members.
– Very well, but I shall say that some of the Country party hillbillies
– The honorable member will withdraw that remark. If he makes any further personal references I shall order him to resume his seat.
– Very well. Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the remark. Honorable members on the Government side are not prepared to face facts, but this treaty forces us to do so. The most important thing that we have to consider to-day is the effect that the treaty will have on Australia, not only in the immediate future, but also in the distant future. Whilst it may be a good treaty for America, or for other Allied nations, it will be very dangerous to the people of
Australia because we stall have uo protection against a resurgent Japan. We have included in the treaty Articles that will imbue the Japanese with a desire to become militarily powerful and this in turn will enable them to become aggressive enough to take the territory that they require for their overcrowded population. If they were not compelled to rearm they would be able to provide the necessaries of life for a race of people that has always lived at a low standard. If that standard is to be made still lower, they will cast envious eyes towards Australia and the territory to our near north, and sooner or later we shall have to face the same dangers that we faced in 1941.
There is no provision in the treaty which will give to Australian citizens any confidence in the future. I am a peaceloving citizen, and despite the advocacy of a warlike policy that I have heard in this House on many occasions, I believe that the majority of the people of this country are peace-loving citizens and desire to live at peace with all the world. As a national parliament we should ensure that this treaty shall guarantee peace to the people of Australia for generations to come. However, the only hope of security that we have was expressed by the Minister for External Affairs when he introduced the bill. That is the security pact between the United States, New Zealand and Australia. The pact provides that if one country is attacked the other two shall go to its assistance. It is not a very powerful instrument with which to ensure security for Australia, because we must be attacked before we can get assistance from the other nations, and in the not-far-distant future we may be involved in a more devastating war than was the last. Moreover, any nation will be able to withdraw from the Pacific pact provided it gives twelve months’ notice of its intention to do so. Therefore, the pact will not represent a solid guarantee of the safety of Australia.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– There are three curious features of the arguments that have been advanced by the opponents of this bill. The first is the curious nature of the assumptions that they have made. The second is the curious nature of the mis-statements of fact that they have made, and their omission of significant facts. The third curious feature is the peculiar pro-Soviet pattern into which their arguments have fallen. Speaking of the third proposition first : I do not believe that all honorable members who have spoken against this bill really know that they are acting in the interests of Soviet Russia. I know that they have been misled in some respects, and I intend to say something about the leader and the led. In doing so, I hope to make clear some of their curious omissions and so-called facts.
A curious assumption that they have made is that there is any long-term interest for a nation which does not survive. The honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Freeth) said that we would in no circumstances countenance extermination. However, that does not prove that extermination will not be practised against us. More than 2,000 years ago in Carthage, to which he referred, there might have been long-term counsellors who said, “ Look at the long-term trade position. Look at the past glories of our arms. Look at this and that “. But that was all nonsense in the face of the murmur from across .the Mediterranean - delenda est Carthago - Carthage must be destroyed. We must remember that genocide, as such, is a settled feature of Soviet policy. So far that policy has been mitigated by the fact that the Soviet in its progress to what it believes to be world domination has needed the heavy labour of the countries that it has overrun, and did not want its policy to be too clearly known in the countries which it hoped to overrun. But any one who has studied closely the Marxist texts and who knows the truth of Stalinist policy will realize quite clearly that if by any chance the Soviet should ever achieve world domination, whether by peaceful penetration or after a war the result will be the same. We shall be on the receiving end of the application of a genocide policy, a sobering thought which may not have occurred to the less responsible honorable members of this House.
– We shall still have the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth).
– I imagine that under such a genocide policy, I would not survive for long and even anybody who lias Communist inclinations should not fancy that he would survive either. One of the dominant features of this policy is that among the first people to be liquidated are the professed friends of’ the Soviet. We and the rest of the free world face this threat of total extermination. No long-term policy makes sense for those who do not survive and our first concern is with survival. Those who have advanced a view based on another assumption are suffering from the failure of having learned too little, and, as a poet has written, too little learning is sometimes dangerous. The situation that we now face is one which no white race has had to face in the last 2,000 years and anybody who tries to read it in the terms of subsequent history will misread it. Our first business is to survive, so let us sweep aside this naive nonsense that the Soviet threat is only transitory and that there are longterm plans beyond it. Unless we overcome the Soviet threat, no long-term considerations will lie before us either os a nation or as individuals, or for our children.
– What a grim prospect.
– As the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) rightly has said, it is a grim prospect. There is no safety. We can tread only the path of least danger. Every path has dangers and if we waste our time in trying to find an illusory path which will offer complete safety we shall be destroyed. In a contest, an enemy is likely to try to develop a feint and to pretend that that feint is the main blow. That is what is happening now. A feint which contains a threat is being developed to conceal the main blow and those who exaggerate that feint and its significance, whether they know it or not, are, in point of fact, playing the enemy’s game.
Having said that about assumptions that must underlie any argument against the treaty I shall go nearer to the actual facts which lie before the House. Everybody will remember that, on the 5th August, 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. Four days later, on the 9th August, Russia declared war on Japan and five days after that, on the 14th August, Japan surrendered. Russia’s activities in the war against Japan were merely token activities. From that point Russia manoeuvred very cleverly in order to get a part in the administration of Japan. In December, 1945, at the Moscow Conference it achieved its aim. Russia was able to arrange for the constitution of the Far Eastern Commission on which it had the power of veto and it was also permitted to play a part in the Allied government of Japan. Although the published documents are conveniently vague, there can be no doubt that the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) played a considerable part behind the scenes in the furtherance of Russia’s designs and the pay-off was a little sop to his personal vanity. When the Allied government was set up in Japan, to our shame be it said that not once, but on numerous occasions, the Australian representative, who was no doubt carrying out the instructions of his department, sided with Soviet Russia against the United States and sometimes against Great Britain. But the position was that, just as the United Nations organization is unworkable because criminal Russia sits on the judge’s bench, so the Far Eastern Commission and the Allied government in Japan itself were unworkable because inside their fabric was the nation which was trying to destroy their purpose.
What was the Soviet plan? Let ms diverge here to remind honorable members of what the Soviet plan had been at an earlier time against Germany because I believe that the plan that was thought out in regard to Japan followed the pattern in Germany after World War I. In stating that the rearming of Germany was due to American financiers, honorable members opposite are repeating the false theories that have been put into their minds by Marxist propaganda. The rearming of Germany was carried out with the assistance and under the direction of Soviet Russia. During that time the German Communist party was declaiming most loudly against the Treaty of Versailles. There are many things, to prove that. I quote an extract from the manifesto of the Central Committee of the Communist party in Germany which was published in October, 1932-
The chains of Versailles weigh more and more heavily on the limbs of the German working-class masses, and increase the exploitation and robbery of the masses. A socialist Germany will tear up the shameful Treaty of Versailles. Only a socialist Germany in alliance with the freed millions of the Soviet Union would be in a position to ward off successfully any and every attack on the part of Trance, Poland and other imperialists Workers in town and country, you must therefore strengthen our revolutionary army of freedom in its struggle against the Versailles Treaty. Only the coming socialist Germany will give the oppressed German population in Austria, Alsace-Lorraine, South Tyrol, &c, the possibility of attaching itself to Germany.
The Communist party was the prelude to Hitler in Germany. Honorable members should not accept any statement to the contrary. The development of the Russian policy there was simply this: The Allies had a legal framework of control over German armaments. Russia’s idea was to pose as the salvation of the resurgent Germany and to get the German masses on its side. It very nearly succeeded in doing so when it consented to the shameful pact of 1939 with Hitler. Only the fact that Hitler turned on his ally before he was strong enough saved the world from going down. Whether it would have fallen to Germany or to Russia is a question which history will never be called upon now to decide. The Russian-German policy was to support a system of control which could not be maintained and to use the German Communist party to protest against it.
In Japan, Russia plans to repeat that performance. It wants to get Japan for an ally by using people such as some of the honorable members who have spoken in this House to exacerbate Japanese feeling and to provide talking points so that the Japanese people will say, “ These people are your permanent enemies. You must side with us “. The Russians are using the position, as they did in Germany, in an endeavour to drive a wedge between the Allies. The Communists are always clever at using for their purposes the instruments that come to their hands. They are trying to drive a wedge between the United States of America and the British Empire, and sometimes those who are most pro-British and most loyal fall for the Soviet line. The world cannot survive against Soviet Russia if a wedge is driven between the British Empire and the United States of America.
Russia’s other objective is to get into Japan. I have pointed out how, largely as a result of the policy that was sponsored by the Leader of the Opposition when he was Australia’s Minister for External Affairs, the Russians gained a foothold in Japan with the power of veto. They want to keep that foothold for the purpose of confounding the peace. In those circumstances, we need above everything else a treaty that will keep Russia out of Japan, will permit us to station our troops in Japan and will enable us to use Japan on our side with the assurance that our troops that are stationed there will prevent its defection and at the same time will give to us the greatest psychological help in getting Japanese opinion on our side rather than on the side of Russia. This treaty does exactly those three things.
Listening to this debate, I have been amazed to note that honorable members have talked very largely of the treaty without referring to the two ancillary documents which go with it. In the first place there is the Pacific pact, which will be debated later in this House, and to which I need not refer now. However, in addition to the Pacific pact there is the security arrangement between the United States of America and Japan which, in Article .1, grants to the United States of America the right to station troops in Japan. Article 2 forbids anybody else that right and under Article 4 it cannot he abrogated without the consent of the United States of America. So everything that the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) has asked for is given as a result of the arrangements which are ancillary to this treaty. Apparently he was ignorant of the facts. It is interesting to read the opinions of Mr. A. A. Gromyko, a prominent Russian, who has said of this treaty -
Its real meaning is that agreements are already being forced upon Japan under which she undertakes in advance to give her territory for the establishment of American army, naval and air bases in accordance with the aggressive plans of the United States of America in the Far East.
Leaving out the adjectives that every Soviet propagandist uses to excess, that means, in point of fact, that what they objected to was that this treaty would afford us a lever over Japan. The treaty must be read in full to be understood properly and I direct particular attention to Articles 5 and 22, neither of which lias so far been the object of much comment in the House. Under Article 5, Japan agrees to settle its international disputes in accordance with the treaty, to refrain from any action’ which might be a threat to the United Nations, and to give to the United Nations every assistance in any action it may take, in accordance with the Charter, against other nations that may be at variance with the United Nations. Under Article 22 - and this is an important matter - Japan gives, in advance, its concurrence to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice over every matter in dispute that arises out of the treaty. Here we have a position in which Japan, in advance, consents to use its troops for the purposes of the United Nations, and to avoid any action against the United Nations. It gives to us every treaty security for that contract and allows the stationing of American troops in Japan to guarantee the performance of the contract. Could the honorable member for Angas on his own thesis ask for anything further?
The one thing that is not provided for in the treaty is the entrance of Russia into the system of control, and it is because the entrance of Russia into the system of control is not provided for that all this fuss and bother is being raised by the Communist party and echoed by a number of people who are not Communists and who should know better. What alternatives have we? Remember, this Japanese position, as the honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) has pointed out, is only a part of a much vaster world position. One of the most important feature of this Japanese settlement is the analogy of France. Without this settlement we should not get France “ on side “. If we do not have France with us, then the world will be lost anyway. Honorable members opposite may not realize the depth of feeling that exists against Germany in France as a result of past wars. Yet France has just voted for the rearmament of Western Germany, knowing that only by that means and the use of Western Germany to keep the Communists out, can Europe itself survive.
We should consider not only the short term, but also the long term objectives. Let me remind honorable members that in Indo-China France is waging a war against the Communists that is comparable in magnitude with the Korean operations. Let me also remind them that, as a result of arrangements that were made by the Leader of the Opposition when he was Minister for External Affairs in the Chifley Government, when the American defence screen was thrown back from Manus Isalnd, the IndoChinese threat is now outside that screen and there is nothing between us and it. Fulfilment of the American defence plans in relation to Manus Island would have held us safe against the threat from IndoChina, but to-day we lie naked and open to it, apart from the interposition of French forces. This treaty is an integral part of defence arrangements that include France. So our choice is clear enough. Let me remind the House that we are not really debating this proposed ratification as an issue, because the treaty will be ratified by the United States of America whether this House votes in favour of it or not. The only question at stake on the vote of this House is whether or not Australia is to come in under the umbrella. Australia can exclude itself from the protection of that umbrella by means of the vote of this House.
It is a part of our democratic right to say that we do not want the protection of American help, but it would be a folly that I should hesitate to describe as democratic, to discard that help. The Leader of the Opposition advanced a legalistic argument on why we should stand pat on our rights under the existing decisions of the Far Eastern Commission. That was a very peculiar argument to come, from him, because I have in my hand a document that he published in August, 1947, on this particular subject. At the foot of page 135 of that document is a footnote in relation to the adoption by the Far Eastern Commission of a paper on the basic postsurrender policy for Japan which states that at the time of adoption of that paper Australia made the following reservation : -
The policies laid down in this paper are subject to and without prejudice to discussions which will take place during the negotiations of the Peace Treaty with Japan and the provisions of the Peace Treaty with Japan.
The Leader of the Opposition, who made that reservation himself and published it, said then that the decision of the Ear Eastern Commission was not a binding agreement. Yet he has the impertinence to base his whole argument against the ratification of the treaty on the assumption that it was a binding agreement. I forgive honorable members who were misled by him, but I find it difficult to forgive him. Other honorable members who erred may not have known all the facts, but is it conceivable that the Leader of the Opposition did not know them? After all, what would be the result of an acceptance of the argument advanced by the Leader of the Opposition? It would be that the Russian power of veto would be maintained over the making of any conceivable treaty with Japan. That is exactly what Russia wants. Once again we find this curious and, as it were, fortuitous coincidence of the deceptions and obscure workings of the Leader of the Opposition’s mind, with the real interests of Soviet Russia. If this had been one single instance of that, we might have taken it to be only a coincidence. But it is not one single instance. It is a part of a chain, the links of which are too numerous for me to deal with in the time at my disposal, but which are perfectly plain to the consciences of honorable members opposite. The same man who betrayed us over Manus Island, who opened us to the Communist threat from Indo-China and deprived us of American aid, who is trying to bring about a state of affairs in which even French protection in Indo-China will be withdrawn, who conspires for the recognition of Soviet China, we now find advancing the same thesis that Mr. Gromyko advanced. And here is the peculiar thing, that not only does he advance the same thesis, but he also even twists the facts so as to make them accord with Mr. Gromyko’s argument in relation to the Potsdam Agreement. He said last Thursday night, in commenting on the Potsdam Agreement -
The terms of surrender of Japan were set out in the proclamation of 26th July, 1945. . . What did the terms prescribe? The three major Allies, United States of America, Great Britain, and Russia, addressed them to Japan in the form of an ultimatum.
That is a falsification of the facts. That ultimatum was addressed to Japan by the United States of America, Great Britain and Nationalist China, and not by Russia. That falsification by means of the inclusion of Russia, which only subsequently adhered to the agreement and later adopted the ultimatum, is in line with the falsifications of Gromyko’s own speech. Why do these things happen? One would think that the Leader of the Opposition was sufficiently versed in these facts to know what actually happened. Yet we find him twisting not merely his conclusions, but also the facts that he must, or should, know, in order that they may accord with the arguments that the Russians adduced and in order to lead to the conclusion that the Russians want him to reach. It is all very well for the Leader of the Opposition to come here and coo very gently in regard to this treaty, because he knows that more strident voices will be raised elsewhere. At this stage he may be giving only the bass accompaniment, while the theme is played for him by such creatures as his brother, the Honorable Olive Evatt, that paranoiac pro-Russian who happens to be Chief Secretary of New South Wales and carries the torch for Stalin in the McGirr Labour Government. This is team-work of quite a high order insofar as skill is concerned, but of quite a low order-
– DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Bowden). - Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– The use of the term “ paranoiac “ to describe a State Minister in this country shows the lack of argument that the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr.
Wentworth) has to support his general contentions. He has exhibited a pathological hatred of the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) and of every member of his family. That passes for argument on the Government side in justification of this proposed treaty. I cannot understand this peculiar hatred of one man which exudes from many honorable members opposite every time they speak on foreign affairs. This treaty could bo supported by certain arguments by those who honestly believe that it is a good treaty. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) has said that in the circumstances the Government has decided that the treaty is a good one. But the honorable member for Mackellar, and certain other honorable gentlemen who have spoken in this debate, ha?e advanced with all the mental arrogance that they can command the argument that honorable members who will not accept the treaty are playing the enemy’s game. That is a particularly false and vicious charge to launch at any person in this House who takes a different view from that advanced by the Government. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) himself expressed in an article in the J January issue of Foreign Affairs the views that exist in this country about this treaty. I shall read some of the statements which the right honorable gentleman made in his article. He wrote -
It is simple to understand that the instinctive reaction of Australia to any proposal for a Japanese peace settlement is, “ Keep them down! Don’t let them rearm! Don’t trust them! “ It is true that history proves that such reactions are ephemeral and sometimes dangerous. But we are not living in a world of historians; we are living in a world of men and women, of widowed wives and bereaved mothers; a world tenaciously attached to a justice which precedes mercy, though it may lie tempered by it .
Those, I repeat, are the words of the Prime Minister of this country, and he wrote them only a month ago. At least, they justify a doubt about the efficacy of any peace treaty that may be made with the Japanese. But the right honorable gentleman, who finished his argument by supporting the treaty, said other significant things. He pleaded for a curtailment of the right of the Japanese to rebuild their naval strength because it could be of great danger to Australia and to the peoples in the Pacific. These are his words -
Are both defensive armament and offensive armament to be included in Japanese rearmament? Japan, to be defended against invasion, does not, for example, need longrange submarines. Nor does she need longrange surface ships of war. She may need them against us, or against you. But does she need them against the common prospective enemy ?
That is the Prime Minister of Australia talking. He said that the Australian Government - made repeated requests to both Washington and London, that in any permitted Japanese rearmament there should be a prohibition upon the creation of naval units of a long-range, i.e., an offensive, character . . .
The very fact that it contains no prohibition upon J Japanese power to rearm in the way that the Prime Minister indicated is justification for opposition to this document. The very fact that Australia did not succeed in securing acceptance of ite point of view was sufficient justification for the Australian Government to have said, “ We shall refuse to sign any treaty that does not contain some provision for the protection of those countries which J Japan molested in World War II.” That is quite a legitimate contention for any one to advance in the course of this debate. But the Government has said, in effect, “ We have done the best we can. Sooner or later, we are going to have a war with Russia. We had better get behind Japan and help to build it up so that it can come in on our side in the fight against Russia “.
Some honorable members opposite have asked what alternative to this treaty does the Australian Labour party suggest. T reply that if the Australian Labour party had been in office when this treaty was being negotiated it would have pressed its claim to have included in the document some provision for what it believed to be necessary for the effective protection of Australian interests, failing to secure which it would have refused to sign the document. I know the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) well enough to know, that if he could not have defended Australian interests effectively he would not, ultimately, have been a party to sacrificing those iinterests. That is the feeling of the Opposition in respect of this treaty. “We believe that this document is, in effect, just another Munich, an Eastern Munich.
– Another Manus.
– It is another attempt at appeasement, and it will fail just as the last notorious attempt at appeasement failed in Europe in 1939. I say to the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Treloar) that the Government has not in its possession any document that would prove that, at any time, the United States of America asked Australia to give to it control of Manus. That is a fact. On the contrary, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) recently tried to give Manus Island to the Americans, hut they did not want it. I challenge the Minister to lay on the table to-morrow any document which he claims .would support his claim, or the claim that is made by his colleagues, that a Labour government refused to give to the Americans anything in regard to Manus for which the Americans asked.
– That is not true.
– It is true. I again challenge the Minister to produce any document of the kind that I have mentioned. If he fails to do so, his guilt will be clear. I have referred to appeasement in 1939. That appeasement failed. What was the purpose of it? Great Britain, Prance and certain other countries helped to build up Hitler so that he could protect the Western world against what the Prime Minister, in the article from which I have quoted and which he wrote in January last, called “ the common prospective enemy “. When Hitler was built up he made a pact with the “common prospective enemy” and turned on the Allies who had built him up before he turned on that enemy. We have no guarantee that if Japan is built up it will not turn against the Allies.
We shall take two risks - a long-term risk and a short-term risk - if we ratify this treaty. The short-term risk is that when Japan rearms it may associate with Russia, in which event both Japan and Russia would be more dangerous to us than either of them is to-day. But on the long-range view, let us assume that Japan does associate with the Western democracies and helps to destroy Russia in a war that most Government protagonists and propagandists claim to be inevitable. When Russia is defeated, where will Japan turn then, and what will it do then? Japan will not be satisfied to be confined to its island dominion. It will immediately commence its march to control again the greater East Asian coprosperity sphere. There is no doubt that Japan, which had a population of 68,000,000 when it treacherously attacked Pearl Harbour and now has a population of 80,000,000, will turn either to China or southward, as the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) pointed out in his excellent speech last evening. Japan will attack China again, or it will endeavour to annexe the maritime provinces of Russia in the Far East. I have a feeling that there are some secret clauses in the treaty between Japan and the United States of America. I do not believe that in the present international set-up it is possible for the United States of America and Japan to persuade Chiang Kai-shek to hand over Manchuria to Japan again in the event of Japan assisting to defeat Soviet China. It is much more likely that those maritime provinces, which were ceded by China to Russia in 1864 under threat, will be handed over to Japan to colonize, and, of course, Japan will grow strong and, inevitably, come southward again.
This document, which some honorable members opposite have described as a good treaty, could turn out to be a bad treaty and even a more fateful document than that which was signed at Munich. When I speak of Munich, I do not criticize the late Mr. Chamberlain, who was then Prime Minister of Great Britain. I realize that he inherited legacies from the Baldwin and MacDonald Governments - and I refer to the MacDonald Nationalist Government. But, at that time, France and England were weak whereas we have not been under any threat from Japan since the end of World War II. Honorable members opposite have decided to take a risk in respect of this treaty. That approach is completely unjustifiable. The Prime Minister had no doubt on that point because he said in the article to which I have already referred -
We have no assurance that a rearmed Japan will not some day turn against us. We have, for that matter, no assurance that a strengthened and assisted Western Germany will not seme day again prove our enemy.
That statement is particularly clear, sensible and convincing. A rearmed Japan can and may, and, in our view, probably will, become, a menace to the peace of the world. A rearmed Germany can possibly become a menace to Europe. What would be the reaction of France to any suggestion that Germany should be allowed to rearm to the degree that Japan is to be permitted to rearm under this treaty? What would the British and French say if Germany were to be permitted, to build up its armed strength to, say, 60 panzer divisions ? What would be the reaction of those two Allied countries if Germany were permitted almost unlimited power to rearm? Of course, they would object most strenuously. Our safety and security are as dear to us as the security and safety of European democracies are to them, and, therefore, we are justified in protesting against the failure of the Government to write into this treaty a provision that would prevent the Japanese from becoming aggressors, not in 50, or 20 years, but, may be, in ten years or sooner.
The Minister for External Affairs will not convince the Opposition that there are no real grounds for fears in relation to this treaty insofar as it permits Japan to rearm. To do him credit, he admitted that he had some fears about the matter ; and I believe that the fears that he expressed were sufficiently formidable and real to justify postponing ratification of this treaty for at least another couple of years. The document was signed on the 13th July last, but it was not introduced into this Parliament until February of this year. The United States of America has not ratified it. We should follow the example of the United States of America in respect of the Treaty of Versailles. The United States of America refused to sign that treaty. It also refused to join the League of Nations and, after having refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles signed a separate treaty with Germany.
We should be well advised to follow that example in this instance.
– A lot of good that would do.
– If the Minister is in such a state of despair about this matter, why did he engage in any negotiations or send any Australian representative to the peace conference? Why not let us face up to the fact that the Japanese will, in any event, become very strong in the Pacific, and let them have now all that they will demand then? It is common knowledge that after this treaty has been ratified Japan intends to raise the matter of our immigration law. Leading Japanese have said that. The Japanese will demand to be treated under our immigration law in the same way as Europeans a.re treated under it. They will demand also the right to come into New Guinea.
– A Labour government gave away Manus Island.
– How can the Minister make that statement when the Minister for Air has suggested that eight members of the Government should be afforded facilities to visit Manus Island in order to be better able to appreciate its defence value to Australia? Now, he does not know that the Australian flag is flying over Manus Island ; he says that a Labour government gave it away. He has said that a Labour government sold Australia. If anybody sold Australia it was honorable members opposite who left this country unarmed against Japan after the outbreak of World War II. The Minister and his colleagues left Australia so defenceless at that time that there was scarcely a smear of petrol around Australia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. In support of the argument that I have used that the Japanese will want to come into New Guinea, I quote the opinion of Mr. W. Teeling, Conservative member for Brighton in the British House of Commons, who visited Japan with a United Kingdom parliamentary delegation. He said -
The only way to solve Japan’s main problem - over-population - is to permit emigration southward. The Japanese should be permitted to go to Dutch New Guinea, China and Siam
Another statement which was published in the, Australian press last year was to the effect that the Japanese believed that they could settle 5,000,000 of their people in New Guinea. The general headquarters staff of the American Army in Tokyo were reported to be encouraging that plan. So, because Japan will be a menace again, because Japan will want many of its people to emigrate to Dutch New Guinea, and because the Minister is already giving them fishing rights off the Australian coast and encouraging them to re-enter the pearling industry, we say that all the schemes that are put forward and all the arguments that are advanced by this Government in support of the treaty are unworthy, and should be rejected.
We also say that the Japanese have treated the occupation authorities with shrewd and oriental cunning. They have been able to make it appear that they have fulfilled all the requirements of the surrender agreement, but in actual fact, they have maintained most of their big industries intact. The Zaibatsu interests have not been broken up, and anybody who says that they have been dispersed does not know the real position. The Americans invited the Japanese Government to draft for the approval of SCAP a plan for the destruction of the Zaibatsu. That plan was submitted, and rejected. The Yasuda Holding Company then submitted a plan on behalf of the larger holding companies which comprised the Zaibatsu, and it was approved by SOAP. It was merely a pretext to show that Japanese big interests had been distributed, as the surrender agreement demanded that they should be. The Japanese Government, in connexion with that pretended break-up of the Zaibatsu interests, proposed a man named Iijuma as chairman, but he was rejected by SCAP because he had already expressed the view that it would be a mistake to dissolve the Zaibatsu. Subsequently, Susayama, who had formerly been employed by the Yasuda Holding Company, was appointed, and he pretended to control those great concerns in the interests not of a few people, but of the great masses of the Japanese people. However, the nature of the control was exposed by Professor Macmahon Ball, who said -
I had personal knowledge, while in Japan, of some “ purged “ presidents who continued to direct their companies from their homes, where their former subordinates would respectfully gather daily to make their reports and get instructions.
We believe that once Japan is released from Allied control, once the occupation forces have left, and once Japan feels that it is on its feet again, the old gang will be back in control, just as the old Nazi gang is coming back into control in Germany. Fresh evidence is available daily that former Nazi generals are coming back into power in that country and that former Fascists are coming back into power in Italy. Therefore we in Australia should be particularly careful of anything that we approve, even if we cannot affect the ultimate course of events, in relation to Japan.
The Minister and some of his supporters have argued that the Japanese will most assuredly be so westernized, so democratized, so humanized, and some persons have gone so far as to say so Christianized that they will never again do the things that they did in the last, war. The Minister himself has the childlike simplicity to believe that Japan has lost the Pearl Harbour mentality, and will never again attack a nation and declare war afterwards. Most people do not share his view. The Prime Minister, in his own statement in Foreign Affairs, has shown that there is a real and general fear in Australia that the Japanese are neither reformed, nor is the present generation at least capable of sufficient reformation to be trusted in the comity of nations, if I may borrow a term which has been use( by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond). But the Japanese, who are a shrewd and calculating people, have no doubts about their bargaining powers. The Premier, Yoshida, has said that the Japanese recognition of Nationalist China would not bar the way to economic and political relations with Communist China. He stated -
I do not care whether China is red or green. China is a natural market, and it has become necessary for Japan to think about markets.
The authority for that statement is a Sydney newspaper, and that news item was published on the 3rd January of this year. But Yoshida, under pressure from Mr. John Foster Dulles, had another think, and issued the following statement : -
Japan wants to sign a treaty with the Chinese Nationalists as soon as legally possible. Japan has no intention of signing a peace treaty or a trade treaty with Communist China.
Immediately Yoshida made that pronouncement, Japanese businessmen almost unanimously opposed it, Japanese newspapers were uniformly critical of it, and British diplomatic circles were reported to be disappointed with it. The Minister has not admitted it, but the British Foreign Office, for reasons best known to itself, wants a close association with Communist China. -If the common and prospective enemy about which the Prime Minister talks is Russia, then the Minister for External Affairs should tell us whether he proposes to maintain an Australian Embassy in Moscow. He should also tell us whether he lias made representations to the present British Government to withdraw recognition of red China. If he has not made such representations, he should explain to the House the reasons for his omission to do so. It is necessary for this Government to put itself in the clear in regard, to Communist Russia. It cannot maintain its own Embassy in Moscow, and see the British Government maintain Embassies in Russia and red China, and then tell us that it is completely opposed to all Russian machinations, and that this document, which we are asked to ratify, will give us a guarantee almost of immunity from Japanese attacks in future.
As I have already said, there is a risk in this treaty that we .shall have a combined Soviet-Japanese Moe against ns, and also a risk that if the Allies are successful in a war against Russia Japan will turn against us and come southwards. The Minister thinks that it is worth while to run those risks. The Opposition thinks that we should not run them. .Therefore, although we cannot affect the course of events, we certainly are not prepared to give our approval to something which we believe is a repudiation of Australian sentiment, and is not wanted by the Australian people. I am satisfied that when the history of this country covering the present period is written, the Labour party will be the only party in Australian politics that will not have to bear the obloquy and opprobrium that will most certainly attach to all those who support and endorse this unfortunate, ill-fated and indefensible document.
– In all the confusion that has been evident in this debate, a number of important facts which form the background of this treaty have been overlooked. Therefore, although the secondreading debate is nearing its conclusion, I think that I should endeavour to clarify some aspects of those background matters which are associated directly and indirectly with the ratification of the peace treaty. I am inclined to agree with some of the statements which have been made by the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryson) and the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) about the problem of Japan’s population. The density of population on Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, which are the three main islands of Japan, is approximately 700 persons to the square mile, and it is rapidly increasing. Consequently, one of the greatest problems which faces the Far East is the population of Japan, and undoubtedly at some time in thi future, whether we like to face the facts or not, Japan must have territorial expansion. Where that expansion will take place is something that we cannot foresee at the present time, but the Western Powers must heed that fact now, and watch for such expansion in the future.
The religion of the Japanese people also forms a part of the background of this treaty. For many centuries, the principal religion of Japan was Buddhism, although there were several important minority groups, the chief of which was Christianity. For the last century, the cult or religion of Shintoism which embraces to a degree both Buddhism and Christianity has been adopted as a State religion. We should be foolish at the present time even to expect any significant- change from that basic religion. Therefore, there is a challenge to the Western Powers to spread Christianity through the islands of Japan. We must face that matter in the future. It undoubtedly has an important bearing as a background to this treaty.
We should also remember that Japan did not begin to emerge as a modern nation until 1845. That followed the virtual breaking of the blockade by the American, Commodore Perry, in the previous year. Japan then emerged from a state of feudalism and signed trade treaties with the United States of America and later with Great Britain and other nations. It was not until 1868 that the great national reorganization took place in Japan. The bi-cameral system of government was established, and a section of the Japanese people were given voting rights. The government at that time was controlled by two principal groups, the Batsu, and the Zaibatsu. The Batsu was the principal military group, and the Zaibatsu was the commercial and industrial group, which retained control of the government from that time until practically the present day. Some of the great names which have been associated with the Zaibatsu are Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumitama and Yasuda and are well known to honorable members. Before the outbreak of the last war, they were the great commercial and industrial forces behind the Japanese Government. After the conquest of Japan, one of the first efforts of the Allied government was to break the control that the Batsu and the Zaibatsu organizations had exerted over the Japanese Government, and to establish some kind of democratic government. Prior to 1945, the government in Japan was based on a hereditary monarch. The constitution which had been formulated in 1889 gave the first facade of representative government to the Japanese people. But only certain sections of the community were given the right to vote, and had representation in the Imperial Diet. In conjunction with the bi-cameral system there was established a privy council, the members of which were appointed by the Emperor. Despite the changes which took place after the formulation of the first constitution in 1889, the Emperor re- mained the rulling authority although he was subjected to the influence of powerful groups throughout the country.
Many significant changes have taken place in the government’ of Japan since 1945, and I shall describe some of them. They result directly from the terms of the instrument of surrender that was signed at the termination of hostilities. These changes have solved some of the problems that were mentioned by the honorable member for Melbourne. Following the occupation of Japan, a new constitution was adopted in 1946. Certain very significant changes took place at that time, and they are still in operation. The first thing that was done was to remove the centralized power from the hands of the Emperor and to establish him merely as a figurehead. That change has been effective. The next move was to displace from power the elder statesmen of the old ruling class, who belong to family groups that had been established in positions of authority for centuries. That was a vital move, as anybody who is acquainted with Japanese mentality will acknowledge, because it broke with tradition. The third procedure was to break the power of the Zaibatsu. That measure, as the honorable member for Melbourne admitted, has been reasonably effective. The fourth thing that was done was- to terminate the existence of the secret police organization with which some members of this House have been familiar, the Kempe Tai. Those acts were of a negative character, but they achieved desirable results.
The positive changes involved the introduction of certain basic democratic principles. The new constitution provided that both houses of the Parliament must be elected freely by the people. That was a complete change from the previous system, and it established the bi-cameral system of government on a democratic basis. Women were enfranchised and, for the first’ time in Japan’s history, were allowed to vote freely for the election of their representatives in both houses of the Parliament. Another significant change vested executive powers in the Prime Minister, who was authorized to form an executive council from the major political party or parties represented in the Parliament. A. similar system operates in most of the Western democratic countries. All cabinet ministers were required to be civilians. As honorable members are aware, service ministers in the imperial Diet prior to 1936 were senior officers of the armed services and had direct access to the -emperor. That change broke the power of the Batsu group.
The peace treaty that we are now considering was evolved in draft form only after lengthy discussions between representatives of the allied nations concerned. The views of all these nations were considered during the discussions, and Australia’s representations received equal attention with those of its allies. Australia’s representatives realized that the rearmament of Japan might threaten our security in the future. Therefore, they pressed very strongly for the inclusion in the treaty of a provision that would curb Japanese expansion by banning the manufacture of long-range aircraft and restricting naval vessels to such types of craft as would be required only for defence “purposes in the immediate vicinity of Japan. Unfortunately, the views of the major powers did not agree with those of Australia and, in accordance with the principles that we have espoused as a member of the United Nations, we were forced to accept the majority decision. However, the treaty has been prepared in the. light of existing world conditions, under which we face a grave threat from international communism, which did not exist prior to the end of World War LT. and was not immediately apparent in the post-war years. Eventually it was brought prominently into focus by the events in Korea that led to the outbreak of war there. The conflict in Korea made it obvious that Communist aggression was aimed at the Far East as well :is at Europe and the Middle East.
The peace treaty is designed primarily to state clearly, in precise terms, the nature of Japan’s obligations to the victorious powers. Those obligations should be understood by all honorable members. Other provisions relate to the arrangements that are being made for Japan to resume normal international relationships and to regain a degree of economic stability. Every honorable member realizes, I believe, that a serious threat to Australia and the whole of the Far East is involved in releasing the latent power of Japan by rearmament. Australia’s representatives were fully cognizant of that potential threat and they endeavoured, during the preliminary discussions, to impress Australia’s point of view forcefully upon the representatives of the other Allied nations. However, the fact remains that the United States of America is the major power in the Pacific region. From the standpoint of power politics, it cannot afford to maintain occupation forces in Japan indefinitely, and, from the standpoint of economics, it cannot afford to continue indefinitely to underwrite the Japanese economy. America’s difficulties in relation to the occupation of Japan have been accentuated considerably by the events that have taken place in Korea. Its commitments have increased beyond all expectations. In fact, the United States occupation force in Japan, like the Australian force, was diverted to Korea and Japan became merely a base for operations in Korea.
Communism is represented in Asia by “ red “ China, the Soviet power in Manchuria and satellite forces in Indo-China and Burma. Asian Communists are faced with a lack of industrial resources, and Japan has a great industrial potentiality. Therefore, Japan is important to the Asian Communists. Should its industrial resources fall into their hands, I should say that it would be only a matter of time before the whole of Asia and Australia were conquered. Every honorable member must agree that, if the Communists in Asia, with their tremendous reserves of man-power, gained control of the man-power and the industrial strength of Japan, the threat to Australia would be more grave and imminent than it can become under the terms of the peace treaty that we are now asked to ratify. We must remember that up to 1945, Japan had been largely dependent on the Asian mainland for raw materials with which to maintain its industries. Since the conclusion of the war, its industrial potential has been underwritten by the United States of America, assisted in some measure by the other Western Powers.
These powers have also provided the essential materials for the maintenance of Japanese industry. Thus, it is possible for Japan to continue on the side of the democracies, and obtain the raw materials which were previously obtained from the Asian mainland. To refuse to accept the treaty would mean that Japan would be thrown into the arms of Asian communism. Of course, we must always consider the security of our own country first, and I am not, I confess, happy about the security provisions of the treaty, nor, I believe, is any other member of the House satisfied with them. However, the alternative to making peace with Japan on these terms is to run the risk that Japan will come under the influence of Asian communism, with all the attendant dangers to Australia and to the whole of the Ear East.
– That is only propaganda.
– The threat of Japan as a member of the Communist group would be far greater than the threat of Japan rearmed, but still under the influence of the democracies. In the former case, the threat would be much more serious and more immediate to Australia. Moreover, there are in the treaty certain security provisions, and associated with the treaty there are certain instruments, which give some protection to Australia. Japan is to be deprived of its former overseas territories, so that its military strategy will be restricted in the Pacific. To a degree, its internal economy will also be restricted. Another factor is the defence agreement between the United States of America and Japan under which the United States of America will use certain bases in Japan and former Japanese island bases, including the island of Okinawa.We must also consider the economic control which can be exerted by the Western Powers. So long as theWestern Powers continue to supply essential materials to Japan it will be simple to exercise some control over the flow of such materials. However, the most important factor in relation to the safety of Australia is the Pacific pact, which is a security pact by the United States of America, New Zealand and Australia, and which is a guarantee that, if we are attacked, weshall have on our side the mighty power of the United States of America.
There has been a great deal of reference during this debate to the subject of reparations. It is obvious that we cannot collect reparations from Japan without seriously damaging thatcountry’s industry and commerce which, if damaged, would have to be re-established by the United States of America. However, by the efforts of Australia’s representatives there has been written into the treaty a provision under which Japanese assets held in neutral and ex-enemy countries shall be sold, and the proceeds paid into a fund to be controlled by the international Red Cross for distribution among former prisoners of war held bythe Japanese, and the dependants of those persons. It is pleasing to note, also, that Japanese assets in Australia are tobe sold, and applied for the same purposes.
I have no great affection for the Japanese. I remember, as do some of my colleagues, including the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), the behaviour of Japanesesoldiers and civilians on the island of Singapore and at the Changi prison camp. I remember the ill-fated “ F “ Force which consisted of 7,000 prisoners of war who were sent to work on the notorious BurmaThailand railway. Only about 3,500 came back to Singapore.Remembering those experiences, I have no reason to love the Japanese. I know that the real story of the Burma-Thailand railway has not yet been told, and perhaps will never be told. Nevertheless, I believe that the international situation is such to-day that we have no alternative but to accept the Japanese peace treaty.
In his speech, the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) obviously attempted to play on the feeling of the Australian people in order to make political capital. He suggested that Australia could in some way influence the United States of America and the United Kingdom in order to secure an alteration to the terms of the treaty. Of course, it is sheer mendacity to suggest that Australia could thus influence the major powers, particularly so late in the day when the treaty has been signed by the representatives of so many nations, i was astonished to hear the Leader of the Opposition say that, in his opinion, the treaty should have been signed by only the six or seven nations that were actively engaged in the war against Japan. He has always been a staunch supporter of the United Nations, but he has now, it would seem, changed his ground. The basic principle upon which the United Nations was founded ensures to each of its members the right to sign such a treaty as the one we are now considering. The Leader of the Opposition did not offer any alternative to the treaty. He merely suggested that Australia, by refusing to ratify the treaty, would -place itself in a moro favorable world position. That is, to every reasonable person, completely incorrect. Australia could gain nothing at present by not ratifying the treaty. Indeed, we should have a lot to lose. By refusing to ratify the peace treaty we might cause a situation to arise in which the United States of America would not he prepared to continue its guarantees under the Pacific pact as far as we were concerned. We should also continue in a state of technical war against the Japanese nation for an indefinite period. That state of affairs, I venture to suggest, would not tend to increase Japanese affection for us, if Japanese opinion is tending to change. The- only thing for ns to do, and the Leader of the Opposition did not agree with this course, is to ratify the peace treaty as it stands and remain on-side with the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
During the debate the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) said that he thought the recent referendum had killed the Communist bogy. I think that is a scandalous statement, but if it is an attempt to try to persuade the people that communism, not only in. Australia but also throughout Asia and the rest of the world, is not an immediate threat to us, then newspaper reports that have appeared during the last few days absolutely refute such an opinion. Those reports indicate that communism is a direct threat virtually at our front door. On the 25th February it was reported in the press that the Chinese reds were losing troops in the conflict in Burma. It was also reported that a big French retreat had taken place in Indo-China. A Hong Kong newspaper reported that a Chinese Communist army group had moved from Korea to South China and was now located somewhere along the Burmese or Indo-Chinese border. In the face of all these circumstances, statements have been made here that the threat of communism to Australia is merely a bogy. Communism is on the march in Malaya at the present time, and Australians are fighting Communists in. Korea. I should hate to try to convince our wounded soldiers from Korea that they had been shot by a bogy.
I deplore the shameful attack by the honorable member for Angas on the foreign policy of the United States of America. I say that, after having given due consideration to the effect of. his statements, I think it can be said reasonably that his attack was unwarranted and also completely undiplomatic at this stage when the Pacific pact is before the Parliament for approval. We know that there have been various thoughts in American foreign policy in the Far East. The Americans have been wrong in some respects and right in others. No nation could be completely right all the time. Moreover, we are dependent to a large degree for our security on the United States of America. In the last war we leaned very heavily on America and were very thankful for the American troops that were sent out here for our protection. No doubt we shall be very happy to welcome American forces again if they are required to defend Australia and the Pacific from aggression. The honorable member for Angas stated that he would refrain from voting for the measure, principally on the ground that he believed that the occupation of Japan should continue for approximately another ten years.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– in reply - Since I first entered this House more than twenty years ago, I cannot remember, during any debate on a matter of high national importance, having listened to such irresponsible speeches as have been made by a large number of honorable members opposite. One can understand speeches of irresponsibility and lack of realism on smaller matters, but I do not suppose that this House has considered for some considerable time a matter of such national importance for the present and the future as the Japanese peace treaty. It has been a grievous disappointment to myself and other members of the Government, and I am sure to most of the honorable members in this House, to hear speeches of that kind from some members of the Opposition. Not all honorable members opposite spoke in that strain. Indeed there were two or three speeches from honorable members on the back benches on the Opposition side that I thought were admirable analyses of the general situation in Asia, but they were the exceptions. It was a most grievous disappointment to me that the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) and almost all his colleagues were deliberate attempts, because1 I cannot believe that their remarks were actuated by ignorance, to mislead the Australian public on the true situation.
I have made two long and considered statements in this House about the Japanese peace treaty. The first waa made six months ago, when the treaty was signed, and the other was made on the day that we received the melancholy news of the King’s death. Those speeches have .been made available in printed form to all honorable members of the House. In a wholly non-party political way I sought to analyse this treaty as objectively as I thought it was possible to do. I mentioned with complete frankness the fears that have obsessed a good many of us on both sides of the House. I could have cast my statements in » wholly different way had I wished to do so, but I did not believe that any fairminded person who had no party political bias could have come to any other reasonable conclusion than that this Japanese peace treaty is in the best interests of Australia.
I shall not repeat the many arguments that I attempted to traverse on those two previous occasions, except on two or three matters which may properly he referred to in such a speech as this is. Is first apologize for mentioning again matters that should be completely obvious, but which apparently are not obvious. I remind the Opposition that Japan to-day is unarmed and defenceless and that its economy has been ravaged. If Japanremains in that state it will become au easy prey to Chinese and/or Russian com.munism. That is something devoutly to be avoided, because unless the Japanese economy and the ability of the Japanese to defend themselves are restored, in reasonable and progressive measure, Japan will fall to communism from internal or external sources. This peace treaty will determine largely the future of Japan and the idealogical camp into which the Japan of the future, possibly of the quite near future, will fall. There are only two courses. In the future, Japan will either come down on the democratic side or on the Communist side. I submit that, by reason of this treaty, which I do not propose to analyse again in detail because that has already been done almost ad nauseam, the probability is that Japan will come down on the democratic side. I do not make that statement in any dogmatic way. I have never put the matter other than in terms of probalilities. The probability is that, owing to the terms of this treaty, which I consider to be a far-sighted one, Japan will come down on the democratic side. If a harsh treaty were imposed upon Japan, I should say with certainty that, within a given number of years, not necessarily very many, the Japanese would be absorbed into the Communist camp. The danger at present is, not that Japan will become too strong too quickly, but that it will remain too weak for too long.
Honorable gentlemen opposite have asked whether this treaty will guarantee the future. Of course it will not do so. Throughout the course of history, peace treaties have never guaranteed the future. It is clear that honorable gentleman opposite have learned nothing from the result of the peace treaty that was concluded at the end of World War I. The point that I wish to make is that a harsh treaty, which sought to keep Japan down both economically and militarily, would leave that country defenceless and weak, and in an emergency Japan would have to be defended by the democracies, if it were to be defended at all. Such a treaty would give rise to emnity and hate in the breasts of the vast majority of the Japanese people. Those of us who know only a little history realize that the terms of a peace treaty will not be observed for any length of time unless the vanquished country is occupied by force. Which of the democracies would occupy Japan by force ? The Americans have done so for the last five or six years, with great generosity and world spirit. They have expended themselves upon Japan, and have made vast efforts there. Incidentally, I did not hear from honorable gentlemen opposite a single word of recognition of anything that our great American friends have done in that respect. The members of the Opposition exhibited the very reverse of generosity in the references that they made to the United States of America. That is opposed to the Australian national interest. I hope that it will never be possible to say with truth that the Opposition is anti- American, because that would be a tragedy for Australia.
Which is the more dangerous menace that confronts the democracies at present? Is it Japan, or is it communism? I suggest to the members of the Opposition that, in some respects, they are very like the country which, it was once said, was always perfectly prepared for “ the last war “. The Opposition is speaking of “ the next war “ in terms solely of “ the last war “. Thinking of that kind has caused the downfall of many countries in the past. The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett), with the greatest possible economy of words,, expressed the object of the foreign policy of any country. He said that it was to keep the country out of war, or, if by evil chance war came, to ensure that the country should enter the war with the aid of as many and as strong friends as possible, This treaty is designed for that, purpose. The word “ survival “ lias been used occasionally, rather lightly. In no other period of so-called peace in our history have we been required to remind ourselves so much of the reality of the word “ survival “ so far as Australia is con cerned. The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) delivered a speech of great intensity and truth, in which he brought the members of the Opposition up against some of the stark facts of the international position.
– It was a lot of rot.
– I was afraid that the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and his friends would say that that was so, and would try to persuade the people of Australia to believe them. We are either at the beginning, in the middle, or coming to the end - I do not know which. - of a period in which we are fighting for our survival. We are engaged in what is now called a cold war. I do not know when a cold war becomes luke-warm or hot. Our survival as a free British country is at stake. 1 am talking in terms not of a generation to come but of the immediate future. Even if the worst were to happen and if there were a tremendous revival of militarism in Japan, that country could not he a menace to us for a considerable period of years. The menace is on our doorstep now. I wonder how much thought and attention honorable members opposite give to these matters. I do not know how often they bring out their maps of South-East Asia and of Asia generally. I look at those maps almost every day of my life. I am continually reading telegrams about Asia. The news from six areas in South-East Asia is becoming progressively worse, every week.
– Anthony Eden did not say that.
– I do not want to pursue the matter. There is no point in attempting to make the flesh of honorable members creep. I am trying to make the point that the potential enemy is international communism, and that it is a hundred times more important to us than Japan can be during the next decade. Any one who tries to induce the Australian people to believe that Japan is a potential enemy is, if I may say so with respect, misleading the Australian people.
– That is the Minister’s view.
– That is my view. I realize that it is not the view, or at any rate the expressed view, of most members of the Opposition. Many facts have been ignored by honorable gentlemen opposite in the course of this debate. They have ignored entirely that Japan has been denuded of practically all its territories outside its main islands, that it has been deprived of all sources of raw material, and that its economy has been ravaged by the war. They have, except for a token recognition by the Leader of the Opposition, ignored entirely the Pacific pact. As some honorable members on this side of the chamber have said, we cannot consider this peace treaty properly without at the same time giving adequate consideration to three other documents of first-class importance. They are, first, the security treaty by America, Australia and New Zealand, which will be considered by the House shortly and the terms of which are known to honorable members; secondly, the security pact by America and the Philippines, which is on the same lines as the pact I first mentioned; and, thirdly, the American-Japanese military agreement. All those documents have a direct and important relevance to this treaty, and are complementary to it, but I do not recollect that, except for a token and passing reference, any member of the Opposition paid any attention to them. The Australian public has been, wittingly or unwittingly, led to believe that those pacts and agreements either do not exist or are of no significance in connexion with this treaty.
I shall not attempt to cover all the points that were raised by the Opposition, but I wish to deal with a few of them. The honorable member for Mackellar dealt to some degree with a point that was raised by the Leader of the Opposition, but I want to enlarge upon the matter. The Leader of the Opposition sought to lead honorable members to believe that there had been some repudiation by the Australian Government of the obligations that were entered into at Potsdam in 1945 and by the Far Eastern Commission in 1947. The Leader of the Opposition, when he was Minister for External
Affairs in 1946, said publicly that the Potsdam proclamation was an expression of policy and not a treaty and that that policy may and should change with the times. He made that clear. At that time he instructed the Australian Ambassador in “Washington, Mr. Makin, and also the Australian representative on the Far Eastern Commission, that Australia adopted the paper and the basic surrender policy on the understanding that the policies laid down in that paper were subject to, and without prejudice to, discussions which would take place during the negotiation of the peace treaty with Japan. Can that be outside the memory of the right honorable gentleman ?
– Is the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) suggesting that the Leader of the Opposition favoured an alteration in the direction of the policy?
– I am saying that the Leader of the Opposition said that Australia was not bound by the terms of the Potsdam declaration and that he instructed his ambassador in Washington and his representative on the Far Eastern Commission to inform, the commission and the world of those facts. I think that they should be known. I would like to believe of a fellow human being that the omission was a matter of inadvertence and that the Leader of the Opposition did not mean to mislead the Australian people in that respect. Australia has never been bound by the Potsdam agreement or by the terms of surrender in 1945. The Opposition has avoided entirely the challenge that I issued in my second-reading speech that it should name its alternative to this treaty, either now or at any time in the past. Not a word has been said in answer to that challenge. If honorable members opposite suggest that the Australian people have been misled into believing that this treaty is wrong and that if we only had the sense some other treaty could have been substituted for it, that should have been said. All that has been said is that Australia should refuse to ratify the treaty. The inference is that if that were done, some better treaty would be or could be forthcoming. That is complete nonsense. Article 26 of the present treaty lays down that Japan can make terms of peace with countries which do not sign or ratify this treaty - and Australia might be one of them - on the same or substantially the same terms as are provided in the. present treaty and can do so within three years. In other words, at this stage there is no form of treaty that Australia can enter into except this treaty or some other treaty substantially on the same lines.
Honorable members opposite have questioned whether Australia has been given a proper opportunity for consultation with the United States of America, Great Britain and other countries that are principally concerned with the treaty and whether Australia has embraced any such opportunities as it has had. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) and the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) challenged the Government on that point and said that Australia was being dragged at the tail of the American cart; that Australia had not been properly consulted and; that it had not embraced the opportunity for consultation. I shall briefly trace the facts starting from September, 1950, when Mr. John Foster Dulles approached all the. members of the Far Eastern Commission - Australia. Burma, Canada, France, India, Holland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, the United Kingdom, and Soviet Russia. He presented them with seven main principles that in the opinion of the Administration of the United States of America should be the principles on which the treaty should be framed. They were discussed at considerable length with Mr. Dulles in September, 1950. Only a few months later, in February, 1951, Mr. Dulles came to Canberra and spent some time here in intimate discussion with my predecessor and his opposite number in New Zealand. At the end of the discussion a communique was issued which stated -
The discussions in Canberra represented consultation at its best. They have been most fruitful in developing the closest possible contacts between the nations represented.
So the points of time when Australia was consulted and made its views forcibly known were numerous. They occurred in March, April, May, June and July, 1951. At each of those meetings Australia was consulted and had an opportunity to express its views on the treaty. It is completely misleading the Australian people for party political purposes to say that Australia has not been in these negotiations right from the start. The treaty bears in half a dozen places the impress of the views of this Government. The United States almost unanimously supports this treaty although the final stage has not been reached. The United Kingdom has supported it almost unanimously.
– The Parliament of the United Kingdom gave its support by 350 votes to .30. I call that almost unanimously.
– Two hundred members abstained from voting.
– That may be, but the voting was more than 10 to 1 in favour and it is not straining the meaning of words to call that “ almost unanimous “. I believe that in New Zealand there was no opposition to it and 45 other countries have accepted the treaty. What has the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia to say about it? That organization is closely concerned with the treaty. I remind honorable members and the Australian public that two of every three of the supporters of this Government in the Parliament were engaged in one of the last two wars. When 66 per cent, of those who support the government of the day have been through one or other of two great wars it is reasonable to believe that they do not want to go through another or have their sons go through one. I was challenged by the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) when he spoke about Manus Island. With some heat he challenged me to make a statement or to make the relevant papers available in connexion with Manus Island. I do not propose to make those papers available.
– Why not ?
– I have been through them all m the last month. The files are quite voluminous, but not as voluminous as they could have been and should have been, for it is clear from the files that all the information is not on the file. I am not suggesting that papers have been taken off the file. I do not know that and I make no such charge, but I do know, and the officers of my department know, that a great many of the stages in the business that concerned Manus Island were covered verbally. There was no written record of such conversations. If the honorable member for Melbourne wants any assurance on whether the United States of America did or did not ask for the use of the defensive equipment on Manus Island in the future, I say that it did ask for it. I make that statement after having read the file. It asked for it and in due course its request was refused. No shrewder blow was ever dealt at the Australia of the future than that refusal to allow the greatest power in the world to use this great bastion which stands between us and the Asiatic mainland.
Honorable members interjecting,
– Order ! I must ask honorable gentlemen on both sides of the House to give the Minister a reasonably fair hearing. These interjections will get us nowhere.
– I would not have spoken on this subject, which is not really relevant to the debate,had it not been raised by the honorable member for Melbourne. However, it has some connexion with the general fabric of the debate. I am unable at this stage to discuss in any detail the subject of the tripartite Pacific pact. Honorable members will have an opportunity to discuss that subject at an early date. It has to be considered in relation to the Japanese peace treaty and I hope to have an opportunity to speak on it in due course. One could speak at almost any length on this matter. I am not greatly given to the adoption of an acid party political attitude. But I have been compelled to reply to interjections during the course of this debate. “When I could not contain myself any longer, I said “ rubbish “ and “ nonsense “ a few times, and in confining myself to those innocuous terms I think that I exhibited an almost superhuman degree of restraint. The sort of statements that have been made on the Opposition side of the House during this debate makes one fearful of the continued satisfactory working of the democratic system. Misrepresentation, distortion and the omission of relevant facts may be permissible in party political debate on unimportant matters, but this is a matter of first-class importance. If the record of this debate should reach other countries, I shudder to consider what they would think of the Australian Parliament and of honorable members of the Opposition in particular. Opposition members might regard their remarks as the ordinary small change of party politics, but to my mind they were dreadful. Having heard this debate and traversed all aspects of the matter, I commend this treaty to the House more sincerely than I did when I opened the debate. The Australian people can at least regard this measure as very much the lesser of the two evils facing us. I commend the bill to the House.
Question put -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Majority . . . . 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Billread a second time.
Thursday, 28 February 1952
Question put -
That the bill be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Motion (by Mr. Casey) - by leave - proposed -
That the bill be now read a third time.
– I move -
That all words after “That” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - “the bill be postponed for six months in order that a referendum of the Australian people may be taken to determine the acceptability or otherwise of the measure”.
As the Government is so keenly devoted to the principle of taking referendums in order to ascertain public opinion on various matters, I consider it to be right that this bill should be submitted to the people in order that their opinion may be ascertained, because no legislation will affect the present and future generations of Australians, and the future of Australia itself, so much as this will.
.- Mr. Speaker !
– The Minister for External Affairs, closing the debate.
– I rise to order. With due respect, I point out that the mover of the motion, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), has the right to close the debate.
Government supporters interjecting,
– That is correct. I am sorry.
– All you yahoos on the Government side were wrong.
– Order ! The honorable member for Dalley will apologize for having made that statement.
– I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. They have learned their lesson.
– Order ! I am unable to discover from the Standing Orders how a bill of this description could be submitted to the people. So far as I know, the only bill for the taking of a referendum for which the Constitution provides is one designed to alter the Constitution.
– What about the conscription referendum ?
– You have a precedent for it.
– I am not concerned about that. I make my own precedents. I am not able to see in what respect this amendment is in order. However, I should like to defer my ruling until tomorrow, so that I may have an opportunity to study the provisions of the Standing Orders in order to ascertain whether it is in order.
– Apart from your very natural fears about the amendment, Mr. Speaker, it is perfectly clear that it has been moved solely for party political purposes. It cannot achieve anything. At this stage we must either pass the bill or stand out of the treaty altogether for all time, and be in a continuous state of war for the rest of time with the Japanese Government, because Japan is bound to sign this treaty or a treaty on substantially the same lines. This is just another attempt by the Opposition to hoodwink the Australian people into believing that any other form of treaty substantially different from this one, would be possible. As Mr. Speaker has rightly said, it is impossible for the average person to see how the amendment could be implemented. Therefore, I ask the House to reject it.
– I rise to order! In relation to a motion for the third reading of a bill, Standing Order 237 provides -
The only amendment which may be moved to such a question is by omitting “ now “ and adding “ this day six months “, which, if carried, shall finally dispose of the bill.
As the amendment moved by the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) does not fall within that category, I submit that it is out of order.
– I must definitely uphold that point of order. The amendment is clearly out of order.
– I move -
That the ruling be dissented from.
It is perfectly obvious to any student of Australian history that referendums have been taken before on matters other than an alternation of the Constitution. Therefore a referendum could be taken on this bill. If honorable members opposite do not want to allow the Australian people to have a voice in the matter I cannot help it, but at least I can exhaust all the forms of this House in an attempt to enable them to have such a voice.
– Order ! I point out to the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) that the proper time to move for the submission of this bill to the people by way of a referendum was at the committee stage, and furthermore, that the holding of such a referendum would necessitate the prior appropriation of revenue, authority for which would be given in a message from the GovernorGeneral. No message recommending an appropriation for that purpose has been submitted by me to the House. The amendment is clearly out of order on several grounds.
– The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) has moved that the bill be postponed for six months in order that it may be submitted to the people by way of a referendum. Mr. Speaker has stated that something has to be inserted in the bill at the committee stage to make provision for the matter to be referred to the people. That in my opinion would be going beyond the order of leave. The House should make provision in a separate bill for the necessary appropriation and authority to enable a referendum to be held. It is obvious, of course, that even at the committee stage that could not have been done. It would be necessary for the House, if it saw fit, to accept at this stage, a motion to postpone further consideration of the bill for the purpose of holding a referendum upon it. At a later stage, if the amendment were carried, it would be necessary for the requisite machinery to be put into operation. All that the honorable member for Melbourne has done has been to endeavour to prevent temporarily the placing of the bill on the statute-book, and at the same time, to make a provision for its postponement for a definite period for a definite purpose. Then if the House so wished, the Government could make provision for a referendum to be taken. I understand Mr. Speaker’s ruling to mean that provision in that respect must be made in this bill. If that is a correct ruling, it would be impossible at any time for any honorable member to move a substantial amendment on a motion for the third reading of a bill. The only action open to the House on such a motion would be to resolve the question in the affirmative or, if it saw fit, to postpone the third reading for any specific reason. I do not know that the proposer of the motion would need to specify the reason. He would, I think, move for the postponement of the third reading for six months and say, outside the terms of his motion, which would be in writing, “ The purpose of my motion is to postpone the bill until the people have been consulted “. I think, Mr. Speaker, that you are getting on to very dangerous ground when you say that, although provision is made in the Constitution and in the Standing Orders of this House, as an ultimate resort a bill cannot be placed before the people on the ground that something should have been done at the committee stage.
– But Mr. Speaker did not rule it out of order on that ground.
– Apparently the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) does not understand the nature of the ruling. Mr. Speaker has ruled that action should have been taken at the committee stage. I challenge any member of this House to show-
– Order ! The honorable member for Dalley is not entitled to issue challenges. He has risen to a point of order.
– That is a challenge.
– I am the only person concerned.
– Then my challenge is to the Chair.
-Order ! The honorable member cannot challenge the Chair. He should state his point of order.
– I am challenging your ruling, Mr. Speaker. I contend that it was totally incorrect, because if the attempt had been made - and mark this clearly - to insert a provision in the bill at the committee stage, we should have been going beyond the order of leave. Therefore, the honorable member for Melbourne could not have done what Mr. Speaker has said that he should have done. An amendment for the postponement of this bill for a specific period, if it were carried, would be an instruction to the Government to bring in another bill that would include a provision, or provisions, which could not be inserted in this measure. The subsequent measure would be a special one for the purpose of holding a referendum. Therefore, I submit, with deference, that the ruling of the Chair is entirely wrong. I repeat that at no prior stage would ir. have been in order for an honorable member to move for the insertion of such a provision in this measure.
– I direct the attention of the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) to Standing Order 237, which deals with the third reading and passing of bills. It reads -
The only amendment which may be moved to such question-
That is to the motion “ That the bill be now read a third time “ - is by omitting “ now “ and adding “ this day six months “, which, if carried, shall finally dispose of the bill.
If that amendment were carried, the bill would fail to pass. As to whether any provision could have been inserted in this measure at the committee stage, I simply said that that was one method that could have been followed. The committee had that opportunity. From my reading of the Standing Orders and of May’s Parliamentary Practice, I rule that the amendment that the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) has moved is clearly out of order.
– Would I be in order, Mr. Speaker, in moving at this stage to amend my amendment to make it read that the word “ now “ be omitted and that the words, “ this day six months “ be added ?
– That is a matter for the House to decide. I have not yet put the motion of dissent from my ruling that the honorable member for Melbourne has submitted. Does he now ask for leave to amend his previous amendment, which I have ruled out of order? If it be the desire of the House to grant leave to the honorable member to frame his amendment in accordance with the Standing Orders, I shall be happy to comply with the wish of the House.
– Is there not a motion already before the Chair? The motion of dissent from your ruling has been handed to you, Mr. Speaker.
– I have not yet read it to the House. The honorable member for Melbourne stated that he would move that my ruling be dissented from, but I have not yet put such a motion to the House, nor has it yet been seconded.
– I have submitted it, and it is on your desk, Mr. Speaker.
– I know that. The honorable member must make up his mind about which procedure he desires to follow.
– I do not propose to ask for leave to amend my amendment. I propose to stand by it and, therefore, I move -
That the ruling be dissented from.
– Is the motion seconded ?
-i second the motion.
Question put -
That the ruling be dissented from.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
That the bill be now read a third time.
– I desire to move -
That the word “ now “ be left out and that the words, “ this day six months “ be added.
I do so, knowing that the effect of this amendment, if it were carried, would be the destruction of the measure now before the chamber. My purpose in submitting the amendment is to give to the Government an opportunity-
Motion (by Mr. McColm) negatived -
That the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) be not further heard.
Motion (by Mr. Eric J. Harrison) agreed to -
That the question be now put.
That the bill be now read a third time, resolved in the affirmative.
– We want a division. I called for a division.
-I heard no call for a division. The Standing Orders provide that, if a division is desired, an honorable member must ask for it.
– We asked for it.
– I did not hear any honorable member call for a division.
– We called for a division. You did not adopt the usual practice of asking us whether or not we desired a division.
– The Clerk was reading the title of the bill. I heard no call for a division, and I am not deaf. The Clerk will continue to read the title of the bill.
– We called for a division long before the Clerk rose.
– We want a division.
Mr. Eric J. Harrison interjecting,
– You should sit down, Lord Garbage.
– I heard a reference to garbage. If the honorable member for East Sydney made it, I ask him to withdraw it.
– I withdraw it.
– May I, Mr. Speaker, direct your attention to the fact that during your occupancy of the chair earlier this week, the word “ garbage “ was used at least 50 times, and you did not take any notice of it?
– My attention was not called to it. I myself heard it just now.
Bill read a third time.
– I have received the following message from the Senate : -
The Senate, having considered Message No. 24 of the House of Representatives, has agreed to the following resolution in connexion therewith, viz.: -
That the Senate concurs in the resolutions transmitted to the Senate by the House of Representatives for the appointment of a joint committee to consider such matters concerning foreign affairs as are referred to it by the Minister for External Affairs, subject to the following modifications : -
that the following provision for quorums be substituted for resolution No. 4 (d) : - ” (d) (i) one-third of the number of members appointed to the committee for the time being constitute a quorum of the committee, save that where the number of members is not divisible by three without remainder the quorum shall be the number next higher than one-third of the number of members for the time being;
The Senate requests the concurrence of the House of Representatives in the Senate’s modifications of the resolutions transmitted to the Senate by the House.
House adjourned at 12.37 a.m. (Thursday).
Hie following answers to questions were circulated: -
Cost of Living,
d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1 *and 2, The honorable member appears to be under some misapprehension as to the functions and activities of the National Security Resources Board. The board, under its terms of reference, is required to examine our civil and military resources and needs, and make such recommendations to the Government as may be. necessary to ensure effective planning and priorities for the best use of Australian resources in the interests of national security. In discharging this function the board has from time to time afforded guidance on industrial priorities to the Capital Issues Board and the authorities responsible for the placement of immigrant labour. It has not however recommended the restriction or closing dow.n of particular industries and is not engaged upon any classification of Australian industry for such a purpose, as the honorable member appears to imagine.
d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
y asked the Minister acting for the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1, 2 and 3. The overall directive to all banks, including the trading sections of the Commonwealth Bank, regarding the classes of purposes for which advances may be made is contained in the statement of advance policy issued on 27th November, 1950, by the Commonwealth Bank in accordance with the responsibilities and powers conferred on it by theBanking Act 1945 and the Commonwealth Bank Act 1945. The statement was issued after consultation with the Government. It provides that new or additional bank accommodation should not be made available to hire purchase businesses.
e. - On the 6th February, the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan), asked a question concerning the shortage of nickel silver sheet. I am now able to furnish the following reply to his question : -
Until recently silver nickel sheet was produced in government ammunition factories and made* available to manufacturers throughout Australia. Some months ago it was found necessary to discontinue this service mainly because of the shortage of the base metals used, namely copper, zinc and nickel. Nickel sheet can be produced by private industry but, as the Government is not exercising control over production and distribution of materials, it is not possible to take action to increase supplies from local production. Most users of this metal are purchasing their supplies from overseas. The mineral itself is not mined in Australia. The nickel produced in Noumea is onlysemi-refined and, as such is not suitable for use in Australia, it is forwarded to France for further refining before distribution. Germany is not given preference over Australia in obtaining supplies of nickel. This commodity is subject to control by the International Materials Conference which allocates the. available supplies of nickel to the countries in the free world on an equitable basis.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 27 February 1952, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1952/19520227_reps_20_216/>.