21st Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the, Hon. A. M. McMullin) took the chair at. 3 p.m.., and read prayers.
Assent to the’ following- bills, reported : -
Income Tax. and. Social Services Contribution
Assessment. Bill’ 1954.. Income Tax- and Social Services Contribution
Sales lux, (Exemptions and Classifications)
Bill 1954. Sales, Tax Bills, (Nos. 1 to 9) 1954. Distillation Bill IBS*. States Grants Bill 1964. Commonwealth Aid Roads Bill 1954. Flag’s Bill IB54-.
Northern Territory. (Lessees’ Loans. Guarantee) Bill 1954.
Loan (Bousing.) Bill. 1054.
Loan, (.War, Service Lond Settlement), Bill 1954,,
Bide and. Leather Industries, Act Suspension
BiN. 1954, Public Service Bill 1954. Commonwealth Railways Bill- 1964. Sugar Agreement. Bill. 196.4..
– Has the attention of the Attorney-General been drawn to a statement by Mr. N. J. Thede, past president of the South Australian Boot Trade. Employers Federation, who was reported in the Adelaide Sunday Advertiser on the 31st October, that, higher prices might, affect employment in, the footwear industry;, that; the federation had protested strongly to- the Government against the abolition of the Hides Board which forced tanneries, to compete on the open, market for their hides; and-, that an increase greater than 20 .per cent., has- taken place in retail prices, of footwear- as a result of this: action-?’ If- so, does the Government intend to do anything to re-Hove- the hardship that will he- inflicted on the people and the boot trade industry as a result of the Government’s action, in abolishing the Hides and Leather Industries Board?
– I am not f amiliar with the- details, of this matter but X know that the figures that Senator Critchley cited have- been challenged as an exaggeration. I do- not. think that the honorable’ senator should accept the statement that an increase, of the- order, that, he indicated will take place as a result of the. alteration in the position. As, the honorable- senator is. aware, this Parliament has no power to- fix prices throughout the. Commonwealth.. That is a matter, which remains in the hands of the States.
– As the only alternative mode of transport to interstate shipping, to. Tasmania is air freight,, I ask the Minister representing, the. Prime Minister whether, the Government will make the provision of adequate air freight services to Tasmania a No. 1’ priority during the term of the present waterfront strike in order to keep the supply of essential commodities moving to and from Tasmania. Will the Government’ consider- providing- a temporary air freight, subsidy in order to enable- the existing- prices for essential commodities to’ be maintained until shipping servicesto Tasmania- are restored?-‘
– The Government will do all’ that it can to see that essential commodities are’ provided for Tasmania. The suggestions which the honorable senator has made- will be brought to- the notice of the- Prime Minister;
Senator- BENN. - Is: the? Minister representing- the- Minister for Healthaware that organizations known, as, the Commonwealth, Health Benefits., of Australia Limited and the Commonwealth! Hospital- and Medical Benefits Limited operate, in, Queensland? Will the.- Minister investigate the operations of thesetwo companies in Queensland and inform me- what’ health, medical and hospital benefits they lawfully are required to grant to their members?
– I am aware that, those two, organizations.- operate in,
Queensland. I have1, no figures available at. the moment to cite; to the. honorable senator;, brat I shall bring’ his: question to. the notice o£ the Minister for Hearth and obtain for- him, a considered answer concerning, the benefits that the organizations grant in Queensland.
– Is the AttorneyGeneral aware that, to use the phrase of a columnist in a Sydney daily newspaper, a first-class- panic has: occurred in legal circles in Sydney over the desire of His Honour Judge Nield, sitting in the divorce jurisdiction on. the 1st November, to hear argument on the question whether Part IEL of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1945’, of this Parliament, was valid or not? The- learned’ judge had offered! the view that that part was invalid’. I might say, with respect, that 1 do not share that view. If the case in question lias not yet closed, will the Attorney-General seek leave for the Commonwealth to intervene and brief learned’ counsel to- make submissions, in support of the validity of this- important legislation, which was introduced by the previous- Labour Government?
– The honorable senator was good enough to draw my attention to this extract from the Sydney D’aily Telegraph. It relates, of course to a section of an act which- has- been operating without challenge since 1945. I am able to inform the honorable senator that, when officers o£ the AttorneyGeneral’s Department saw the extract, they sent for a copy of the transcript, of proceedings. Tha.fr has not yet arrived, but when it does arrive we shall consider it, and we shall also have regard to the suggestion of the honorable senator that this, may be a matter in which, the Commonwealth should intervene.
TARIFF Board Report.
– I lay on the table the report of the Tariff. Board on the following subject: -
Ordered to be printed.
– On behalf of the Minister for Labour and National Ser- vice (Mr; Holt) and the Minister for External’ Affairs- (Mr-. Casey), I lay on the table the following papers: -
International Labour Organization - Thirtyseventh Session, Geneva, June, 195* - Reports, of the: Australian Government, Employers! and. Workers’ Delegates.
In- the interests- of economy, I do not propose, to’ move that the reports be printed, but copies; will be available- to honorable senators from the parliamentary officers. Following my recent practice, at a, later date I shall inform the Senate of the action taken,, or proposed to be taken, with- reference to the recommendations adopted, by the conference-. In view of questions that were asked in. the Parliament, on a previous occasion,, in respect of the admission to the. conference, of employers’ and workers? representatives of the Union, of Soviet Socialist Republics, and eastern European countries,. I direct attention to pages 16 and 17, and pages 21 to. 25 of. the Government delegates? report, in. which, the issues involved a.re. set out in detail.
Bill received from the- House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Spicer) read a first time.
– AttorneyGeneral). [3-.23J. - I move-
That the. hilt be now read a second time.
The purpose of the bill1 is* to provide for the ratification by Australia of the SouthEast Asia Collective Defence Treaty, which was- signed on our behalf at Manila on the- 8th September last. As it is essential that there should be- a proper appreciation of the very important advantages which the treaty bringsto Australia, and, indeed, to all its signatories, I shall devote the first part of my remarks to summarizing the powerful advantages of the treaty, not only to ourselves, but to the- whole area which’ it covers. The parties to the treaty include the South-East Asian nations of Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines. Apart from Australia and New Zealand, the treaty is supported by Prance, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The United Kingdom has important territorial responsibilities in the area, particularly in Singapore and Malaya. United Kingdom participation in the treaty, therefore, means that the military strength and political experience and influence which that country has in the region, will be available to support the new organization.
From the military point of view, a matter of great importance is that the United States Government has committed itself to come to the assistance of any nation in the area which is subjected to Communist aggression. This commitment to resist communism in an area which, to most Americans, must seem remote from their own shores, is an act of enlightened statesmanship. It is one for which we, in this country, should be most thankful. It is no exaggeration to say that the safety of the free countries in the Pacific and Asian region depends largely upon the strength of the United States. Without its support, we would all be gravely exposed to, and in danger of being overthrown, one by one, by Communist imperialism.
Many people in Australia still feel that we are a comfortable distance away from any potential aggressor. That is a dangerous illusion. Recent events in IndoChina have made us realize how close communism has come to our shores and how immediately it can threaten the whole of South-East Asia and Australia. As the Prime Minister said in another place on the 5 th August -
Communist aggression must be resisted at the right time and in the right places. To resist it, we must understand its character and its strange malignant daemon. It is not our business to convert the Communist powers away from Communism by force, but it is our business to help to see that free countries, including our own, are not converted to Communism hy force. For, as the area and population of the free world are diminished, so does the cause of freedom weaken and begin, unless we act, to die.
It is true that if Australia were under direct attack we would receive United
States assistance under the Anzus pact. But the problem of defending our shores in such circumstances and of maintaining our vital communications with the Western world would be tremendous. It is thus essential to keep the potential aggressor as far as possible away from Australia’s own shores.
Another important aspect of the treaty which has sometimes been overlooked in recent discussions is its deterrent effect. The fact that eight countries have undertaken to take common action to resist an armed attack in the area must have the effect of making the potential aggressor think carefully before launching such an attack. Moreover, the fact that the treaty establishes a basis for prior military planning and consultation ensures that the resistance that could be offered to an aggressor would be much more effective than the unco-ordinated efforts of the individual countries. Another advantage of the treaty, and one which may prove to be of great historical importance, is the fact that Asian and Western nations are joined together in an international agreement which proclaims their common interests and objectives in this region of the world. This is particularly important for Australia, because our future depends upon the maintenance of friendly and co-operative relations with those Asian countries which are our nearest neighbours.
The present Government has already demonstrated its awareness of this by the part it has played in the initiation and expansion of the Colombo plan. The South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty must be regarded as another valuable contribution to this objective. Although the present membership of the Manila treaty is not as broad as the Australian Government would have wished, its signatories include three Asian countries, namely, Thailand, which is directly in the path of Communist expansion in South-East Asia; Pakistan, which has already proved itself to be a vigorous and determined opponent of communism; and the Philippines, which provides a secure base for antiCommunist strength on the eastern edge ot the area.
The Manila treaty is not concerned with military security alone. It is concerned also with the political and social well-being of the whole area. For the first time in instruments of this kind, provision is made for common action against Communist subversion as well as against armed attack. The danger of the overthrow of the free governments in Asia by Communist-inspired treachery is perhaps greater than the danger of open Communist aggression. It is, therefore, of the highest importance that joint plans should be worked out to counter such subversion, and it is hoped that the organization to be set up under the treaty will provide means for doing this. The treaty also provides for economic co-operation. En other words, it acknowledges that, in order to strengthen the fabric of peace and freedom in South-East Asia, the parties must work for improved economic conditions. The treaty will not supersede the Colombo plan, but it is hoped that it will facilitate co-operation among the parties in finding solutions for such allimportant problems as the stabilization of commodity prices and the development of trade.
In concluding this summary of the advantages of the Manila treaty I would point out that Australia receives, as well as gives, promises of assistance. The treaty helps to secure us against communism ; it provides a basis for cooperation with our Asian neighbours; it seeks to promote the development of the whole area; and it should help to provide enduring protection against all threats to the peace and safety of the countries in the area. It has been said that Australia has entered into a wider commitment than has the United States. Basically, it should be remembered that Australia and the United States and all the other members of the United Nations are committed under the charter to maintain international peace and security and to that end to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace. The purpose of the Manila treaty is to bring into being a regional collective defence system which will enable the parties to discharge this obigation more effectively. It is of direct advantage to Australia that such a collective system should be established in the South-East Asia and South-West Pacific area because it is the area in which wo live. It is, however, not so important to the United States that such a system should be established because it has no territories on the Asian mainland. The United States is, as we understand it, prepared to participate in a collective defence system to combat communism because it regards the aggressive policies of international communism as a threat to its own peace and safety, wherever they may be manifested. As I have said, this is a great gain for the countries of the area and more could hardly have been expected of the United States Government and people. America has world-wide responsibilities and there is a limit to the extent to which it can participate in all regional security systems. Under the Manila treaty the United States is, however, committed to the extent of joining in common action against Communist armed aggression and in immediate consultation on action to meet all other forms of aggression. There is therefore every prospect that United States support would be available in the event of any likely threats to the security of the area. For the immediate future, however, the only potential aggressors in sight are the Communists and if they attacked, the Americans would certainly be brought in.
In some quarters the treaty has been criticized for being too weak and in others for being too strong. The first criticism takes the form of assertions that the treaty does not provide for the automatic commitment of military forces. This is, of course, true, not only of this treaty but also of all similar agreements. The treaty makes provision for the commitment of forces as and when necessary. The decision as to what forces should be disposed in the treaty area must obviously be made in the light of the nature and immediacy of the threats to the area. The military arrangements made will have to be governed by military considerations. That is to say, forces must be placed where they are most likely to be effective in checking the aggressor. One of the great advantages .of the Manila treaty is that it -provides for private consultation and planning in advance of aggression. This planning will enable an assessment ito be made of what each party should contribute to .ensure the -security >of the whole area. Governments can then make their decisions. Moreover, .governments will ,be able to keep constantly under review the arrangements made in this respect, and adjust them accordingly ‘as the danger .increases or diminishes. In short, the precise degree ‘to which parties should commit military forces is not, and cannot be, set oust in ‘the Manila treaty. The commitment involved is a commitment to lake ^action to meet a common danger. The way in which this commitment is met can .only be determined in the flight of circumstances and in consultation with all the other parties.
The opposite criticism which has been made “is that the treaty involves Australia in a commitment for the automatic use of armed forces. . As I have already said no treaties of this kind commit any of the parties to the automatic use of armed forces. The Manila treaty implies in effect that the parties will use military for.ce if circumstances justify it. The decision .as to whether circumstances justify it will be made by each of the parties in consultation with all the others. The .organization to be set up under the treaty will assist in ensuring, by prior consultation and planning, that none of the parties are ‘involved in military operations for which they are unprepared and which are beyond their strength. The most important aspect of the treaty is that it testifies to -the willingness -of all the parties to give military assistance, when all else has failed, to any party that is attacked. It ‘is this willingness to take armed .action, if necessary, upon which the deterrent effect of the treaty rests.
It is clear that appeasement of communism will not serve. Aggression .must be countered by collective resistance, and the Manila pact was drawn up to provide a basis for this. With regard to the assertion that the ‘Communists will inevitably absorb the whole of Indo-China, it must be admitted that there is a grave danger that they might be able to secure control of these ‘states ‘by subversion and infiltration. This does ‘not mean, how- ever, that every (eff ort -should not ‘.be ‘made to prevent such an outcome. It would be disastrous if a defeatist attitude were adopted. Nothing could be more .calculated to promote the ends of communism. ‘Provided that energetic steps are taken by the free governments of the countries o’f Indo-China, and provided that they receive wholehearted -support and assistance, there is still a good ‘Chance that .they might be saved from ‘Communist domination.
There is one aspect of the “treaty to which honorable senators may refer, and that is its present membership. ‘Quite frankly, the Australian ‘Government would ‘have liked to have seen -more -of the free .countries of ‘South-East Asia associated with the Manila pact. The three Asian -countries which did accept the invitation (to ‘attend the .conference and which ‘accepted its conclusions ure, of course, important. Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines ,ar.e strategically placed to .recognize the dangers to which the whole area is ‘exposed. We are hopeful that when the new South-East Asia Collective Defence Council has demonstrated both its peaceful intentions and its capacity to promote the security and progress of the area, other of the .free countries of South-East Asia will be prepared to join.
To us, it seems ‘obvious that aggressive Communist policies are as much a .danger to the countries not at present -covered by the treaty as to those that are. Subversive .activities are being carried” on throughout the area, .and they are directed not merely against the remaining so-called colonial powers, but against the independent nationalist governments which emerged following the war. Attempts have been made to overthrow by violence, or to infiltrate and undermine, those lawfully constituted governments that are striving to maintain independence and advance the welfare of their people. In recent years, the governments of these countries have taken increasingly active measures to counter such Communist opposition and subversion. However, perhaps by reason of the history of their own struggles for independence, some of the free countries of ‘South-East
Asia are suspicious of anything that might be described as Western interference. We can only repeat that adherence of the greatest possible number of free peoples- of Asia to the purposes of the- South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty is something that we would welcome and support. To us, the inescapable lesson of two world wars has been that security must be gained through cooperative efforts-.
It is fair to say that if an effective system of collective- defence and the will to act had existed in Europe prior to 1939, World War II. might never have occurred. The realization of this gave rile main impetus to the establishment of cbe United Nations and the machinery 1’aid down in the United Nations Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security. It led, also, to the development of a number of regional collective defence systems’ within the framework of the United Nations Charter.
There is, first, the North Atlantic Treaty organization. This organization provides for the pooling of the military resources of fourteen nations’ and it has been the principal factor in- checking- the expansion of Communist imperialism in Europe; A similar system of collective security was established in North and South America under the Rio pact, and this has brought an unusual degree of security to what was formerly a very turbulent part of the world1. A collective security agreement of particular interest to- Australia, is, of course, the Anzus pact. I need not remind honorable- senators that the preservation of the Anzus treaty 13 one1 of the cardinal principles of Australia’s foreign policy: To this chain of collective defence systems- the Manila treaty adds another link and I am confident that it will prove- a strong and durable one.
In the hope that it might be useful to honorable senators’, I now propose to give a brief analysis of the principal1 aspects of each- article of the treaty. The preamble of the treaty sets out its purposes. Its’ main importance is that it makes clear that it is in full conformity with the* Charter of the United Nations amd is entirely non-aggressive in character. It also indicates that the parties are determined to uphold the prin ciples’ of democracy and liberty and to promote the political, social and economic advancement of all the countries of the area.
Article I. of the treaty is in similar form in both the North Atlantic treaty and the Anzus pact. The reference to the United Nations is included in an article of the treaty to give operative effect to the undertaking of the parties that they will abide by the principles of the charter for the peaceful settlement of disputes. This, of course, includes disputes among themselves as well as with parties outside the treaty.
The key phrase in Article II. is the reference to mutual aid. The intention of this provision is that the parties should assist one another, not only in increasing their armed strength, but in developing their capacities to counter internal disorder arising from- subversive activities: This means that the less wellequipped States should have increased prospects of receiving aid from those parties in a1 position to- provide it.
Article III. makes specific provision foi- co-opera’tion in the economic field. It demonstrates that the purpose- of the treaty is not only to increase the military strength of the countries in the area but to promote their economic well-being. I wish to emphasize, however-, that it is not contemplated that the new organization would supersede the Colombo plan. The right honorable the Minister for External Affairs made it clear, both, prior to and during, the negotiations that led up to the signing of the treaty, that the Aus>tralian Government was anxious that the independent operation of the Colombo plan- should not in. any way be affected. It is hoped that; the new organization’ will concern itself, not so much, with the kind of economic development aid and technical assistance that is now channelled to the South and. South-East: Asia area under the Colombo plan, but rather with co-ordinating the economic policies of the parties, and with developing plans for the solution of such vital problems as maintaining the stability of world prices for the main commodities produced! in the area.
Article IV.. of the treaty is the. principal operative article in regard to the- military and security aspects. Its provision may be summarized as follows: -
Article V. makes provision for the establishment of machinery for consultations and planning. No decisions were made at Manila as to the precise form this organization would take, but it is hoped that a preliminary meeting of the council will take place in the near future to discuss the matter. The Government’s view is that there should be planning machinery for - (a) Military matters; (b) economic matters; and (c) measures to combat Communist subversive activities.
The Government believes that the establishment of such machinery is a matter of urgency and it is hoped that it will be possible to proceed with the preliminary steps without waiting for the formal ratifications of all the signatories to the treaty.
Article VI. affirms that the Manila treaty does not involve any commitments inconsistent with its obligations under the United Nations Charter or under any other existing international agreements to which the parties adhere. This article makes it clear, for example, that the Anzus pact is not inconsistent with the Manila treaty. The article also indicates that none of the parties will in future enter into international engagements which might be in conflict with the treaty.
Article VII. reflects the wish expressed by all the present parties to the treaty that other countries in the area should join it. It is hoped, as I have said, that, when the new organization has come into being and has demonstrated not only its non-aggressive intent but its deterrent effect and its capacity to promote the security and prosperity of the whole area, those countries of South and South-East Asia which are at present reluctant to join will agree to do so.
The definition of the treaty area embodied in Article VIII. is in broad terms except that a limit is drawn on the north in the Pacific region. It was generally agreed at the Manila conference that a broad definition of this kind was desirable in order to provide flexibility and allow for future developments. It was felt to be impracticable to define exactly the scope of the area and at the same time to be sure that all future possibilities had been taken into account. The northern limit was set in the Pacific to exclude Formosa and Hong Kong. It will be observed that the whole of Pakistan territory is included in the area. It has been suggested that this might involve Australia in war between Pakistan and India. As the right honorable the Minister for External Affairs has said, it is inconceivable that either Pakistan or India would resort to war to settle their differences, or that Australia should ever be involved in military action against any other member of the Commonwealth. Our attitude in this matter was made known and accepted by the Pakistan Foreign Minister at the Manila conference.
Article IX. of the treaty lays down the procedure to be followed in respect of ratification. Its principal importance is that it provides that the treaty should come into force as soon as the instruments of ratification of a majority of the signatories has been deposited with the Government of the Philippines. As honorable senators will observe, clause 2 of the bill under consideration states that the act shall come into operation on a date to be fixed by proclamation. The purpose of this is to enable the Government to concert its ratification with those of the other treaty partners. Australia’s ratification will be lodged at a time best calculated to protect om- interests.
Article X. provides that the treaty shall remain in force indefinitely, and Article XI. that both the English and French texts shall be binding on the parties. The understanding of ‘ the United States is included at the end of the treaty and, therefore, becomes part of the instrument. I have already discussed the significance of this American reservation and there is no need for me to repeat the discussion here.
I trust that the analysis I have given will enable honorable senators to appreciate the broad scope and enlightened purposes of the South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty. I am confident that Australia’s participation in the treaty will mean not only that our own security will be increased, but also that our relations with neighbouring countries will be greatly benefited. The treaty itself is a sound and judiciously drafted instrument and should provide an effective framework for co-operation in the area. It is a good start, and one which offers much promise for the future. I am confident that, if it is loyally supported by the present parties, it will develop into a firm shield for the whole area and will draw within its scope all those who share with us the high principles which it embodies.
The Australian Government is determined to do its utmost to ensure the success of the new organization and play its part to the limit of its ability. It is not possible at this stage to assess, with any precision, the contribution which Australia should make to the new organization; but whatever efforts we might be called upon to make, we may be sure that their cost will be infinitely smaller than if the area were allowed to fall under Communist domination. I commend to honorable senators this bill for the ratification of the South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty.
.- Without waiving the traditional right of the Opposition to move for the adjournment of the debate on measures such as this, I indicate that the Opposition proposes to proceed forthwith with the debate to ratify this treaty. As the Senate knows, one simple purpose of the bill is to decide whether the Parliament will ratify or refuse to ratify the treaty made at Manila on the 8th September last, between eight nations. The truth of the matter is that the terms of the treaty now before the Senate cannot be altered. We must either accept or reject the treaty in toto.
Before the nations met at Manila, and in fact before the treaty had been reduced to writing, this chamber and the Parliament generally had an opportunity to consider the proposal for a South-East Asian security treaty. In this chamber on the 11th August last, I put forward my views regarding the proposal. I think it will be remembered that, at the time, I supported the proposal that there should be such a treaty and such an organization. At the same time, I suggested that it would be very desirable for the Government to consult with the Opposition regarding the matters that were to be projected into the treaty. I stated that it was highly desirable, from an Australian viewpoint, to have accord between all parties in the matter. I thought that some useful ideas might be ut forward by the Opposition, and I wished to avoid a situation in which the Opposition would be presented with a treaty and told, “ Either accept it or reject it. No alterations are possible.” I express my regret that the Government did not take advantage of the offer that was made by the Opposition. We are, in fact, confronted now with the proposition that we must either accept or reject the treaty. I take this further opportunity to urge upon the Government the desirability, in these matters of foreign affairs, of consultation, at the highest level, with the Opposition. If the Government sincerely desired to achieve unanimity and continuity inourforeign policy, that would be an excellent procedure to adopt as a regularthing.I repeat my previousassurance that, under thoseconditions, theOpposition would, at all times, make available its best advice in the interests of Australia.
Now that the treaty has been reduced to explicit terms, I can say atonce that the Opposition supports ratification of it. I want it to be quite clear that we do support this treaty. Thatstatement stands without qualification, despite the f act that we shallbecritical ofsome provisions of the treaty and that we shall offer criticism of some provisions of the bill, and even despite the fact that we shall propose certain safeguards for insertionin the bill itself. The treaty is in line withthe United Nations Charter, particularly with Articles 51 and 52, which contemplate the making of regional arrangements. I take the opportunity to comment that in 1945, Australia, through its Labour Government representatives at the time, played anot insubstantial part in ensuring that provision for the making of regional arrangements was written into the United Nations Charter. That was a part of the answer to the vetoprovision that disfigured the formation of the Security Council. The Australian Labour party hasat alltimesfavoured the development of regionalarrangements withinthe ambit of the Charter.
I shouldlike, first, to deal with the treaty itself.I do not propose to deal with all aspectsof it, and ifthere should be features on which Ido not touch, it will not be because I do not regard them as important, but rather because I am in agreement with them and wish to limit the scope of my comments on this measure. Thetreaty isof vast interest inthat itappears to bethe first attempt that has been made to join European and Asian countries in a security pact. There isaqualification of the statement that it is the first attempt, because if one has regard to what is nowknown as the Commonwealth of Nations, formerly called the British Commonwealthof Nations,one will see a pattern running through that organization. It was thanks to thewisdom, genius and timely action of theBritish LabourGovernment that India, Pakistanand Ceylonweregiven their independence. They were preservedas friends of the English-speaking community, particularlyGreat Britain. Those three countries voluntarily have remained as members off theCommonwealth of Nations. That is a matter of vast significance. Great Britain moved somewhatmore slowly in relation to Buirma and, unfortunately, that country has been lost to the Commonwealth. The fact remains that, to-day, the British are the only whitepeople of the world who have any degree of real friendship with Asianpeoples, and that was achieved through the Commonwealth of Nations. As that association has worked so admirably and effectively, I say at once that probably the most important feature of this treaty is the fact that here, in effect, for the first time in a written pact with definite, if not altogether clear obligations, countries of Asian and European descent have come together for their mutual protection.
– What about, the treaty we had with Japan prior to the 1914-18 war ?
-That treaty was not immediately inmy mind, but the treaty which the Senate is considering at the moment is of much wider scope. It includes three Asian countries - certainly not major ones, but with the prospect that other Asian nations will be invited, byunanimous agreement of the eight present signatories, to come in. After all is said and done, it is rather interesting to see, on the one side, amongst what I may term the Europeans, four English-speaking countries, namely Great Britain, the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand, the only non-English-speaking European coiMatry being France. On the other hand, we have three Asiancountries. We must admit at once - as, I think, the Minister didin hissecond-reading speech - that the Asian representation on this treaty is not strong, I join with him in deploring the fact that India, Ceylon, Burmaand Indonesia are not privy tothe agreement. There is a real doubtalthough the Ministerdid notadvert to it - whether, despite its signature to the agreement, Pakistan willeventually ratify it.
Zafrulla Khan’s signature to the provisional treatywasqualified asfollows: -
Signedfor transmission to my Government for itsconsideration and action inaccordance with theConstitutionof Pakistan.
Therefore, Pakistan’s approach was very tentative.
– Surelysuch a qualification could have been appended after Mr. Casey’s signature?
– It could have been, but the qualification is a pointer to the fact that Pakistan might not ratify this treaty.
– It does not gomuch further than the signature.
– No, but asthe signature of Pakistan’srepresentative was the only one soqualified, one must believe that the qualification was made fora purpose. Istate my own opinion, when I say that Idetect a certain care and timidity in hissigning it at the stage that was reached at Manila. I hope, most earnestly, that Pakistan will ratify the treaty, and that other Asian countries will join it. The Minister for External Affairs has acknowledged that he had made representations to other Asian countries regarding the purpose of the treaty and - without success, unfortunately - used his best endeavours to persuade them to join. Thetreaty, as the Minister has acknowledged, is to be of indefinite duration, but any party may terminate its association with the treaty by giving a year’s notice of such intention.
I come now to the scope of the treaty. It is limited to a defined treaty area, which takes in far more than the territories of the signatories to the treaty. It includes, first, the general area of SouthEast Asia, which, as the Minister has acknowledged,could include India, and extend over to the borders of Persia. It also includes the general area of the South-West Pacific, not including the Pacific area north of 21 degrees 30 minutes north latitude. Professedly, that was for the purpose of excluding Hong Kong and Formosa from the area that this treaty purports tocover.
The real essence of the treaty is contained in Article IV., as qualified by theunderstandingof the UnitedStates that is set out in the last provision of the treaty. As I see it, Article IV. setsup three separate anddistinct positions: The first is, that if there is aggressionby armed attack - Idirect particular attention tothose words - against any of the parties to the agreement, each party will act in accordance with its constitutional processes to meet what it agrees to regard as acommon danger. The second position is, that if there is aggression by armed attack against a State or territory other than that of one of the parties, which has been designated unanimously by the parties, then each of the parties to the agreement will act similarly, as though an attack had been made on one of them. But no such action may take place in relation to the territory of such adesignated State or territory, except with the consent of that State or territory. As the Minister has, very properly recorded, the fact that Laos, Cambodia and South Viet Nam have already been unanimously designated by the parties, aggression by armed attack - repeating that term - against any one ofthose three will oblige all of the eight parties to act.
An interesting point to which I think the Minister did not advert, is that it is not necessary to have the consent of a State or the government of any territory to its being designated. There is nothing to prevent the eight signatories to this agreement from nominating a State or territory as one, an attack upon which might in due course endanger their own safety. There is, of course, the protection that no action may be taken in the State or the territory without the consent of its government. But, I repeat, the eight signatories to this treaty can nominate any State or territory, without reference to that State or territory.
The third position is contained in paragraph 2 of Article IV. It states that, if in the opinion of any of the parties, the integrity of the territory, the sovereignty, or the political independence of any of the parties, or of any designated State or territory, is threatened either by armed attack or by any situation which might endanger the peace of the area, the parties shall immediately consult. That is the first thing, quite apart from action, in order to agree upon measures for common defence. In relation to the first and second positions that I have outlined, America, alone of all the signatories, has made a particular reservation that, in the event of aggression or armed attack upon a party or a designated State or territory, the United States will act only if the aggression is Communist aggression. In other words, in a very important particular, the United States contracts itself out of the obligation to act that is binding on the other parties.
– What form of aggression, other than Communist aggression, does the Leader of the Opposition envisage ?
– The Minister for External Affairs has acknowledged that there may be other forms of aggression. I invite Senator Anderson to consider the fact that governments can change almost overnight. A very sensational thing happened in Pakistan within the last week or two. There could be aggression from Japan. I am sure that Senator Anderson realizes that possibility. He would acknowledge, also, that Japan is not Communist. It is being nursed by the United States to-day for that, as well as other reasons.
In the third position that I outlined, the United States accepted the obligation imposed upon all the other signatories. There are some points of real interest in relation to Article IV. and the position that I have just outlined. The first is, that aggression by armed attack obliges the signatories to act. I emphasize the phrase, “ aggression by armed attack “. That is a form entirely different from the form to precipitate action that was adopted by parties to Nato and the Anzus Pact. In both those treaties, it is armed attack that brings the signatories to the treaty into the picture. For the first time in regional agreements of this type the thing that sets the treaty in motion and brings the parties into action is aggression by armed attack. I should like the Attorney-General, when he replies, to indicate to the Senate the reason for departing from the form of words that has been found satisfactory in the Anzus Pact and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. I invite him also to look at the form of words used in the understanding of the United States, which states -
UNDERSTANDING or the U.S.A.
The United States of America in executing the present Treaty does so with the understanding that its recognition of the effect of aggression and armed attack and its agreement with reference thereto in Article IV., paragraph 1, apply only to Communist aggression but affirms that in the event of other aggression or armed attack it will consult under the provisions of Article IV., paragraph 2.
I am sure the Minister has noticed that whereas under Article IV. it is “ aggression by means of armed attack “ that will bring the parties into action, the understanding of the United States separates the words “ aggression “ and “ armed attack”. It speaks of the effect of “ aggression and armed attack “ and later of “other aggression or armed attack”, whereas the operative term in Article IV. is “aggression by means of armed attack “. Apparently the United States draws a distinction between aggression and armed attack. I should like the Minister, first, to comment on the departure from the form of words used in the other agreements, and, secondly, to indicate, if he can, why Australia accepted a division of “ aggression “ and “ armed attack “ in the understanding of the United States, incorporated in the treaty, whereas the operative words in Article IV. are “ aggression by means of armed attack “, which mean that only aggression of that type will bring the parties into action. There may be some explanation for it, but I confess it does not occur to my mind at the present time.
– The Americans just took the terms “ aggression “ and “ armed attack “ and attached the reservation to each of them.
– I say merely that it is quite obvious that under Article IV. the thing that will bring the parties into action is aggression by armed attack - in short, aggression - but in the understanding of the United States “aggression “ is put on one side - it could be aggression by armed attack or otherwise - and “armed attack” is treated as a separate concept altogether. We find the intriguing position that in the understanding of the United States there ia a reference to “aggression and armed attack “ and also a reference to “ other aggression or armed attack “. There must be some reason for that, but it is certainly not apparent to my mind. I should be interested to hear from the AttorneyGeneral in due course the reason for the difference in the wording. There is one concept in Article IV. and two separate and distinct concepts in the understanding of the United States.
I come to the point that the United States has contracted itself out of an obligation to act in the case of aggression, if it is not Communist aggression. I have already given one example of what could arise from that. If Japan attacked any of the parties to the treaty, America would not, pursuant to this treaty, be brought into the fray. There can be no argument about that.
– There would be an obligation under other treaties, though.
– That is why I used the words “ pursuant to this treaty “. I remind Senator Gorton that all we are considering at the moment are the provisions of this treaty.
– America would be brought in if Japan became a Communist nation.
– Under that condition only. Let me cite an example given by the Leader of the Opposition in another place. Let us assume that, under the terms of Article IV., Dutch New Guinea were designated as a territory any attack upon which might endanger the security of the signatories to the treaty. I add that it may well behove Australia to seek that designation as early as possible, because an attack on Dutch New Guinea certainly would endanger our security in Australia. Therefore, the case that I am about to put is not one that is unlikely. Let us assume also that Indonesia attacked Dutch New. Guinea. Under this treaty, as worded at present, the United States would not be obliged to participate in action under Article IV., because the aggressor would not be a Communist nation. Indonesia cannot be regarded as Communist. I suggest that that would be a serious matter for Australia. It is an indication of a limitation that many people do not realize exists under this treaty.
– Indonesia is not a signatory to the treaty.
– That is so, but I am putting the proposition that Dutch New Guinea has been designated in the way I have indicated, and that it has been attacked by Indonesia. A designated territory is under attack.
– The honorable senator is assuming that?
– I am saying that Dutch New Guinea should be so designated at the instance of Australia, so I am not putting a highly suppositious case. I think we should move to get Dutch New Guinea designated. I have little doubt that if we did so we should get the support of the other seven parties to the treaty. If Indonesia moved against Dutch New Guinea, all the parties to the treaty except America, would be obliged to act pursuant to Article IV., but America, because of the terms of the understanding that has been written into the document, would not be called upon to intervene. I acknowledge that America would be under an obligation to consult with the other seven nations, but it would nor. have the obligation to act that is shared by those nations. That is not a hypothetical case. It is a case, as everybody knows, that might well develop.
I see a difficulty, arising from the American understanding, in defining Communist aggression. That is certainly not defined in the treaty. I presume it will be left to the United States to place its own interpretation on those words and to determine whether any particular aggression, is Communist aggression. I merely comment on that as an indication of looseness in the drafting of the treaty. The spirit of the United Nations Charter is the promotion of peace and the prevention of aggression from any source, yet we find Australia concurring in the proposition that the strongest power, not only in the Pacific but also in the world, shall act, under the provisions of this treaty, only against aggression from one quarter and not against aggression from all other quarters.
– Shall act in a particular way, in accordance with the provisions of Article IV., paragraph 1.
– In a way that is distinct from the way in which its partners in the treaty will be required to act; The fact that that limitation has been imposed upon the obligations of the great United States prevents us from giving the treaty our full respect and con- fidence. One can understand the American attitude to some degree. It has been put better thanI could ever put it by Morgan Phillips, the secretary of the British Labour party, in a pamphlet, written in 1952, entitled Problems of Foreign Policy. I ask the Senate tobear with me while I read a few brief extracts from that publication. Mr. Phillips stated -
Of all the countries outside the Soviet orbit, America is by far the strongest in both economic and military power. Apart from the other members of the Commonwealth and the small Scandnavian Social-Democracies, she is also the closest to Britain in political outlook and cultural tradition. Indeed, the Commonwealth itself could not survive a break between Britain and America. Canada belongs to the dollar world, and not the sterling area.
Australia, and New Zealand depend more on America than Britain for their defence. Not only British security in the short run but also the World Plan for Mutual Aid in the long run depend on American support. The question for any British Government is therefore not whether to work with the United States, but how to work with her most effectively.
Further on he says - the Labour Government succeeded in guiding America towards a better understanding of herinterestsand responsibilities abroad. From America’s intervention in Greece in 1947 up to the outbreak of war in Korea in 1950, America’spolicy in Europe and elsewhere was very similar to that of Britain. But from the outbreak of the Koream war onwards, America showed a growing tendency to act contrary to British advice, particularly in Asia. It should be added however,thatindivergingfrom British policy the American Government was often acting under heavy pressure from Congress contrary to its own opinion.
My next quotation is as follows: -
One thing atleast is clearly in Britain’s interest.. In most organs of co-operation between America and Western Europe America has prescribed for the European countries, including Britain, obligations which she herself was not prepared to accept.. This was not unnatural in. O.E. E.C., where America was the sole giver while Western Europe was at the receiving end. In the spring of1951, however., America for the first time put herself on the same basis asher European partners when, in the newly constituted. Finance and Economic Board of the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza- tion, she agreed to submit her domestic economic policies to collective review by all the members of N.A.T.O. This precedent should be extended.
Qn the other hand, America has been very unwilling to accept any permanent military integration with Western Europe, though she has consistently pressed the countries of Western Europe to form a closely integrated European Army amongthemselves. In September, 1951, sheagreed to cease pressing Britain to join such a European Army.
This document was written in 1952. Great Britain has since acceded to that suggestion. The quotation concludes -
Should Britain press America to integrate her own forces within a N.A.T.O.. framework along the same lines as America herself prescribes for the forces of continental Europe?
It is clear that what has happened at Manila has been a repetition of Great Britain’s experience with America. America likes its friends tobe bound but to leave itself reasonably free. That is something against which Australia might well have been right on its guard. There was no indication in the speech of the Minister for External Affairs himself on this measure, or in that of his representative in this chamber, the AttorneyGeneral, that Australia pressed America or asked America to accept an obligation common to the other seven nations. There is nothing to indicate that the United States, if pressed, would not have accepted such an obligation, and so left the treaty without the flaw on which I have been basing some of my remarks.
I pass now to consideration of the bill itself. There is not the slightest objection to the two main operative clauses. The first is that the measure will come into operation on a date to be proclaimed, and the second provides for ratification of the treaty. I do wish however to comment on the recitals to the measure. I shall read the first three of them to illustrate the argument that I shall advance. They are as follows : -
Whereas the independence and integrity of the countries and territories of South-East Asia and the South-West Pacific are threatened by by the aggressive policies of international Communism :
And Whereas those Communist policies have already shown themselves in Korea, IndoChina and elsewhere by armed aggression by armed insurrection assisted from without and otherwise :
And Whereas those Communist policies represent a common danger to the security of Australia and of the world generally and are at violation of the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.
I pause there, and I say that whilstI accept every word of those recitals as being true, I believe that theydo, in fact, misrepresent the treaty. The recitals give the impression that Australia is committing itself solely to resisting Communist aggression, whereas the explicit terms of Article IV. of the treaty oblige Australia to resist aggression from any source at all. It seems to me that the treaty itself is properly directed against aggression of all kinds, but that the preamble of the bill would convey the impression that the treaty is directed to the more limited purpose of resisting Communist aggression alone. This is a rather weak attempt by the Government to justify its failure to pursuade America to go the whole distance with the other seven countries, and it is in sharp contrast to what the Minister for External Affairs contended for at Manila. The Minister has already indicated to the Parliament that he and the representatives of the other signatories to the treaty, with the exception of America, objected to the inclusion of the words “ Communist aggression “ in the treaty. Yet when he presented the bill to the Australian Parliament, he began by reciting, as the whole purpose of the measure, resistance to Communist aggression. Let me repeat what the Minister said -
I do not attempt to disguise the fact the Australian Government considers that, in the world as it is to-day and with the situation that confronts us in this region, the primary purpose of the treaty is to combat communism. That is the view also of the United States Government, and at the time of the signing of the treaty Mr. JohnFoster Dulles made a reservation on behalf of his government to the effect that its commitment under paragraph I of Article IV. applied only to Communist aggression. His reason for doing that wasthat the United States of America had no territorial interests in the area and that it was only Communist aggression - aggression by one arm of international communism - which could be regarded as endangering the peace and safety of the United States of America.
I invite the attention of the Senate particularly to the next passage -
The United States Government had originally put forward the view that the text of the treaty itself should refer specifically to Communist aggression: That limitation was opposed by other delegations at Manila on the grounds that it might be regarded, particularly by Asian opinion, as unnecessarily provocative. Moreover, it was felt that from a long-range viewpoint it was desirable that the treaty should be designed to combat all forms of aggression, which is the objective to which we are already committed under the United Nations Charter: However, while it was recognized that communism is the only present danger in Asia, we cannot be sure that threats from other sources might not arise in the future.
I say, therefore, that the recitals are a misrepresentation, and must be so to the knowledge at least of those who represented us at Manila..
– They set out the reasons for the treaty.
– The recitals lead up to what the bill purports to do, and it purports to ratify an agreement to resist aggression of all kinds, yet a very strong impression is conveyed by the recitals that the bill is delimited to a particular purpose.
– That is not so.
– I have read the Minister’s exact words. The Minister and his colleagues at Manila objected to the inclusion of the words “Communist aggression “ in the treaty, and I should like some clear explanation of why “ Communist aggression “ is featured so prominently in the recitals to the bill. I agree with the Minister for External Affairs that it is unnecessarily provocative. I put it this way. I can recall days at school when if a boy said,. “ If you hit him, I shall hit you “ it implied a challenge, and the chances were that the boy would provoke the very thing he wanted to avoid. On the other hand, if he wanted to prevent hostilities he would not make the remark so personal, and would say merely, “If any one hits him,I will hit them “. That is impersonal. There is a difference. Ibelieve that the psychological approach, particularly to the peoples of Asia, is of the utmost importance to a treaty of this nature. Many Asian countries are already highly suspicious of it, as the Minister for External Aiffairs has acknowledged at length. A completely wrong psychological approach has been made by the Minister in the recitals to the Bill. The Minister was right when, at Manila, he objected to the inclusion of any reference to Communist aggression under the terms of the treaty.
At this stage, I wish to indicate to the Senate that in committee, I or one of my colleagues will move two amendments to the bill on behalf of the Opposition. One will be that Australia should not ratify this agreement until it is assured that the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand will also ratify it. The Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) has rather anticipated that proposal by indicating that provision has been made that the measure shall not take effect until it is proclaimed. The Government will make sure that the other countries will participate before it will ratify the treaty. In my opinion, that is not an answer to the proposals of the Opposition. If that is the mind of the Government - and I am relieved to know that it is - it is an additional reason why provision of the kind that I have’ indicated should be retained in the bill, namely, that ratification should not be final until we are sure that our great colleagues, the United States, the. United Kingdom and New Zealand are also going to ratify it. It would be useless for us to shoulder, largely on our own account, the burdens that must be accepted under this agreement. We all realize that the real physical burden will fall primarily, and almost wholly, upon the United States. It would be futile for Australia to he in a pact of this nature without the United States in particular. In the light of political changes that have taken place in America since the treaty was written, it becomes more important that Australia should be assured of American ratification before lodging its own.
The second safeguard that the Opposition will seek to include in the bill will be that there should be no contribution of armed force by Australia under the treaty without the prior approval of the Parliament. It is unquestionable that immediately Australia sends forces into an area of turmoil or conflict, it will mean war, large or small, bloodshed and sacrifice. It is important that the Parliament should be told and should understand and affirm what is done under those conditions. It is also important that the people of Australia should be told, at this level, what is being done and why it is being done. They should have a full understanding of the situation. In the ultimate analysis, no government or parliament can go much further than contemporary thought will permit it to go. It is highly desirable that a government in the position of leadership should carry with it the people of Australia in all its major moves. The Opposition and the people of Australia would like to be assured that the processes of conciliation and arbitration have been exhausted, that all possibilities of diplomatic action have been tried, and economic sanctions have proved ineffective, before we resort to the ultimate and desperate expedient of the supply of armed forces and war. The amendments that will be moved, on behalf of the Opposition, will not affect the terms of the treaty. The Opposition proposes merely to vary the terms of the bill that purport to ratify the treaty.
I direct attention now to one important matter with which the Attorney-General dealt only lightly in his speech. That is the position of India and Pakistan. I agree with the Attorney-General that it is unthinkable that India and Pakistan should resort to armed conflict because of their differences over Kashmir, but let us face the facts. If Pakistan ratifies the treaty and is attacked by India, Australia cannot escape its contractual obligation under this treaty to act against India. The Minister for External Affairs faced up to that position as he has shown by his second-reading speech in which he stated -
In considering all the implications that this treaty has for Australia, we must consider what our position would be in relation to fellow members of the Commonwealth. I have in mind, particularly, the question of whether, under the treaty, Australia might be committed to taking armed action in the event of a dispute between India and Pakistan. I wish to state categorically that the Australian Government would never regard itself as being committed, contractually or morally, to military action against any other member of the Commonwealth. I find it impossible to believe that either India or Pakistan would resort to force to settle any problem that may exist between them. The Pakistan Foreign Minister was informed of our position on this point before the treaty was signed.
If the attitude of the Government is that under no conditions will Australia be involved against another country in the British Commonwealth of Nations, why was not that reservation written into the treaty? Personally, I would favour the inclusion of such a reservation. I speak for myself personally also when I state that it would be unthinkable that Australia should use armed force at any time against another dominion or section of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is useless for the Minister for External Affairs to state that we shall never regard ourselves as bound, contractually or morally, to take such action when we are bound as clearly as we can be, contractually, under this document should that situation arise. If we are bound contractually, we are bound morally. It is an instance of some degree of incompetence on the part of our delegation to Manila that that major matter ‘was not dealt with in some form of reservation. The principle of making reservations had clearly been established by our great ally, the United States. Why did not Australia assure Pakistan before signing the agreement? Why was not a reservation clearly stated in the treaty instead of Australia being contractually and morally bound to act against India in the event of its attacking Pakistan, one of the signatories to the treaty?
– Apparently it was missed by New Zealand and Great Britain also.
– Yes. But I am discussing Australian action and responsibility. It was a grave defect that the provision was omitted. It is no excuse for the Australian Government to say that other nations also allowed the provision to be omitted. It ought to have been included in the treaty, and this is one of the criticisms which prevent the Opposition from giving the treaty its full respect and confidence. However, in stressing whatever defects there may be in the treaty, I do not overlook its many good provisions. The Opposition believes that the treaty, despite its weaknesses, should be ratified.
I should like to advert again to what Morgan Phillips said in the document to which I have already referred, because the policy of the Australian Labour party is in line with that of the British Labour party in the matter of regional arrangements. Morgan Phillips said -
Throughout its history the Labour Party has always had a paramount aim in world affairs - to replace the international anarchy by a world order and to build a system in which disputes between States would be settled by arbitration under the rule of law and not by the clash of physical force. But unlike some of its predecessors, the Labour Party has never believed that legal instruments alone will be sufficient to produce a world society. Nations cannot be compelled to work with one another by any set of legal rules. But they can be taught to work with one another by learning in practice the advantages of common action for a common cause. The Labour Party has always sought to encourage nations to work together for concrete ends.
I repeat, that it is on the basis of that philosophic approach to regional arrangements that we of the Australian Labour party agree to ratify this treaty with its omissions and imperfections.
Australia is likely to give far more under -this treaty than it will receive. The only substantial military aid will come from the United States. I do not want to elaborate that statement by comparing the contributions that will be made by other powers. But it is completely clear that the main burden of providing military aid will fall on the United States. Australia will certainly be on the giving end in the matter of aid against subversion and in the social and economic field. But I say again that that will not matter if this treaty will help to establish a nonCommunist Hoc in the north as an umbrella for Australia. It is very important to our future security that the nations immediately to the north of Australia should not be under Communist domination. If that means giving rather than receiving, then, by all means, let us give. Whatever the words of this treaty may be, I hope that the signatories will approach their great task, not committed in their minds or otherwise to the inevitability of war, but with due regard for the possibilities of co-existence, tolerance and conciliation. The great task of those who are concerned with the implementation of this treaty will be to promote a positive policy in order to improve relationships .between Australia -‘and the peoples of Asia.
– It is no easy matter- to unravel the tangled skein of international affairs. In this field, as in every other phase of politics, I always try to keep before my mind the following words of Plutarch : -
Remember what Simonides said - that he never repented that he had ‘held his tongue, but often that he had spoken.
It is easy to assess the position of faraway events incorrectly, and I have often preferred to remain silent rather than express a firm opinion on ‘delicate and highly explosive subjects. However, I have .given some thought to the problems of South-East Asia, and particularly to the bill ‘before the Senate. This hill would probably never have come before the Senate hut for the fall of Preach power in Indo-China and the subsequent peace settlement at Geneva. Under the terms of the ‘Geneva settlement respecting IndoChina which was negotiated between Prance and Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia remain as independent and sovereign countries. Viet Nam is divided into two zones by a military line running close to the seventeenth parallel. It was agreed at “Geneva that the Viet Minh Communists should administer tha territory north of the line and ‘the nonCommunists the area south of the line. The agreement .also provides that free elections shall take place in Laos and Cambodia next year; also that the inhabitants of Viet Nam shall freely decide which zone they wish to live in. It was further agreed that general elections would be held throughout Viet Nam in July, 1956, under the supervision of an international commission ‘Comprising representatives of India which would provide the ‘chairman, Canada and Holland. That is the background to the bill which is now before the Senate.
Not only the Communists in Russia and China, but many nonCommunists in this country and elsewhere, harp continuously on the evils of colonialism. Many Asian countries owe their present advanced -development to the pioneering work of European leaders in their countries. No system of government is perfect. Not even under our own democratic processes is there perfection. There is always plenty of room for -criticism of any social ‘order, whether dictatorial -or democratic. Allowing for natural defects, I think that every intelligent Indian’ would agree that British .’administration of India had been beneficial and ‘greatly helpful to the development of India. It is true that there were mil-lions of hungry Indians at the time >of the British Raj, but the same position .exists ai-ow that India has self-government. But British power in India gave the people of that country security from invasion for over 300 years. Civil war bet-ween the provinces ceased and life and property became secure. British leadership made India .great. Britain moved out of India voluntarily when sufficient experienced and able Indians were capable of leading their own country. A similar state of affairs exists in Burma and ‘Ceylon. Two or three centuries ago there was a tremen-dons cultural hiatus in Asian countries between the very few people who were sufficiently -educated and civilized to take over the leadership of their countries, amd the hundreds ‘of millions of uneducated and uncivilized peoples there. The people ‘Of Asia, instead <o£ -criticizing colonialism, should remember that great European peoples have helped them to .build up their country to their present standard.
Over .a considerable period, -Britain has been moving out of countries which it has helped to develop. It has moved out -of India, Burma, Cevlon and Pakistan. According to Mr. Oliver Hogue, who cabled the report to the Brisbane Telegraph from Manila while the treaty talks were in progress, Lord -Reading, who represented the United Kingdom, informed the delegates from the eight countries that were represented at Manila that the United Kingdom’s ‘continuing purpose was independence for Malaya and North Borneo. That statement clearly indicated that the United Kingdom is prepared to abdicate its authority and move out of those countries when they have sufficient men who are willing and able to take over their government. The United Kingdom Ores made it abundantly clear Ito the world that it does not want to hold any people under its flag whodo notrejoice in that relationship, provided that the people ‘concerned have responsible leaders who have the will and ‘capacity to resist domination by militaristic and aggressive people. The United Kingdom would not be wise to move out of a country that could not govern itself and could not prevent some other aggressive power from moving in. I am sure that no part of the British ‘Commonwealth would want the United Kingdom to do that.
I am not here to advocate colonialism. Far from it. But it is well to show the credit side of European leadership in Asian countries, even if some dark spots may appear here and there. There is another form of colonialism about which we hear very little. Many believers in democracy in our midst are prepared to join with Communists in denouncing colonialism in Asia. Little is heard in denunciation of the sweeping conquests of Soviet colonialism that have resulted in the occupation anddomination of great European States. It is important, therefore, that we should keep this issue of colonialism in the right perspective.
When we get down to therealities of the present position in South-East Asia, I fear the spread of communism, by means of subversion on the part of ‘China, far more than I fear open aggressive warfare. Indeed, the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer), in introducing the bill to-day, sounded the same warning note. Helaid particular ‘emphasis on the dangers of subversion.
– Who is going to stop it?
– If the honorable senator studies the terms of the bill, particularly the clauses of the treaty, he will find that measures are being taken by the contracting parties, as far as is humanly possible within their own countries, to resist subversion. Press reportswhich emanated from Manila on the6th September last stated that the treaty talks in Manila opened against a background of alarming intelligence reports to the effect that there was a fifth ‘column of 6,000,000 Chinese in South-East Asia. Senator Felis Berto Verano, of the Philippines Parliament, said, “ They are swarming ‘everywhere ‘”. A press message stated that it was felt in Manila that free Viet Warn would fall to Communist infiltration before the elections scheduled fornext year took place. In addition, the North American Newspaper Alliance correspondent, telegraphing from Hong Kong on the l0th October last, stated that China was training and equipping twelve to fifteen infantry regiments for a BurmeseCommunistarmy, and that trained Burmese graduates were being sent out to spread a web of subversion throughout Burma.
I am prepared to say that these newspaper reports could beexaggerated, but I rather doubt that that is the case, because Prince Wan,of Thailand, told the United Nations General Assembly in New York, on Tuesday, the 28thSeptember, that hisGovernment believed that a large-scale infiltration from the Yunnan province ofChina, through Viet Minh, was being prepared. Prince Wan also stated that his Government reserved the right to ask the ‘Security Council of the United Nations to send a peace observation commission to patrol the Thailand borders with Indo-China. Prince Wan urged the United Nations to study subversion which, the Prince stated, constituted a regional danger for his country as well as for other countries. Surely nobody is more competent to state the facts of the case than he is.
– Who is he.?
– He is one of the ruling princes of Thailand,and he representsthat country before the United Nations. He knows what is going on in his country. When he calls on the United Nations for a peace observation commission to go to his country to study the positionon the spot and report back to the United Nations, he is holding to his national lifeline. He fears the effects of subversion which derives, of ‘course, from Chinese backing and support and which, in no wise, violates the ‘Geneva peace settlement, which provides against aggression by warfare.
– Prince Wan did that at the request of his Government, not as an individual.
– As SenatorGorton has pointed out, the Prince appeared before the United Nations as the representative of the Government of Thailand.
As far as I understand the position, tile central figure in the red threat to Thailand is the Chinese puppet leader of the Free Thai movement, Pridi Phanmonyong, who operates from Yunnan and is said to be organizing the training of 15,000 pro-Communist Thais who will be released in Thailand for the purpose of subverting the people of that country in favour of closer friendship with China and the Viet Minh, but, at the same time, observing the Geneva agreement by refraining from military aggression in South-East Asia. This does not dispose of the dangers of infiltration, subversion and civil strife promoted by Communist party members in non-Communist States, and encouraged and backed by reel China. I, therefore, fear that nonCommunist governments amongst the SouthEast Asian countries stand in considerable danger, whether they have entered into the Manila treaty obligations or whether they stand aside from it, from this movement, which follows the usual pattern of Communist expansion. Article II. of the treaty now before the Senate recognizes the risks of subversion and calls on the parties to the treaty to take counter measures. As I said a little while ago, this provision of the treaty may well impose the most important task on the contracting parties.
I rather thought that the Colombo powers, India, Burma, Ceylon, Indonesia and Pakistan, would be impressed with the dangers of Communist expansion in neighbouring Asian areas without actual armed aggression by China, and that they would have seen the advantage of joining with those States which have entered into the Manila treaty. The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Nehru, who, I think every honorable senator must agree, is one of the outstanding world personalities of our time, and who has profound influence throughout Asia, is reported to have said that Seato at present would do more harm than any good it might do in the future. No doubt that statement influenced powerfully the political leaders of Burma, Ceylon and Indonesia. In making that statement, Mr. Nehru was standing on five principles which were agreed to by himself and Mr. Chou-En-Lai, the Chinese
Premier, when he visited Delhi on his return from Geneva. The principles adopted by the Prime Minister of India and the Premier of China were - (1) Peaceful co-existence; (2) noninterference in internal affairs; (3) mutual respect for territorial integrity; (4) sovereignty and equality; and (5) nonaggression. I am bound to say that those are good principles and that the Indian leader must have been impressed very strongly with the good faith of the Chinese Premier, Mr. Chou-En-Lai. If the Chinese Government adhered, in all respects, to those principles for the next five years, that would be the most hopeful factor in the maintenance of peace in Asia, and also in the Pacific area. However, while I admit that those principles are sound and wholesome, I submit that there is another side to the picture. Mr. Attlee, the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons stated, when we entertained him to dinner in this Parliament recently, that he was convinced that China wanted peace. I do not doubt that at all, but I ask: On what terms? “We have not far to look for the terms and conditions of such a peace, because MaoTsetung left us in no doubt on this point. During recent talks with the Labour delegation from Great Britain, he demanded, as the terms of the peace in the Pacific area, first and foremost, that the American Seventh Fleet, which is now guarding Formosa, should be withdrawn, and secondly, that the rearmament of Japan and Germany should be stopped. He required, also, what he termed a more reasonable foreign policy on the part of Great Britain and the United States. Honorable senators may put their own construction on what Mao-Tse-tung means by such a foreign policy. Although he wants the rearmament of Japan and Germany to be stopped as a condition of peace, such a policy of disarmament is not apply to red China. The Sydney Morning Herald published a recent message from Hong Kong to the effect that the Chinese Premier, Chou-En-Lai had called on the Chinese nation to build up a powerful and gigantic army, navy and air force. He is reported to have made that declaration when delivering his first annual report to the new National People’s Congress in Peking on the 23rd September last. Apparently, he wants
China to have an even stronger army than it has to-day.
– On what day do they declare war?
– I cannot follow the cryptic reference of the honorable senator. Could any member of thi3 Senate, or any reasonable body of public opinion in Australia, oppose the rearmament of Japan, Germany, or any other country friendly to us, in the face of that call by the Chinese Premier? He wants the free nations of the world to disarm, while red China continues to arm. The same thing, of course, applies to Russia. While crying out for peace for the world, the Russians are building up enormous armaments in the name of peace. That is the sort of thing we have to face. In those circurcumstances, can any of us here reasonably agree to the suggestion of Mr. Attlee that we should allow Formosa to be handed back to red China ? Formosa is a great strategic bastion against any southward advance by the Communists, and there has been no agreement to give back Formosa to Communist China. I do not think that consideration should be given to handing back Formosa to the Chinese Communists until red China’s intentions become clear.
When the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Nehru, visited China last month, he went as a. firm advocate of peace in the world, particularly in Asia. Referring to his visit, the Brisbane Sunday Mail, of the 31st October, reprinted the following article, which had appeared in the American journal Time: -
The Chinese Communist leaders paraded long lines of red infantrymen before India’s man of peace. The Chinese leaders made sure that Mr. Nehru mct the Dalai Lama of Tibet, whose country red China conquered in 1950, despite strong public protests by Mr. Nehru. In the long hours of private talk with the Indian Prime Minister, neither Mao, nor Chou showed any interest at all in Mr. Nehru’s proposal for an “ Area of Peace “. Instead, the Chinese leaders wanted to enlist Mr. Nehru in a “ joint declaration “ that would pledge “ protection “ to Asia against Western interference.
But Mr. Nehru did not fall for that suggestion. His final words before leaving China reflected his disappointment at the trends in that country. According to the article, he said -
Any attempt to impose the will of one nation upon another must endanger peace. I earnestly hope the people of China will co-operate.
Furthermore, the Hindustan Times stated, whilst Mr. Nehru was in China -
It would be something unusual for Communist China to reject the traditional Communist pattern of expansion.
That lends weight to the opinion that was expressed by the American journal Time, and points strongly to the need for collective security measures.
At present, there is a de facto - if not a de jure - government in China. In view of Chinese aggression in Korea and Tibet, and the fact that China was the springboard for the Communists who invaded Indo-China, it is too soon to expect this country to recognize red China. Peace has not yet been signed in Korea, and the ink is scarcely dry on the Geneva agreement in relation to Indo-China. China professes good faith in its desire to maintain peace and the territorial integrity of neighbouring South-East Asian countries. Its intentions should manifest themselves during the next five years.
The admission of China to the United Nations has been advocated in many quarters. The British Ambassador in the United States, Sir Roger Makins, as well as a strong body of opinion in Great Britain favours that course. I consider that, to do so, would be moving a little too fast.
– But Great Britain already recognizes the Government of red China.
– I am referring to recognition by Australia. It should not be overlooked that the United Nations organization has refused to admit China because of its aggression in Korea. Furthermore, the Soviet Union has consistently used its power of veto to block the admission to the United Nations organization of such friendly and peaceful nations as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Finland, Ceylon and South Korea. If Russia agreed not to exercise its power of veto against the admission of those countries, we could reconsider the position in relation to China.
When Mr. Attlee addressed us recently, after his visit to China, he told us that Mao Tse-tung had made a request for a better understanding of China by the free countries of the world. I think it is fair to say that we all favour a better understanding of China, but- the opportunity, for us to. learn more about China is governed by that country’s attitude;. If China can prove that it wants to be’ a goodneighbour,that it intendstoabandon military aggression in Asia and elsewhere and that, in particular, it has ceased to. back and give encouragement to Communist groups in South-East Asian countries, I am sure that there will be a better understanding of that country. If the new China can stand’ right with the free world during the next five years, and’ set a course for peace and. goodwill,, I am sure that the people of other countries will regard that action as a basis for peaceful co-existence. In the meantime, however, it is necessary for the free nations, who have decided to resist further Communist aggression, to establish the necessary machinery to enable them to, do so. Therefore, I’ support this Bill, which seeks to ratify the South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty; and to establish a council to implement the treaty. I’ also support the military commitments’ involved in ratification.
The treaty is designed to ensure, the military security of the countries of South-East Asia, and, consequently, the; economic well-being of the. people of those countries. It cannot Be said too often that it is a mutual’ defence treaty. There is not an aggressive word in it. As its purpose is to protect the independence; of the contracting: parties it. provides that each’ of them shall give assistance to, countries within’ a. certain area; should they become’ the victims of aggression! The pact is not an alliance of aggression. It is specifically directed against aggression, and should; therefore commend itself to all countries which stand for international peace and goodwill.
IT should like to emphasize a very important aspect of the matter. I referto the fact that Australia,by its very generoushelp to the countries of South and South-East Asia, under the Colombo plan, has demonstrated clearly its desire, and the desire, of associated nations, to live in peace and friendship with all Asian countries. The generous help that:
Australia has already extended to backward South-East Asian countries provides the best possible evidence of that desire. There could be no better evidence of our bona fides. The introduction of the Colombo plan proved that we were prepared to levy ourselves in order to provide: economic assistance to needy countries in South and South-East Asia. In matters of this kind,, actions speak louder than words. By this bill, we shall increase our assistance to those countries. No threat to the security of any country that is in receipt of this generous help could; possibly be envisaged.. None of the South-East Asian countries which stand’ outside the terms’ of this: treaty have any reason to fear it. Indeed, they have every reason to welcome it, and I am sure that they will do so. I agree with other honorable senators who have stated that the weakness of the treaty lies in the paucity of Asian membership and I am greatly disturbed that, when the treaty was first mooted, it. was criticized by the Prime Minister of India-. It would be’ interesting to hear the opinion that Mr. Nehru formed from his recent visit to China. I wonder whether that great man of peace was favorably impressed by the things that hesaw in that country, or whether he felt frustrated and disappointed. I incline to the opinion that he was frustrated and disappointed. However; I think that the weakness that I mentioned will be overcome astime proceeds.
The strength of. the treaty lies in the willingness of the United’ States of America to come to the assistance of any country within the area coveredby the treaty that is subjected to Communist aggression; Therefore; side by side with the weakness to which Ihave referred,. there is great strength I believe that as time goes on more countries of South East Asia will recognize the value of the treaty. I should like to see many more: Asian countries subscribe to it because the idea of peaceful co-existence is an attractive thought. I think that future events in Asia will show that, that is possible.I hope that honorable senators will not think that I am unduly pessimistic, when I express the opinion,, based on experience in the post-war period, that international communism will not stand still. Some very great and free Asian matrons, which think that we are acting wrongly by -setting up a council to implement the treaty will, I believe, as time goes on, find it necessary to enter into pacts with other nations which want to prevent the expansion of communism.
Senator “WILLESEE (Western AustraIia) £5.15]. - I shall not deal with the technicalities and legalities of this measure, which have already been fully explained by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), but shall direct my remarks to practical considerations, in the light of the changes that have occurred in world affairs since 1945, particularly during the last few months. I am very conscious that in discussing this treaty we may be discussing something that will prove to be a turning point towards the peace we are all seeking. It is being launched in an atmosphere that is somewhat peculia’r and very different from that to which we have become accustomed. We have had -a global war, local wars in Korea and Indo-China, a cold war notable for propaganda and a period of what I may term conference table obstruction. But, at the present time, ‘because of the ‘Cessation of hostilities in Korea and the settlement in Indo-China, there is a new international climate. There is now rather more hope than fear. I -feel that we may have entered a new era, and it is in that fight that I want to examine this treaty.
We should be honest and admit that we are considering a treaty that was negotiated after an occurrence that was almost a defeat. I refer, of course, to the recent events in Indo-China, which contained all the elements of a defeat for the democracies. The French were defeated militarily in the field. I believe that hostilities were not continued there because of the fear of some European countries that, if hostilities were continued, America would be drawn in, and a local war, taking place far from Europe, would expand into a global war. We are going through rather a peculiar period. It may be a prelude to world peace but, on the other hand, it has some of the earmarks of a period of complacency. It could be that the Communists are indulging in a softening up process. However, during recent ‘times, we have seen the cessation of two local wars, a dying down of the cold war in Europe, and the suppression of guerrilla warfare .in Malaya. There is a period of comparative calm in Europe. Those ‘events may he a prelude to world peace, but it would be dangerous for us to become complacent.
I wonder whether, psychologically, the Australian people have kept pace with the events that have changed the situation that confronts Australia. Prior to the end of the European occupation of Asia - I think we can say that it has ended now - Britain had a standing army in India, the ‘Dutch were in control of Indonesia and the French were in control of Indo-China, but the European nations dominate Asia no longer. In some Asian countries, particularly Indo-“China and Indonesia, there is a political vacuum. The very isolation that formerly made Australians feel somewhat complacent, now presents dangers to us. In, say, 1930, we had nothing to fear from our northern neighbours, because they lacked the industrial capacity to mount a modern -war. but that position altered on the day that Japan went into Manchuria. In 20 or 25 years Japan was able to provide itself with the means to wage war with modern weapons and, with .slave labour, other countries could do the same. I understand that the area of Manchuria is equal to the combined areas of France and “Germany and that, properly developed, it could produce more coal, steel and iron than we could ever .produce in Australia. The Asian nations could manufacture modern implements of war quickly now., but that position did not obtain prior to 1930. But I think the most important factor that has made the present position of Australia so fundamentally different from the previous position is the inchoate .nationalism that was striving to ‘break through in the Asian countries and that finally did break through. It was still inchoate, but now it has a positive drive and leadership under international communism. It is probably the greatest force that is affecting the position >of Australia to-day.
I do not think we can make any proper survey of the Pacific area ‘or give reasonable ‘consideration to a treaty such as this without considering the problem of Japan. One of the criticisms I made of the Japanese peace treaty “was that it would force Japan back on to the four main Japanese islands. We have taken from the Japanese the other islands they held before the war, but the pressure of an expanding population will force them eventually to seek territory outside the main islands. While that position exists, Australia will always be in a very dangerous position, because our friends - not the Japanese or the Chinese Communists - might say that, for the sake of maintaining peace, we should permit Japanese to settle in underdeveloped and underpopulated New Guinea. I believe Senator McKenna was perfectly justified in raising the question of Japanese aggression. Japan is on the side of the democracies to-day, and that is where we want to keep it. At present, there is no indication that the Japanese want to move away from us, but it may be that, if the democracies, our friends, do not make some provision for some of the expanding population of Japan to settle elsewhere, the Japanese will turn to the two great nations close by, Communist China and Russia, which, for political reasons, would assist them to take possession of territory outside the Japanese islands. Therefore, we shall always be faced with a threat from Japan and in considering a treaty such as this we should be hiding our heads in the sand if we overlooked that fact.
One of the reasons why I welcome this treaty, and I frankly admit it, is also a reason why I was a critic - I think the only critic in this chamber - of the Anzus pact. I believed that a weakness of the Anzus pact was that Australia, New Zealand and America, three white nations in the Pacific, were saying to the Asian countries, “We want peace in the Pacific, and we shall enforce it by weight of arms “. I felt that was a completely wrong way to approach the problem. That was one reason why I condemned the pact. I condemned it further because, at the first meeting of the member nations, it was decided not to enlarge it. Great Britain’s application to join was rejected, but, although I have always believed that Great Britain should be in some sort of alliance of Pacific powers, I have never been completely wedded to the idea that it should be a party to the Anzus pact. I hoped that the pact would be enlarged to embrace some of the Asian countries. I have to admit that some Asian countries have been brought into this agreement, and to that minor degree, one of the objections that I raised to the Anzus pact has been met. I say the objection has been met only to a minor degree because there are only eight signatories to this treaty. However, it is unique in that it is a European-Asian treaty. We live in what is largely an Asian community of nations and, therefore, we have to consider problems of this kind through Asian eyes.
– Has not the honorable senator’s objection been met entirely by the provision that other Asian countries can become parties to this treaty?
– I do not think so. It is open to other Asian nations to participate, but we still have to persuade them to do so.
– But the fact that it is open to those nations to participate meets the honorable senator’s objection.
– To that degree, it is true to say that the objection I raised to the Anzus pact has been met. I think we become somewhat confused in our thinking about pacts in the Pacific area because we are inclined to relate them to the North Atlantic treaty. There is a vast difference between the two things. I criticized the Anzus pact because I believed it was based on a wrong line of reasoning, but the manner in which it has developed has led me to revise some of my objections to it. The original signatories to the North Atlantic treaty, and countries such as Turkey and Greece which came in later, were very clear about what they wanted to do. They knew where they were going. They knew that the only reason for the treaty was to prevent Russia from moving across central Europe into western Europe. Therefore, the signatory nations knew exactly what they should try to do. But the position in Asia is very different from that in Europe.
One reason why more nations have not signed this treaty is that we can never be sure what is going to happen in Asia. We do not know the kind of government there will be from time to time in some of the Asian countries. If there is a bubbling up of nationalism, we do not know whether it will come under Communist control. We do not know from time to time whether there will be a Communist uprising in one part of an Asian country and the growth of a true nationalist movement in another part. Those problems arise in relation to Asian countries, but the position in Europe is vastly different. However, very good results may flow from the Anzus pact by reason of the fact that conferences of the nations concerned have been held at a level below the foreign ministers’ level. Conferences of naval, army and air force officers have taken place. Such people can discuss authoritatively the military commitments that their countries may be called upon to undertake and the preparations that should be made. If there is a country that needs to make military plans prior to the outbreak of a war, surely that country is Australia. I suppose that what happened when war broke out in the peaceful waters of the Pacific in 1941 must be unique in the history of war. Honorable senators will remember that eight American battleships - I hope Senator Kendall will not try to correct me on the class of the ships - were sunk in one fell swoop at Pearl Harbour without firing an effective shot in the defence of the Pacific area. The battleships Repulse and Renown, which Great Britain was able to spare for the war in the Pacific, were sunk after firing very few shots in the defence of that area. The 2nd /4th Machine Gun Battalion, a unit which had been almost a legend in Australia, was lost and Singapore, which we had been assured was an impregnable bastion, surrendered after having played only a minor part in the Pacific campaign. So, we had the almost unique situation in which our naval, military and air forces were lost before being able to do very much in the war against the Japanese. If that was an example of military planning, all I can say is that future planning must be very much better.
It is true that pacts are pieces of paper and that pieces of paper can be torn up, but that is a risk that must always be run. The question that has been exercising my mind is just how this piece of machinery - after all, the measure we are discussing is merely a piece of machinery - can be applied in the realm of practical politics, to avert a war if possible, or in the event of a war, to provide effective defence. If there were n full-scale attack on us, of course, the position would be quite clear with or without a treaty. But infiltration is another matter. I notice that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) in his second-reading speech on this measure in the House of Representatives, left that problem rather in the air. He said that we had not learned quickly or successfully how to counter subversion. He went on to say that he had discussed this matter in the course of his visits to other countries, including Malaya, but apparently he has not found any way to deal with this danger. And this brings me to the crux of this treaty. We all know that, in the treaty area, infiltration and insurrection are most, likely to occur in Laos and Cambodia. In my opinion, the best way to deal with this problem is for the Australian Government to have strong diplomatic representation in those countries to maintain a close liaison with the properly elected governments. Those governments should be advised that, immediately they find the internal situation getting out of hand, they should speak to the Australian representatives. Australia would then in turn advise the other signatories to the pact. The position to-day is that we have one big power, Great Britain, on one side of the world, and another greatpower, the United States of America, on the other. Pakistan, too, is far away.
The other signatories to the pact are not as mature as Australia in the realm of foreign affairs. Therefore, we have a particular responsibility to shoulder. If we are to wait until matters are completely out of hand before we take any action, the pact will not be worth the paper it is written on. We are taking a firm stand in this treaty. When I said in a previous speech on this subject that w.e had to? draw the line, somewhere, somebody accused me. of advocating wai”. The Australian’ Government and the- other signatories to the Manila pact are now drawing- a lime.. But the machinery of the pact, must be- flexible.. It cannot be effective if it is to be left, to use the word, of the Minister;, completely in the air. Wc must encourage the. governments of countries such as Laos and Cambodia to confide in- our representatives the moment they feel that the situation may get out of hand. The signatory nations are bound by the treaty to act only upon the invitation of the countries that are concerned, so there can be no question of interference in the private affairs of any nation, but it should be made abundantly clear to those countries that they are in the treaty area, and that we shall do the things that they believe should be done. I shall refer to. one other part of the Minister’s speech. Dealing with the aid proposed, under Article II. of the treaty, he said -
It is envisaged, for example, that this aid might take such forms as the provision of training facilities- foi: military and police forces, its well as the provision, of equipment.
I should like to- compliment- the- Minister upon that portion of his speech. In the final analysis, if there- is to be peace in the Pacific region, we must train the Asian peoples- to- protect themselves. We have been assisting’ them- largely through economic aid, but such aid always carries with it the stigma of a charity: Economic aid is- only really good when practical farmers; are sent to Asian- countries-‘ toteach the- native people how to use the machinery that they are receiving. General Van Fleet set a splendid example in Korea when, he assigned, a special’ section of the United States forces to train South Koreans in their own battalions. Unless we give practical assistance to those peoples, we shall’ never get anywhere because there is always a tendency to maintain the status quo. One important lesson of history is; that peoples who have been subservient to other nations- for a long time are prone to. adopt the attitude “Let somebody else do it “. Take, for instance,, the Philippines. For years, the Philippines were under Spanish domination. Then they caine under American protection,, and subsequently Japanese rale. It. is-, only to be expected- that, if any other nation were to walk into the Philippines the people of that country would, be inclined once again to do. as they were told. One of the difficulties, encountered by the Philippines Government in its land reforms, is that foreigners have been working the land for so long, that the Filipinos are unwilling, to assume the responsibility themselves. Therefore, I believe that the section of the Minister’s speech, dealing with assistance to Asian, countries is. most commendable,, and. I hope that Article II. of the treaty will be put into operation with the greatest possible vigour..
Much as> we may be inclined to agree upon the fundamental principle of any treaty, there will- always be some divergence of opinion on the actual wording. The task now confronting us is- to determine- the best use that can be made of this instrument. I believe that it has three valuable points. One is the consultations that will take- place at the defence level, and another is- the mutual aid to which I have referred. The third is the unique character of the agreement in> that its signatories are a. combination of European and Asian nations.. The co-operation of those nations, should be fostered, to the greatest possible degree. The treaty is welcome evidence that at least some freedom-loving. nations have been able to close their ranks. If we are able to make the treaty an effective instrument, as I sincerely trust we shall,, it may well be the turning point towards the peace for which we all. hope, at least in the Pacific theatre.
– [5.40]. - I have listened with the greatest, pleasure to the speeches, of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), Senator Maher and Senator Willesee, and I am satisfied that thereis no important difference between- their points of view. That, I think, augurs well for the future. We may be getting’ nearer to. what the Americans call a bipartisan policy, or what I would call anational policy. I was particularly pleased that the Leader of the Opposition left us in no doubt on whether he was supporting or not supporting the treaty. I have read quite a number of opinions. on- the measure. Some of them have been expressed by members: of the House of Representatives! and some have been published’ in the press. Others; represent what tha newspapers call “ well-informed opinion in the lobbies “. These, opinions have, left me in considerable doubt on where, certain, members of the Australian Labour party stand in relation to the treaty.. Neither. the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate nor Senator Willesee has left us in the- slightest doubt.
The matter to which I propose to. refer first is one which I have mentioned before, but which, I am afraid, will come up again and again. I refer to Senator McKenna’s contention, that there should have been prior consultation with the Opposition, and that treaties, pacts and agreements with other countries should be made with the full consent of all parties. I think that is something, we should all nlm at. We all know of the unfortunate mistake made by President Wilson when he went to the Versailles conference, after World War I. and attempted to make- a treaty which expressed his own personal aspirations for the future of the world. He failed to take with him members of the Opposition, which was. then the great Republican party. Before the Versailles consultations, ended, President Wilson had been defeated and the Republicans had gained control of Congress.
– Why does the Government not listen to the Opposition’s view on the waterfront problem?
– I wish that even so irresponsible a person as Senator Grant would attempt to bend his mind, to. the importance of this issue. This is not an issue which we are debating in the ordinary sense. It is not an issue on which there is a cleavage between parties. The disaster that befell President Wilson’s party is an example of the disaster that may befall any government which neglects am opposition that may, within a measurable- time, take control of the . foreign, affairs of a country. As I pointed- out in a previous speech, in Great Britain it was shown by Sir Eyre Crowe, a great public servant who wrote the most .important document on. modern diplomacy that Britain had had a con tinuous policy for centuries. In some respects it had been continuous since the days of. Cardinal Wolsey, and in. others it had been continuous since- the Treaty of Utrecht. If the Australian nation is to survive,, it is imperative that we shall have one. policy. We may quarrel among ourselves,, but. when we speak to the. people outside, and particularly to the people outside the British Commonwealth, we should,1 speak with one heart and one voice. I have pointed out before - and I do not say this in reproach of Senator McKenna - that I believe that the machinery of a foreign affairs committee is the proper machinery for seeming that unanimity.. Whether the foreign affairs committee of this. Parliament as at present constituted is sufficiently well grounded or not and. whether we desire some alterations or not, it is imperative that the Opposition should be represented on it. If honorable senators opposite were represented, they would have opportunities to discuss these matters, and I know, as a member of the committee, that some of the points raised to-day by Senator McKenna, although I do not dispute his right to raise them, cannot very well be answered effectively within this chamber because, to give the answer which the Leader of the Government in the Senate could give to the Leader of the Opposition, or which any honorable senator could give to any other senator, would, I think, be to risk some degree of international ill-will. whereas this treaty is designed to gain international goodwill.
Sitting suspended from 5..J/S to 8 p.m.
– The Leader of. the Opposition in the Senate referred to possible consultation between the political parties on foreign- affairs. I believe that the only way to obtain really effective consultations is by means of a committee. That method has been tried and proved in the United States of America and, to a lesser extent, but certainly effectively, in Great Britain, France and a number of other countries. I do not wish to canvass again the reasons that were given by theLeader of the Opposition and others for not joining tha Foreign Affairs, Committee of this Parliament, but I hope, that supporters of the Australian Labour party will reconsider their attitude, and that all matters related to foreign affairs will be discussed by a joint committee in future. It is possible for the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) to talk with the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), but that is something between the two of them. Possibly in Great Britain there are discussions between the Cabinet and what is known as the shadow Cabinet, but I do not know of any shadow Cabinet in Australia, and conversations between the two political parties as such are impracticable.
If proper consultation is wanted before treaties are entered into, a foreign affairs committee offers one avenue for such consultation. Senator McKenna made some remarks about the United States which might be in order, if one were to read the treaty as one would read an ordinary piece of legislation - as though it were the Dog and Goat Act, but I think that they are not particularly apt in discussing a treaty of this kind. It is quite true that the United States has made a reservation, not in the treaty, but under its own signature. Senator McKenna referred to that matter as though the United States were contracting out of an obligation into which it had entered. It is important to understand this matter, and the only way to understand it is to consider the difference between the executive of the United States and the Executive in Australia. All of us have to consider our own people and have to ensure popular support for our policies. If honorable senators study the treaty thoroughly, they will notice that we have carefully phrased certain provisions in such a way that they will not bring us to a situation where we would find a big section of the public against us. The United States has done exactly the same thing, though in a different way, but that does not mean that it is contracting out of its obligations or wants to do so, or that it desires to take a lesser responsibility than we have taken.
The constitutional position is clear, and if my understanding of it is wrong, I hope that the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) will correct me. The position is that in Australia a treaty-making power resides in the Crown. Consequently, our Executive, acting through the Crown, may make a treaty. That treaty may be brought before the Parliament, but it is not obligatory to do so. It is brought before the Parliament as a matter of convention and convenience and to obtain the fullest measure of popular support. But in the United States, such procedure is mandatory. It is laid down in the United States Constitution, and I have taken the trouble to refresh my mind by reading a copy of it. The second article of the second section states -
The President shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, providing two-thirds of the senators present concur.
Before the .suspension of the sitting, I referred to the unfortunate experience of President Wilson in failing to take members of the Opposition with him to Paris, and in not consulting members of the Opposition in regard to the Treaty of Versailles, particularly with the accompanying provision for the Constitution of the League of Nations. He was thwarted because he could not get a two-thirds vote of the Senate for it. I remember those debates well, because I contributed to a number of journals and followed the debates closely. I remember that a number of senators opposed the President, some for patriotic reasons and some for rather petty political reasons. One of them was the famous Henry -Cabot Lodge, father of the present .Senator Lodge, who is a man of more liberal thinking. Henry Lodge and a few others determined to beat the President, and they did so. The result was American isolation up to the period of World War LT. We must remember those matters in considering our foreign policy. We cannot blame the United States for taking a course which might appear, at first blush, to be guided by some political expediency. Political expediency may be a bad thing if the end in view is bad, but it may be a good thing if the end in view is good. A man who has to carry a measure before the country, who has to get his countrymen to support a treaty, must have regard to all the possible causes of offence and must not allow himself, either through pride or a false opinion of what is righteous, to ignore the prejudices of others. We must confess - and it is not a reason for shame - that politics is largely compromise and getting people of different points of view to work together. If it is done for a mean and base end it is a bad thing, but if it is done for a good end, it is not bad.
It is thoroughly good for us and the people of the United States to have this treaty. We should not look a gift horse in the mouth. Who is going to get most out of this treaty? Are we or the United States? Certainly we are. We might be useful to the Americans in a war. We would be prepared to do our part, but if we consider soberly our weight in the world compared with that of the United States, we shall see that it is foolish of ns to quibble and pick little holes. This treaty is something that has to get the support, not only of the United States but also of other nations, including the two great European nations, great Britain and France, some Asian nations, and our fellow dominion of New Zealand. It would be impossible to get such a treaty through unless it were acceptable to every country. In a dictatorship or a backward country, that might mean the consent of a few people. In countries like the United States, Great Britain, Australia and France, it means the support of the majority. It means the support, to begin with, of an intelligent majority and, after that, of a majority which might be unintelligent. That is the answer to many of the points that have been raised by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. I think it is quite unfair to speak of the United States as “ contracting out “ and ourselves as assuming greater responsibilities.
We have entered into an agreement against aggression. Under the treaty, the United States has clone that also, but in a separate document it has explained that it means Communist aggression. That term “ Communist aggression “ is necessary to win the support of the majority of the United States Senate and a majority of the American people. Why not ? We are close to Asia. We are in fear of ‘anything that might come from Asia in the shape of aggression. The United States is not. The average American is afraid of
Communist aggression only. Honorable senators on the Opposition side have referred to Japan and they have said that the average Australian believes that Japan is still a potential menace. It has been said that this treaty is not directed against Japan on the part of the United States. That is true, but how foolish it would be for the United States to direct it against Japan. After all, the Americans have taken Japan under their wing. They might be a little credulous in what they have done for Japan. Some of them might believe that they have changed the hearts and minds of the Japanese in a short period and we are sure that they have not, but the Americans have undertaken to set Japan on its feet, to ensure that its economy is sound, to rearm Japan. The United States has also taken admirable measures to ensure that this assistance will not be abused. If honorable senators get a map of the relevant areas, they will notice that the United States has bases comparatively near to Japan and is keeping so much strength in the Pacific that there will be no possible fear of aggression from that nation for many years. Any aggression that comes from that direction can be expected from Communist Russia or Communist China. Therefore, it would be foolish for the United States to sign a treaty against Japan, or make any explicit reference to Japan. The Americans can be quite certain that Japan will remain on the right side. If it does not, there will be time to take other measures.
– If the Japanese do not remain on the right side, they will become Communist aggressors.
– That applies virtually to all the people in Asia. If they cease to be with us, they will take the other side and be, by definition, Communist aggressors. The Leader of the Opposition said that he was troubled about the possibility of a change of government in the United States. He believed that if there was a change of government, there might be a change of policy. I invite honorable senators to examine the possible changes qf government in the United States. Since the year 1860, there have been only two parties in the United States - the Republicans and the Democrats. The .Democratic party was in power during World W.ar II. It was the party that became internationallyminded. It was in power when the American -forces came to save Australia. Who in this country could be afraid of what will happen if the Democratic party gets into power again? We are not greatly concerned with the internal politics of :a foreign country. I believe both political parties in the United States overwhelmingly support this treaty.
– -Both parties signed it.
– I am glad that the Attorney-General has reminded me that both parties have signed the treaty, because Mr. John Foster Dulles and -President Eisenhower did not make the mistake that President Wilson made. Mr. ‘Dulles took Democratic senators with him to Manila. Both parties have signed the -agreement ‘and are committed to it. If there is a change of government in the United States, it will make no difference whatever to this treaty or to the friendship “between ns -and the great United States. I feel sure that the principle for which I have been pleading in this speech - by-partisan foreign policy through which the nation speaks as one - is so firmly rooted in the United States that whatever happens, they will never go back on it. Whether President Eisenhower, for whom we have the greatest respect, remains President, whether there as a Republican .or a Democratic majority in ‘Congress, or whether Mr. Adlai Stevenson or some other person becomes President, the result will be the same. W-e have nothing to fear from a change of .administration in the United States.
Although this treaty entitles us to American -support only if aggression can be defined as . Communist by the United States, the Americans ;are .already committed to support us against :any kind of aggression .under the Anzus pact. It does not matter -whether the aggression is from Communist forces, from some of the resurgent nationalisms in Asia, or from some ‘of the nationalisms restored to mi.1,1. taa-y .might. We are ‘assured of support. As .Senator Willessee has pointed out, American support is the effective aid. We are not despising .-an -agreement with other nations. I believe that in time when their governments aTe more sta.ble their help will ‘be of the greatest value to us. But at the moment the ‘“makeweight “ is American help, .and ‘of that we axe assured. There lias been so -much in common between the .speeches of honorable senators on both sides of the chamber that I do not want this ‘discussion to develop into a strong debate between senators on opposite sides of the chamber. This debate is valuable because it will enlighten the people on the value of this treaty. Despite the rather careful, lawyer-like criticism of the treaty by the Leader of the ‘Opposition, I consider that he has given it not only his verbal support, but also .the support of his heart and mind, .and I hope that every member of the Parliament has done the same.
It is well that the Leader of the Opposition raised the subject .of India and Pakistan .because some people are undecided as to the value of the adherence of Pakistan to the treaty and they are undecided as to whether or not we ‘are committed to give more than other countries will ‘give us. Pakistan and India are both, in a measure, within the British -Commonwealth. India is in .a most peculiar -and anomalous position. India is the one part ‘of the British Commonwealth which has refused to -give allegiance to the Crown. That -is .unfortunate because allegiance to the Crown is an unequivocal “way in which a country may declare that it is a full member -of the British Commonwealth. Pakistan has -given allegiance to the Crown. A difference between India and Pakistan which led to war could possibly land Australia in difficulties. As the Leader of the Opposition said, an interpretation of the treaty according to its exact terms might place us in a quandary. The Minister for External Affairs (MrCasey), rightly said that when we talk of aggression we mean aggression .’from outside the British Commonwealth. Suppose that two parts of the British Commonwealth went to war. That would be in the nature of a -civil war. Such an occurrence would not be impossible. People are still living who were alive when the American civil war was fought, and there have been troubles in Ireland within the memory of those who sit in this chamber. Any kind of war within the British Commonwealth would be a calamity. That is not the sort of occurrence for which we could provide by treaty.
Suppose India attacked Pakistan or Pakistan attacked India in connexion with the Kashmir dispute. It would be hard to define that as aggression within the meaning of this treaty. In such an event I think that every part of the British Commonwealth would have the right to make up its own mind what to do. What happened in the American civil war? Certain States seceded from the union. Certain other States were ready to fight to compel those which had seceded to remain within the union; many others were neutral, but finally they were dragged in on one side or the other. The Kashmir dispute arose almost as soon as India and Pakistan were separated and, whilst trained forces have been ready, war has not yet come. I believe that it will not come because there is sufficient sanity in both countries to prevent it. But surely we must not throw away the valuable benefit that we derive from the accession of Pakistan to this treaty because it might possibly confront us with a war in connexion with which we would find it hard to make a decision.
This treaty is an imperfect thing. All treaties are. I have accepted what is good in it. I do not “want to say very much about Senator Willesee’s speech because there was very little in it with which I disagreed. Like Senator Willesee, I am now much more hopeful about international affairs than I have been for a long time. Senator Willesee made comparisons between Europe and Asia. It is true that some Asian countries are old countries that only recently recovered the power to govern themselves and that some of them are new countries. In all of them there is a new approach to world problems. In Europe there is an old tradition and, despite their differences, peoples somehow understand one another. There is some analogy between the North
Atlantic Treaty and this treaty. The North Atlantic Treaty is older and has been more carefully compacted. But the important factor in both instances is that the United States has acted, first in Europe, and then in Asia, as a great make-weight. A surprising development occurred in Europe this year. In 1950, everybody was fearful of immediate Communist aggression and sudden war in Europe. In 1951, the fear had not died out. In 1952, it was dying out. Now there is a marvellous atmosphere of hope. Somebody has said that now, not Turkey, but France is the sick man of Europe. But France is recovering from its illness. Within the last few months Great Britain has given a guarantee which has enabled Germany and France to compose their differences. France has regained a strong and vigorous leadership. Whilst it has had to cut its losses in Asia and make some admissions of failure, it is, at last, facing its problems.
The agreement between Germany and France will be real because Britain and the United States will act as makeweights. France has great confidence in the United Kingdom. It knows that in neither the first nor the second world wars did the United Kingdom let it down. Some furious Frenchmen have said that the United Kingdom let them down but the great mass of Frenchmen and responsible French statesmen do not believe that. They know that Western Germany must come into the European defence scheme. It is almost a miracle that, within a few weeks, the Saar difficulty, about which France and Germany have wrangled for years, has at least received a temporary solution. Whether the Saar is to be neutralized immediately or not we do not know. But the French Government and the French people are becoming reconciled to German re-armament. There is an old story which illustrates the point that I am making. An old southern planter was asked whether he would go to the assistance of a white man or a black man first. He said that if it was a case of a white man and a “ nigger “, he was always on the side of the white man; but if it was a “nigger” and an alligator he was always on the side of the “ nigger That story illustrates a fundamental principle in self-protection. However much one nation may dislike another, there is a greater and more menacing danger at the moment and that danger will cement strong alliances both in Asia and Europe.
I do not think that this treaty will merely build up alliances which will lead to another clash. Provided that we keep our strength, we can hope for an immediate settlement of the great difficulties of the world. Since 1945, it has been evident to the meanest mind, and during the whole history of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics it has been evident to those who understood such matters, that the Soviet could not be appeased. It had its own interests and its own way of regarding world affairs. But if the people who govern the Union of Soviet. Socialist Republics are convinced that the rest of the world is not prepared to be conquered, reason will make its appeal to them. I ask honorable senators to support this treaty, not merely because it provides an assurance of the assistance of great, good friends in the event of war, hut because it provides, also, an assurance that the threat of war may pass and that we may at last see a peaceful world.
.- When I entered this chamber this afternoon at 3.0 p.m., I had definite views upon the treaty that is now under discussion. It was rather interesting to listen to the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) making his second-reading speech on the bill because it was one of the longest and clearest second-reading speeches that have been delivered in this chamber. Later, I heard the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) explain the bill in detail and some of the views that I hold have been fully expressed by him. Then I heard an honorable senator on the Government side express his views upon the bill. I thought that when I rose I would be able to speak without mentioning the bill. However, Senator Maher has preceded me in that respect. He also expressed views with which I agreed. Later on, after I had listened to another honorable senator from this side of the chamber for ten minutes, I decided that I could leave the chamber altogether and it would not matter two hoots whether I spoke or not. However, this is an important bill and for that reason I do intend to make my humble contribution to the debate.
I hold the opinion that the bill is not wholly satisfactory. When the AttorneyGeneral delivered his second-reading speech he confirmed that belief because he said, in effect, that the Australian Government would have liked more of the free countries of South-East Asia to have been associated with the Manila pact. Various persons throughout the world have expressed opinions on this treaty. One opinion was expressed by the representative of a South-East Asian country which is not a signatory to the pact but which, nevertheless, is in close proximity to Australia. It is a country in which a threat to Australia’s security may arise. I refer to the Indonesian Foreign Minister who said -
Such a regional defence community in Asia should be initiated by Asian powers themselves. For Asian countries, the problem was how best to develop a common defence based on unity of interest.
That is his opinion. He is an Asian, and he lives in Asia. We have an outside interest in Asia, and perhaps it would be to our advantage if there were something of the nature of which he speaks. As no move to organize such a form of collective defence in those Asiatic countries had been made, I feel that the European countries, which are signatories to the treaty, acted properly when they initiated the conference which led to this pact being concluded. Going further to the north, we find that Senator Claro Recto, the Philippines Government foreign policy spokesman, stated -
An alliance excluding India,- Indonesia, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon will not be representative of South-East Asia.
When we come to examine the treaty, we find that the signatories comprise five countries which represent the white races and only three . which represent the Asiatic peoples. I always think that international treaties can be compared, so far as importance is concerned, with trade pacts. When a trade agreement is being negotiated, consideration is always given to the goods which the various countries concerned produce or manufacture. A survey is then made to ascertain whether an exchange of goods can be made without interfering unduly with the economies of the countries. One country may be able to supply wool to another country in return for minerals, and so on. It is possible, after a full review, to arrive at a trade pact.
The treaty now before the Senate really has a dual purpose, which has been made very clear by the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) in his second-reading speech. I should imagine that one of the main reasons for the treaty was to ensure that the security of certain Asiatic countries, and also certain Pacific countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, would be adequately safeguarded. The preamble of the treaty refers to the aggressive policies of international communism, Communist policies, armed aggression, armed insurrection assisted from without and otherwise, and various matters of that kind, all expressions which indicate that there is a. threat to Asian countries, and also to Australia, in that regard. It may be worth while to survey the defence potential of the countries which are signatories to the treaty. “We may. perhaps, in a humble way, commence with ourselves and ask: What is the strength of our own defences? Very few of us would be able to make an accurate estimate, because we really do not know. In order to obtain a firm opinion on that matter, probably it would be necessary for us to go to the Minister for Defence, because it appears to me that it is only the Minister and a handful of public servants who know the strength of Australia’s defences. Therefore, we have to admit that we do not know how strong we are, when it conies to measuring what we would be in a position to contribute to a common pool of defence and comparing that contribution with that of some of the other countries which are parties to the treaty. Having satisfied ourselves that we are not sure of our own defence strength, let us then turn to some of the other signatories.
As we have always been prepared to co-operate with the United Kingdom, and to accept its guidance and practical help, let us suppose that we go to that country, point out the facts of the situation in
South-East Asia, and intimate that there may be a time, in the near future, when a war will commence in that area. Let us suppose that we want to know what the position will be so far as the United Kingdom is concerned. Of course, the British Government would be very reticent about such a subject, because it is living in a different part of the world from us, and it must do the best for its own people. The United Kingdom is very close to Europe. We might well be told that Soviet Russia, a very strong power, adjoins Europe, and that, for that reason, Great Britain would not be prepared to go too far afield. It might be pointed out that this is 1954, when Soviet communism is spreading throughout the world rather rapidly. We might also be told quietly that it would be a very good thing if we relied more on ourselves and developed our own defences to meet situations which may arise in the future. Perhaps that would be very good advice, too.
Having received that advice, we might then proceed to France, another signatory to the treaty, and ask what France would contribute to the common pool of defence in South-East Asia. I suggest that France would be entitled to inform us that it had just finished a war ia Indo-China, in which it had been engaged for approximately seven years, and during which it had not received a great deal of assistance from any other country. France might point out, also, that it now has very few interests in South-East Asia and that, as a matter of fact, it had its own problem of Communist aggression to deal with at home. France might say that there may be, in the future, such a thing as French communism, and that although it was more inclined to deal with problems at home than those of South-East Asia, since it had been an ally of ours in past wars and wished us well, it was prepared to attach its signature to the treaty.
We could then proceed to the United States of America and have a discussion with that country about its proposals in regard to South-East Asia. We could point out that, already, we have a pact with America, that we are always prepared to co-operate with that country, and that we feel sure that the . United States would be ready to help us again as it did so efficiently and well during “World War II. The United States might point out that, adjacent to it, there are two very strong powers, and that it might be necessary for American forces to remain at home; that it would not mind signing a treaty, and that if it were at all possible in certain circumstances to assist the other countries which were contributing their signatures to the treaty, the United States unhesitatingly would do so. Nevertheless, we might be told that, at th« moment, the United -States felt that it would be in America’s interests, and probably also in the interests of the other signatories to the treaty, if it remained aloof in that way. It might point out that it did not lack knowledge of what was being done at Woomera, for instance, and was prepared to assist in that direction. Perhaps we could then go to Thailand and other countries in order to find out what they had to offer to the common pool. ‘We might well be informed that they had very little to offer in the way of practical defence.
Having gone so far, let us come back to see what the treaty really means. The Minister, in making his second-reading speech, referred to Article V. To my mind, that is one of the most important features of the treaty. The Minister’s explanation of it was in the following terms : -
Article V”. makes provision for the establishment of machinery for consultations and planning. No decisions were made at Manila as to thu precise form this organization would take, hut it is hoped that a preliminary meeting of the council will take place in the near future to discuss the matter. The Government’s view is that there should be planning machinery for (a) military matters; (5) economic matters; and (c) measures to combat Communist subversive activities.
It is proposed to set up a council, on which there shall be representatives of each signatory to the pact, to consider military matters, economic matters and measures to combat Communist subversive activities. We may wonder when military matters are being considered, how the minds of the representatives will work, what decisions they will make, and how they will prepare their forces .to meet armed aggression. When it comes to economic matters, they probably will have a whole field of work awaiting them.
I said ‘a while ago that there could very easily stem from the present state of affairs in South-East Asia a serious threat to the security of Australia, and I think that every one will agree with that statement. In my opinion, that threat could well arise if we allowed things to proceed in their own way. I should like to emphasize that there was a time when we rarely considered the affairs of South-East Asia separately from those of certain European countries. For instance, if we had to think of Indonesia, we always thought of Holland. Similarly, in respect of the Philippines, we never thought of that country without also thinking of the United States, because there was always a relationship between the two countries. In the same way, we thought immediately of France when anything affected Indo-China. The relationships between those countries existed for years, and for that reason it was not necessary for Australia to consider those South-East Asian countries in relation to Australia’s defence. Our attention was always focused on Europe and the cleavages that existed between European countries. There was no threat from the South-East Asian countries. Due to political changes that have taken place in respect of those countries within the last seven or ten years, however, we find that, as they now have self-governing rights, they are able to make important decisions for themselves and to have those decisions implemented. As a result of the changing situation, Australia’s security could very well be threatened, not by internal occurrences alone but also by external affairs, as is indicated quite clearly in the preamble of the bill. But, if Australia, New Zealand and the other countries which are parties to the treaty adopt a proper attitude towards it that threat might be overcome. Therein lies the keynote to our future actions.
I come now to a consideration of the economic factors that might be discussed by the proposed council, which, I hope will soon be established and placed in motion, because there is available a considerable field in which the signatories to the treaty could perform good work.
I recently read an article to the effect that Soviet Russia intended to give practical assistance to certain South-East Asian countries. It is obvious why it intends to do so. “We have a very good idea of the kind of assistance that Russia will provide for them. It will probably take the form of sending scientists to assist in the development of primary and secondary industries, and Russian tradesmen to teach- the native populations the trades necessary for the development of their countries. From now on, there will be a match between certain Soviet-dominated countries and countries which constitute the free democracies, to gain the sympathy of the South-East Asian countries. Doubtless, Russia will promise them food and clothing, and, thus, a higher standard of living. It will profess to be bountiful towards them by providing them with many of the good things of this earth. I have no doubt that there is available a field in which Russia can operate to the advantage of those countries. I understand that many of them are backward in relation to heavy secondary industries. That is understandable, because many of the goods of secondary manufacture that are needed in Indonesia are manufactured in Holland and shipped to Indonesia. Many of the goods used in the Philippines are manufactured in the United States. I refer, particularly, to the products of America’s highly developed engineering and other secondary industries. Similarly, many of the goods used in Indo-China have, in the past, come from France. The manufacturing plants in many of the countries of South and South-East Asia are centuries behind the times. I know the part that Australia wishes to play in assisting the kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of the Philippines, and various countries in South-East Asia. Australia is just as eager as the other signatories to the treaty to assist those countries. As I said a moment ago, there will be a contest between the countries which have subscribed to the treaty and Soviet-dominated countries.
The highly industrialized nation of Japan showed, during “World “War II., what its manufacturing industries are capable of producing. In the not far distant future, certain countries in South and South-East Asia might become as highly developed, industrially, as Japan.
Indonesia could develop a high degree of secondary industry manufacture. The same might be true of Indo-China and the Philippines. As those countries develop their mining and engineering industries, they will probably look to Australia for markets, thus leading to an improvement of trade relationships between Australia and certain Asiatic countries which do not at present subscribe to the treaty. I think we all realize the possibility of there arising in South-East Asia a power greater than any existing power in that area. If such a power did not favour the way of life in Australia, New Zealand, France, Great Britain and America, it might lean towards communism, which would create another problem for us.
– It would be a problem of our own making.
– Of course, we would regret that situation very much. But, as I said a moment ago, if we take advantage of the opportunity that now presents itself to us to establish friendly relations with those countries by extending practical assistance to them, they will doubtless, in the future, want to show their gratitude to us. “We must remember that they were subjected to colonization for many years and., under that system, enjoyed certain protection. They did not even have to think for themselves. But since they have been freed from colonization, they have had to govern themselves and assume certain responsibilities. It could be to our advantage to give them the benefit of our experience. I recently read, with interest, a report of a speech which was delivered by Sir Winston Churchill in the British House of Commons after his return from a visit to President Eisenhower. The British Prime Minister said -
In the speech which my right honorable friend the Foreign Secretary made in winding up the debate before our departure, he used, in speaking about the relations of the Communist and free worlds, the remarkable phrase “ peaceful co-existence “. This fundamental and far-reaching conception certainly had an influence upon some of our conversations at Washington, and I was very glad when I read after we had left that President Eisenhower had said that the hope of the world lies in peaceful co-existence of the Communist and non-Communist powers, adding also the warning, with which I entirely agree, that this doctrine must not lead to appeasement that compels any nation to submit to foreign domination.
The House must not underrate the importance of this broad measure of concurrence in what was in this case the English-speaking world. What a vast ideological gulf there is between the ideal of peaceful co-existence vigilantly safeguarded and a mood of forcibly extirpating the Communist fallacy and heresy. It is indeed a gulf. This statement is a recognition of the appalling character which war has now assumed and that its fearful consequences go even beyond the difficulties and dangers of dwelling side by side with Communist States. Indeed I believe that this widespread acceptance of this policy may in the passage of years lead to the problems which divide the world being solved or solving themselves as so many problems do in a manner which will avert the mass destruction of the human race and give time, human nature and the mercy of God their chance to win salvation for us.
None of us wants to see any of the countries of South-East Asia dominated by Soviet Communism. If the treaty that we propose to ratify saves those countries from being overrun by the Communists, it will serve a very good purpose in the interests of humanity.
Senator WORDSWORTH (Tasmania) [S.59J. - It is not very often in this chamber that I find myself in agreement with successive speakers from the other side. Although, in some respects, that is a. pity, it is pleasing for us to receive the co-operation of the Opposition in the ratification of the treaty that was made at Manila. On several occasions, recently, I have followed Senator Benn in debate, and had the opportunity to attack what, he had said; this evening, however, I have great pleasure in agreeing with his remarks. I agree, also, with the remarks that were made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), although I do not agree with several proposed amendments that he forecast. I am glad that the Opposition supports the ratification of the treaty although, as I have said, that support denies to me the opportunity to mention several matters.
– I hope that the honorable senator did not intend to attack us.
– In view of the support of the Opposition, on this occasion, I am unable to attack it.
Consequently, my speech will be somewhat calmer than it might otherwise have been. This is the second treaty that has been signed by Australia as a nation. The first was the Anzus pact, which was signed not very long ago. Therefore, perhaps the Government can be excused to a certain extent if Senator McKenna is right and it has made a few slight errors, because those errors are due to lack of practice and lack of previous experience.
Before I discuss the merits of the treaty, I want to discuss the world situation and consider how it affects the safety of Australia, because the requirements of the safety and defence of a nation govern its foreign policy. The object of a nation’s foreign policy is to keep the nation safe. Prior to World War II., we were an isolated country. We are an isolated country still, but we are isolated in a different way. In the past, we relied on the might of Britain and we had friends all round us; but now, owing to the changes that have occurred during the last ten or fifteen years, we are. isolated from our friends. A few years ago, we had the Dutch immediately to the north of us, and British forces were in India, Burma and Malaya. We did not have communism right on our borders. Isolation was our safeguard then, but to-day it is a danger. In the past, wars were started in Europe and fought in Europe, but in these days the tendency is for wars to start in the East, and that tendency will become greater as the situation in Europe becomes more stable. It is becoming more stable every day. My own opinion is that, with the acceptance of West Germany on our side as an armed nation, the chance of war has diminished. I believe that the accession of strength to our side as a result of the rearmament of Germany will tend to make the possibility of war in Europe even more remote.
The world to-day is divided into two sets of nations, Communist and democratic. We have got to try to strengthen our side. To-day there are powerful enemies very close to us, and those enemies are pursuing a policy of aggression and imperialism. That policy brings them closer to us each day. During the last few months, the threat has increased at a rapid and frightening rate, as events in Indo-China prove. Modern weapons have been developed to such an extent that now we have weapons that were not even dreamed of a few years ago. There has been a speeding up of modern transportation, and the rapidity with which war could reach this country tends to make our position more desperate. War undoubtedly could hit us in a matter of hours, whereas previously we were comparatively safe for the whole time. During World War I., we were never in danger, and in World War IT. we were in only slight danger, owing to our powerful friends. Looking at all those, factors, it must be apparent to every one that the danger to this country to-day is greater than ever before in our history. Therefore, it is obvious that certain action must be taken to counter the threat, because we cannot just sit down and do nothing about it.
What action can we take? We can strengthen our forces, and I think we have done so to a certain extent. At any rate I hope we have, because we have spent large sums on defence. We can strengthen our ties of friendship with countries that are in a position similar to us. We can strengthen our ties of friendship with countries that are strong and willing to help us. It is our duty to do so, for self-preservation lies in that direction. The strengthening of our defences is a domestic matter which does not affect our foreign policy materially, although it does to some extent, because we cannot expect to enter into treaties with other nations unless we are prepared to accept our responsibilities under those treaties and shoulder our share of the burden of any defensive action that may have to be taken. We can strengthen our ties of friendship with other nations by entering into treaties with them. That is the stage we have reached now. Our object must be to establish a block of nations to ensure collective security against aggression in South-East Asia. I think that is a fair statement of the position. It is very important, so I shall say it again. Our object must be to establish a block of nations to ensure collective security against aggression in South-East Asia.
Let us see if this treaty stands up to that test. Let us see if it will help us to achieve that objective. The treaty has been signed by eight nations - Great Britain, the United States of America, France, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines. The treaty could be bigger. Previous speakers have pointed out that it would be better if the treaty had the support of certain other nations in South-East Asia, but do not let us think for a moment that it is a failure because those nations have not joined us. We have achieved a lot in getting some Asiatic nations to join us, and if aggression does occur I think the other nations which have not yet joined the treaty organization will join it very quickly. History points that way. During World War I. and World War II., certain European nations which were great believers in neutrality stuck to their point until they were invaded or threatened with invasion by Germany. Unfortunately, very often it was too late for them to. take the necessary action then. I believe that Burma, for instance, if threatened, would join us at once, and I think the same thing can be said of India and Indonesia.
Aggression can be of two kinds. That is something about which we have to be very careful in considering this treaty. Aggression can take the form of a straight-out military attack. That is very easy to define. It can also occur by infiltration or by the use of propaganda. Under this treaty, a council will be established to make plans to counter aggression. There has been a certain amount of talk about whether the aggression we are concerned with is Communist aggression or other aggression. I do not think that matters very much at present, because they are linked. However, that subject has been dealt with already, and I shall not elaborate’ it further. The council will have to prepare military counter measures against attack and allot economic aid to member nations. I want to examine both of those aspects.
I think there is sufficient military strength in the nations that have signed the treaty to enable us to achieve our objective of combating a straight-out military attack. We have on the democratic side the United States, Great
Britain and France, three of the strongest nations in the -world. In addition, there *.re Australia and New Zealand which could, I presume, contribute their quotas. We cannot expect much military help from Pakistan, Thailand or the Philippines. They stand to gain tremendously from this treaty, because it is obvious that we shall fight on their side if they are attacked. At first sight it may seem strange that countries such as Burma have not joined Seato for that simple reason, but those countries are sitting on the fence and are ready to come down on either side. I think that if I were in charge of the destinies of Burma, I should do exactly what the Burmese Government is doing now. Bight on my borders I should have an aggressive nation that could give me a quick and nasty punch. If I were the Prime Minister of Burma, I should not be looking for trouble. Therefore, countries such as Burma have everything to gain by sitting on the fence.
We already have enough strength in the Seato countries to make any Communist nation think twice before committing an act of aggression, but the question is whether we have that strength in .the right places or could get it to the right places at the required time. Nothing is laid down in the treaty about the forces to be provided by any of the member nations. Such things are not written into treaties. They are decided afterwards. In this instance, they will be decided by the council which is to be established and which, I am informed, will meet in the very near future. But, morally, Australia is affected to a certain extent already, and we should be wise to examine our position. We must be prepared to assume our responsibilities and to provide strong military forces if the worst should happen. There would be an obligation on us to provide our quota of help if Cambodia, Viet Nam, or some other country, were invaded next week. Therefore, we shall have to consider in the very near future whether we are in a position to provide the help that is demanded of us under this treaty. We shall need certain forces ready for instant action. At present, we have some naval vessels that could go overseas. Indeed some ships are already serving overseas, in Korean waters. We also have Air Force units overseas in Korea and in the Mediterranean.. We have two Army battalions in Korea, one of which is coming home. The question is whether we are now following the policy that we might have, to follow in the near future. We may have to overhaul our present system of military training. We may have to expand the Australian Regular Army. We may have to strengthen our naval and air forces. No one can foresee what will happen, but I can see it sticking out a mile that we must overhaul our military system. Under our present system we have a large number of men basically trained, but they would not be available for overseas service for quite some time. That system is, in my humble opinion, outdated. We must have a striking force of all arms ready for instant action and we must consider where those forces are likely to be stationed. We may have to station them in the north of Australia, or we may have to station them outside Australia. I do not know, but I believe that we must overhaul our entire military system.
So far as we can see at present, infiltration is far more likely to occur than armed aggression. I believe that the risk of armed aggression is gradually receding, and everyone will agree with me when I say “ Thank God for that “. But the further the chances of a world war recede, the greater becomes the danger of infiltration and subversion. How are they to be countered? That question is extremely difficult to answer. We as a nation are not skilled in dealing with infiltration and subversion. We have had no experience of them. Unfortunately, our opponents have had a great deal of experience in them, particularly in’ the last few years, and are past masters at the game’. We must learn from them, and if possible, catch up with them. The democracies are lagging a long way behind. The duties of the proposed council will include developing means of overcoming such difficulties, encouraging Asian nations economically, and helping them to .build up their police forces, and criminal investigation and anti-propaganda departments. We must step up our economic aid. That is absolutely essential. The questions are to w,11 at nations are we to send economic aid, and what doran is that economic aid to take? I believe that we should support the nations that have signed this treaty, even at the expense of some countries inside the British Commonwealth that we are now helping. If nations inside the British Commonwealth will not join in the treaty, we must consider whether we should cut down our help to them and give more to the signatory countries. Otherwise our economic aid to Asiatic countries may become a very heavy drain on our finances. As the Minister for External Affairs has said, we favour giving help on the lines of the Colombo plan. I had something to say about this matter on another occasion recently and I repeat now that the people of the Asian nations that we are assisting should know that the help is coming from Australia. It is of no use pouring goods and equipment into those countries if w« do not let the people know that it is coming from the democracies, because Russian propagandists will undoubtedly claim that the living standards of Asian peoples are being rasied by Russian aid. Apart from the Christian aspect, we are helping the Asian nations for our own sake. We want to keep them on the side of the democracies. If they imagine that the help is coming from other sources, we are wasting our efforts.
The eight signatories to the treaty include some of the strongest democracies and our participation in the treaty gives us strong friends. Therefore it must be to the advantage of the people of Australia. In the absence of a pact such’ as this, we could not be sure of help in the event of aggression. The treaty must help to stop the spread of communism in South-East Asia. It provides against armed aggression, subversion and infiltration, and it must tend to further the cause of world peace. Therefore I join with other honorable senators in supporting the bill.
– I shall first draw attention to a point made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna). This treaty was signed on the 8th September last, without the Commonwealth Parliament being consulted. Apparently the Parliament is expected to be merely a rubber stamp for the Government. We pride ourselves thaiAustralia is a democracy, but surely being a democracy presupposes that there is consultation and agreement before contracts are entered into with other countries. But here we find the Government, for all practical purposes, acting as a dictatorship. An agreement is entered into, signed, sealed and delivered and we are expected merely to acquiesce in it. Honorable senators opposite have shown their willingess to acquiesce. The Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) delivered a long speech showing theoretically that we are right and that some other peoples to whom reference is made, are wrong. Obviously, no intelligent approach has been made to this question. As I have said we are expected, as representatives of the people, to be merely a rubber stamp for the Government. If we are to agree to that system of Government, there is no need for us to be here at all. I object to what has been done. The Leader of the Opposition has shown the Attorney-General’s speech to be a mass of contradictions. Certain assumptions are made, and on those a case is built up. I do not accept those assumptions, because I believe that the Government is adopting a dangerous policy and one which will ultimately prove very injurious to this country. The Attorney-General, in his second-reading speech, said -
Another advantage of the Treaty - and one which may prove to be of great historical importance - is that the fact that Asian and Western nations are joined together in an international agreement which proclaims their common interests and objectives in this region of the world.
That is not true. All Asian countries have not agreed. China, Indonesia and India have not agreed, although the Attorney-General would have us believe by implication that they have done so.
– The Government has misrepresented the position. That is the sort of treatment to which Australians are subjected. If the statement was made in accordance with facts, it would have teen pointed out’ that all Asian nations have not agreed, although the implication in the Attorney-General’s second-reading speech is that they have done so. That is not true of the Western nations either, Australia has not been consulted as a whole. The “Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) constituted himself the Australian nation, and agreed to the treaty, hut the people generally and honorable senators were not consulted. On that point, the statement that has been made by the Government and by the Attorney-General is grossly misleading. I protest against that procedure. I could not imagine the Attorney-General applying it to individuals in his capacity as a legal practitioner, but in dealing with the affairs of the nation he has spoken ex cathedra in the belief that everybody is, or should be, in agreement with him. It might be said that persons like myself who are not in agreement are irresponsible and possibly influenced by ulterior motives. That sort of approach does not appeal to me. Honorable senators have read of brain-washing in the Communist countries. We are being subjected to the same kind of of brain-washing. In effect, the Government says, “Accept what we say, and agree that it is quite all right “. The Government has said that this must be done and that the Parliament shall be ignored. For all practical purposes, the Government is a democraticallyelected government functioning as an undeclared dictatorship. To the extent that the people of this country are prepared to accept that sort of thing, they must pay the consequences. With all due respect, I say that I do not accept the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), the Minister for External Affairs, the Attorney-General and other representatives of the Government as intellectual colossi who know all about everything. They, like other people, act within the limitations of their knowledge and experience. Beyond that, they are not more than ordinary men and women who take an intelligent interest in the affairs of the nation.
I was interested in the emphasis that was placed by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate on the fact that the United States will act only in the case of Communist aggression. That suggests to my mind that if a country such as Japan declared war against Australia for its own reasons, America would not intervene. If Japan attempted to follow the policy of America, and established in various countries armies of occupation, w ha.t would happen? The United States has armies in England, Japan, Korea, western Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, the Pacific islands and Alaska. Ostensibly, those armies of occupation are to protect the countries where they are stationed against Communist aggression. Actually, and in reality, their function is to expand and strengthen the policy of American imperialism and establish, if possible, American domination of the world economy.
When I suggest that that is United States policy, I am not suggesting that the people of America are responsible. In America, as in all countries, particularly capitalist countries, two nations reside in the one territory. On the one side there are the capitalists and owners of production who are in the minority. On the other side there are the workers, who are not owners and who are in an increasing majority. Therefore, when I speak of the United States, I have in mind the imperialists of that nation. J am satisfied that the wording of the agreement to the effect that the United States will intervene only in the case of Communist aggression means that the United States will not interfere in the case of aggression that is not considered Communist but more or less imperialist, or acquisitive, because that form of aggression will be in conformity with American policy. If that policy is carried out in its entirety, we shall find that ultimately we in Australia will be an economic colony of the United States. On paper, according to our constitution, we exercise sovereign rights, but in practice and in conformity with our economic obligations, American imperialism will determine the policy that is adopted. Senator Maher referred to what had been done in India by English imperialism. The policy of English imperialism was asserted also in Egypt, Persia and other countries. The inevitable reaction was widespread disruption. Those countries are now demanding national independence as against imperialist aggression.
– The people of Persia want the British back to help them to run their oil wells.
– The people have reached the limit of their patience and endurance. That applies to China also. If honorable senators read the history of China and learn of the extent to which imperialist powers subjugated, exploited and impoverished the Chinese in conjunction with the Chinese imperialists, they will understand why a revolt has taken place there. Behind this treaty there is much more to be understood than the Government or the Attorney-General would have us understand. Therefore, I believe it is necessary to emphasize these points.
The Leader of the Opposition has foreshadowed an amendment under which the Opposition will suggest that the treaty should be ratified only when the United Kingdom, the United States and New Zealand have agreed to it. The amendment should be accepted. But what proof have we had that we shall be attacked by Communist forces? All that can be said is that forces acting in the name of communism in Russia, China and other countries have acted against the system of government operating in those countries. The Americans acted similarly against the English in the American War of Independence. Australians have acted in the same way. The Eureka episode in 1854 was a revolt against the domination of English imperialism, to the extent that it was exercised in this country and oppressed the people. What has been done in China has been done also in England. The present state of society in England resulted from a revolution. Ireland was subjected to the domination of English imperialism for 800 years. Scotland has yet to revolt.
In a capitalist economy,, and particularly in the highly industrialized countries, the two mainstays are military and luxury expenditure. If military expenditure in the United States, England, Prance, West Germany or Japan were closed down, millions would be out of work and yet the imperialists claim that they want peace. They want peace on their own terms. The two world wars were the results of action taken by imperialist powers to expand at the expense of others. Lord Ponsonby wrote in 1928, The Falsehoods of War. That was a most scathing indictment of the part played by England and other imperialist powers to bring about the 1914-18 war. He has never been indicted. This year Rear-Admiral Theobald of the United States wrote a scathing indictment to the effect that imperialist powers were the aggressive powers who caused the war. Although honorable senators opposite have spoken of Communist aggression, they have not mentioned imperialist aggression. This pact will assist the imperialist policy of the United States of America. The United States has now taken the place of Great Britain as an imperialist power, and its policy is to establish and maintain, as far as possible, economic domination of the world. If honorable senators have any doubts about that fact they should read what the New York Times said about Korea. If American policy is implemented in Australia we shall find ourselves in the same position as the United States. I received a letter from California on Monday in which I was informed that 5,000,000 people were out of work in North America and that another 5,000,000 were out of work in the slave States of the south. The United States is the richest country in the world, yet it cannot sell its surpluses of consumer capital goods and it needs another war in order to use up such surpluses as they were used up in the past. That is the state of affairs that lies behind the American imperialist posturing as an apostle of peace.
No exception can be taken to the theory of the United Nations Charter. It says that the United Nations organization stands for the principle of one family of nations, not for nations organized under aggressive pacts. Chapter 8 of the United Nations Charter expressly denies the right of countries to form regional alliances which are designed to separate and isolate, rather than unite, the countries of any particular area. The United Nations Charter demands respect for the principle of equal rights and selfdetermination for all peoples, and it states -
All members shall refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.
This pact is a negation of the United Nations Charter. The Government cannot justify it. The Government’s policy of peace in theory and war in practice will do a great deal more harm than good. I suppose that this will not be the last of this kind of pact. The Anzus pact was signed without this Parliament having been consulted. Government supporters acquiesced in its acting like rubber stamps for the Minister for External Affairs. No doubt they will act in the same way on this occasion.
– I rise to support the bill. There is hardly need for me to deal with the remarks of Senator Cameron. Coming from an ex-Cabinet Minister and the leading member of the Labour Senate team from Victoria, his remarks are completely ridiculous, provocative and utter balderdash. Bus attack on the United Kingdom, the United States of America and other nations that have done so much for civilization was completely and utterly unworthy of an Opposition senator. His colleagues displayed extremely good taste because practically none of them was listening to him. I do not like speaking in these terms but I consider that I must do so because of the remarks that’ he made.
A bill to ratify this treaty is now before the mother of Parliaments at “Westminster. It was announced on this evening’s news service that Sir Anthony Eden had shown some interest in the recruitment in Indo-China of pro-Communist forces. He rather deplored the fact that recruitment in Indo-China was far exceeding recruitment in such countries as Pakistan. A good many military problems lie ahead. The Congress of the United States . intends to hold a special meeting in order to ‘ give attention to a bill that will have the same purpose as the one before this Senate. The United Kingdom and the United States are proceeding with the ratification of this treaty because they realize it> importance. I do not propose to deal with the military implications of the treaty because Senator Wordsworth, who had great experience in India and Pakistan as a serving soldier, has dealt with that subject in a most interesting manner. I want to deal with the economic side of the negotiations that we are considering. Prior to 1939, Australia conducted its diplomacy through the United Kingdom Government. As a result of World War II., the present Leader of the Opposition in another place (Dr. Evatt), who was then Minister for Externa] Affairs, saw fit to establish a number of posts of this nation throughout the world. Some were established in South-East Asia. The present Government is expanding its representation in South-East Asia on the ambassadorial level, the consular level and the trade level.
The limitations of this treaty are obvious. Unfortunately, few Asian nations are parties to the treaty, but there is wide scope for more Asian nations to participate in it. I am encouraged, to think that they will take some cognizance of this fact because some of them decided to participate in the Colombo plan subsequent to its commencement. In 1950, to the -very great credit of the then Minister for External Affairs, now Sir Percy Spender, the Colombo plan was born. At the outset, only a few nations were interested in the plan. Indonesia was not at all interested in the Colombo plan at the outset, but when its domestic affairs became tidier, about two years afterwards, in 1952, it became a full member of the Colombo plan. Recently, Japan applied to become a subscriber nation to the Colombo plan. So, in the space of four years, two outsiders have come inside the plan. I hope that use will be made of the clause of the Manila treaty that provides, for the admission of new nations to Seato. I notice that a nation may, on giving certain notice, retire from the Manila treaty. I think that that is good. I hope that this treaty will not be interpreted in a strict sense. A good police officer makes few arrests, but promotes respect for the law and I hope that there will be few clashes which require interpretation under this treaty.
In the course of his second-reading speech, the Attorney-General said -
The treaty also provides for economic cooperation. In other words, it acknowledges that, in order to strengthen the fabric of peace and freedom in South-East Asia, the parties must work for improved economic conditions. The treaty will not supersede the Colombo plan, but it is hoped that it will facilitate co-operation among the parties in finding solutions for such all-important problems as the stabilization of commodity prices and the development of trade.
At the present time, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has made loans of 51,000,000 dollars to India and of 62,000,000 dollars to Pakistan. I hope that thi3 great institution which has its headquarters in the United States, which this Government supports and which has meant so much to the development of Australia, will continue to flourish. To indicate the good work which it lias made possible, I need only to instance the wonderful new equipment on the east-west railway line, the heavy earth-moving equipment which is now seen throughout Australia constructing our roads, and the equipment that is being used in the Australian Mutual Provident . Society’s scheme to develop vast tracts of land in South Australia. When this treaty becomes operative, I hope that the work of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development will extend even further into the countries of South-East Asia.
The Colombo plan embodies an idea which is a real gem. It is that the moredeveloped nations of South-East Asia and the Pacific area should develop a sense of responsibility towards the lessdeveloped nations in the area. The plan works on the basis that the more fortunate countries, with improved standards of living, should help to improve the standard of living of the more backward peoples. The plan acknowledges the principle that extreme want and poverty cannot exist alongside solid well-being, without jealousy and tension. Implementation of this treaty will make it possible for the Colombo plan to develop still further in the Asian countries which are signatories to the treaty, and also in countries which may yet come in. Since the inception of the plan, a total of £500,000,000 has been made available to Asian countries. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has said that-
Economic development, once undertaken, has a self-generating effect, but without the initial stimulus of external aid provided where most needed, developmental programmes would, in many cases, not be commenced.
I am hopeful that one of the important effects of this treaty will be such a selfgeneration, which could be of great benefit to the countries concerned.
It is interesting to note that, in 1952, an organization known as the Commonwealth Development Finance Company was set up in London to provide independent assistance to sound projects within the Commonwealth. To the 30th June, 1953, United States technical and economic aid, by way of gifts, amounted to £120,000,000, and a further £71,000,000 will be made available in the current financial year. Surely, that gives the lie direct to the utterances of Senator Cameron concerning British and American imperialism, and destroys the honorable senator’s claim that Great Britain and the United States think only of war. On the contrary, the United States and this Commonwealth Development Finance Company, to which I have referred, are interested in raising the standard of living of the people of Asian countries.
I think that Pakistan is tremendously important in relation to this Manila treaty. Although I have not been to that country, it has been my privilege to come into contact with some of its nationals. I feel that the interest which Pakistan is showing in this treaty should be of great encouragement to us. Pakistan has a population of approximately 80,000,000, but unfortunately, the country is in two separate parts. East Pakistan lies to the east of the Calcutta area, and West Patkistan comprises the delta of the Indus and some territory north of that. Indian territory between the two parts of Pakistan. The country still preserves the British system of law. I understand, that, despite the fact that it is virtually an independent country, it has retained about 1,200 of the senior civil servants of the British regime. There are still British judges administering British laws. It is interesting to know that, of the eighteen pilots who fly .Super Constellation aircraft between the two parts of Pakistan, twelve are Australians. I understand that the services rendered by these Australian airmen, in helping to overcome the tremendous transport problems of the country, have been applauded from one end of Pakistan to the other. That shows what our nationals are able to do to promote friendship in an Asian country, if they are prepared to exercise their skill in the interests of that country. Honorable senators may be aware that tractors which have been given to Pakistan by Australia are greatly appreciated in that country. Recently, a question was asked in the Senate about whether we are tagging these tractors sufficiently in the language of the Pakistani people, so that they may be aware of the fact that the tractors are a gift from the Australian people. I think it is important that what is being done under the Colombo plan should be properly recognized.
This treaty should have the effect of settling conditions in the countries of South-East Asia. When it is in operation, they should feel that they are not. alone in their attempt to halt imperialist communism. I hope that trade will be developed between Australia and those countries. Certain Australian organizations, including Australian Consolidated Industries Limited, have made quite a feature of their trade with the Asian countries to the north. I understand that Australian Consolidated Industries Limited operates in Saigon and Singapore, and that it is about to commence operations in Indonesia. I think that many Australian business undertakings will develop in the north when stability is attained in the internal government of South-East Asian countries. While the threat of communism remains, there will be no stability, and Australian capital, adventure and know-how will not find their way into those countries. It will be a very good thing for Australia to have trade contacts with the countries of South-East Asia. In that way, the people of Australia can help to develop those countries.
– Trade is the cause of all the trouble. The Asians are kicking out the traders.
– I suggest that the Asians appreciate what is being done to help raise their standard of living. Australian manufacturers can help to do that by going about it in the right way. They will not be able to do so if the menace Of communism hangs over those countries.
I hope that a greater measure of travel between the peoples of the signatory countries will develop. The United States and Canada live on each other’s doorsteps, as it were, with hardly a soldier to guard the frontier. The reason is none other than that there is daily contact across the borders by means of trade and commerce, and people going from one country to the other without let or hindrance. I hope that tourists and travellers will develop friendly contacts between Australian and the South-East Asian countries, and that members of Parliament also will exchange visits. I think that it would be a fine thing for members of this Senate to have contact with members of the Parliaments of Pakistan, India, Thailand, Indo-China and other South-East Asian countries. The lack of contact can breed only suspicion and contempt. The close relations that exist between the people of the United States and Canada have brought about a wonderful feeling between those two countries, and I think that the same kind of feeling could develop between Australians and the people of the Asian countries to our north. I hope that the Government will make available facilities for members of this Parliament to travel to those Asian countries in order to complement the treaty that we are dealing with to-night. We may be able to help the people of those countries in matters of municipal, State and federal government, and in turn, we may learn something from them of their crafts and tropical agricultural methods. Whatever form it may take, I hope there will be contact. I trust it will not be military contact, although that may be necessary. I also hope that the people of those countries will obtain a good idea of Australia from the bearing of Australians who travel to their countries.
– It is rather difficult, at this stage of a debate in which there is virtual identity of approach by honorable senators on both sides of the Senate, at least on the fundamental principle implicit in the bill, to inject a new thought into the discussion. Nevertheless, during the debate honorable senators have licence to range from a review of the international situation, both in Europe and Asia, to the more particular implications which arise from our obligations, rights, duties and responsibilities under this treaty. It occurs to me that the conclusion of this treaty, extending, as it does, for the first time into Asia between countries which do not speak a common language, indicates that Australia is now advancing to a new position in international affairs where it will stand particularly and peculiarly on its own feet. We must be measured according to our own standards, and we must accept the burdens inherent in our isolated geographical situation. That is something that should be noted in our discussions on this bill. By subscribing to this treaty, Australia undertook to discharge grave responsibilities in the event of aggression by armed attack in the treaty area. The only other treaty with which we are so associated is the Anzus pact, which involves us, in common with our sister dominion of New Zealand, in certain obligations. However, this treaty is different from that pact, and we must be careful to ensure that it will work out according to the principle that is implicit in it. There are in any defensive or non-aggression treaty, ingredients which inspire in the people of countries against which it provides protection, a degree of anxiety and concern. If a similar treaty were concluded by countries which subscribe to an ideology different from ours, we would put a certain interpretation on it, and examine its operation to see whether it was serving the purpose for which it was concluded. This is a defensive treaty, which has been designed to protect our liberties and way of life, as well as the way of life of those countries which to-day are probably in greater danger than we are.
I am delighted to see in the treaty clauses which relate not only to military assistance, but also to fundamental things, such as assistance to enable certain countries to defend their integrity and security, and build up their economic resources. It proves to the people of those countries that it is within their power to preserve their liberty, and that we, for our part, shall help them to do so. In the final analysis, if they are threatened, we undertake to go to their assistance. But, unless we see that every provision of the treaty is carried out scrupulously, reports of our actions will be distorted and used against the very people whom we seek to protect, and the treaty Will be distributed as a propaganda sheet throughout Asia, to the disadvantage of its participants.
One’s attitude to a treaty of this kind is determined by his approach to the very vexed question of the possibility of co-existence. I do not think that we should set our face against co-existence with certain people merely because they disagree with us on fundamentals. I do not think that co-existence means collaboration or connivance in the way of life of those who differ from us ideologically. If people who follow a way of life different from ours, and have standards which are different from ours, are prepared to refrain from imposing those standards on us, we ought to be able to co-exist with them.
– On the principle of live and let live?
– Yes, in simple terms. If all the nations of the world decided that co-existence was not possible, we could have a series of wars, which would devastate country after country. In Europe, the Western powers decided that co-existence with countries behind the iron curtain was possible on certain terms, which, to a degree, were embodied in the North Atlantic Treaty. One of those terms was that we should be adequately protected, militarily, by nations having a common purpose and a common way of life. In examining the possibility of co-existence in Asia, we have to consider whether the problem that arises in Asia is similar to that with which we were confronted in western Europe. The protagonists of autocratic ideologies, such as fascism, nazism, and communism, have endeavoured to convert the world by force.
The revolutionary movements in China have been directed primarily towards the national emancipation of that country over many years. Impetus was given to it by the Communist ideology, and it now appears that that ideology has actually captured the whole of the national movement in that country. Of course, I am open to correction in relation to my assessment of the position.
I shall now make a few comments in relation to the ideological association between red China and Russian imperialism, under the guise of communism. The countries contiguous to China are faced with the same problem as those which are contiguous to Russia. That is the problem of whether coexistence is possible, and if it is, on what terms. That, I think, should be the basis of our approach to this treaty. I have before me a bulletin that was distributed by the United States Information Service in Sydney. If any honorable senators consider that the information contained in it is tinged with American propaganda, I shall have to accept that point of view. But where citations are made from reports of newspaper representatives, I do not think there could be any suggestion of concealment or suppression. The bulletin states -
On the anniversary meeting of the SinoSoviet Friendship Association, held on November 6, 1953, Wu Yu-Chang, Vicechairman of the association, followed the Maoist line completely, and presented to the USSR as both a perfect guide to Chinese planning, and an example which China must follow. Wu Yu-Chang’s speech was filledwith such tributes to the Soviet as these: The great Soviet Union is a brilliant model for China. The path which the Soviet Union has traversed since the October revolution will be a path for China.
If China follows the pattern of the Soviet Union, we can expect the same kind of government to emerge in China as emerged in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and there will be a close political relationship between the two countries. There are also in the bulletin statements which are even more significant and ominous. One of them relates to history. In Russia, unfortunately, there has been a distortion of historical facts to assist a line of thought determined by the Russian intellectual leaders.
It is a tragedy that men should not be free to establish and write the truth. The bulletin states -
The degree to which the Soviet approach and technique has invaded China’s universities is measured in the following article byPo Sheng, which appeared in Pei-p’ing’s Pravda, the authoritative Jen Kin Jih Pao on November 5, 1953.
In the past year, the Soviet experts have contributed their share to the school reform in that they have not only taught their advanced experiences to the students and teachers of Tsing Hua University, but also brought to them the valuable experiences in running well a polytechnic institution. . . .
Professor Statovich (for example) gave personal guidance and assistance to the department of civil engineering in revising its teaching plans and overcame many ideological obstacles that existed in the path of the teachers.
We might wonder why any question of ideology in a polytechnic institution comes into the picture.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. M. McMullin). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Norfolk Island - Report for year 1952-53.
Representation Act -
Determination, dated 4th November, 1954, setting forth the number of Members of the House of Representatives to be chosen in the several States.
Certificate of the Chief Electoral Officer, dated 4th November, 1954, of the numbers of people of the Commonwealth and of the several States.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land, &c, acquired for -
Defence purposes - Lincoln Park, South Australia.
Postal purposes -
City Beach, Western Australia.
Lucindale, South Australia.
Public Service Act - Appointments - Department
Health- W. V. Foster.
Labour and National Service - A. R. Console.
Repatriation - B. J. Ireland, J. A. S. Robertson.
Social Services - B. A. Jackson.
Territories- H. B. Clarke.
Services Trust Funds Act - Royal Australian
Air Force Welfare Trust Fund - Annual Report by Trustees, for year 1952-53.
Senate adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 November 1954, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1954/19541109_senate_21_s4/>.