22nd Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. M. McMullin) took the:, chair at. 3 p.m., and - read prayers.
– ‘Pursuant to Standing Order 1-83 I bring to-your notice, Mr. President, and ,to the notice of the Senate, . the fact that my name was ‘not included in the division list in the Journals of the Senate for 28th March as having voted with the Opposition .in the first division following the termination. of the debate on the AddressinReply in which the amendment .to the Address-in-Reply proposed by Senator Cole was submitted. ‘I was present and voted in that division. I ask you, therefore, Mr. President, in exercise of the power given to you under Standing .Order 183, to direct that the Journals .be .corrected ‘by the inclusion of my name in such division list.
The . PRESIDENT. - Senator Kennelly having. directed attention to the . error he has mentioned, I shall, take .the necessary .action to cause .the Journals to be corrected accordingly. i ACADEMY ‘OF SCIENCE BUILDING, CANBERRA.
– I direct a question to the Minister ‘representing the Minister ‘for ‘the ‘Interior relating to a proposed new ‘building for the ‘Academy of Science which -is -shortly to ‘be commenced in Canberra. Has ‘the proposed building been approved by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works? Has the proposal ‘been approved :by the Department of the .Interior? Has “a site for -‘the building been selected?
– The Academy .df Science building will not be .a government building, the academy being an organization sponsored by various business firms in Australia. Therefore, it would not come within the purview of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works. However, I understand that the proposal has been examined ‘by the National Capital Planning and Development Committee. The initial drawings have been examined by that committee -and the proposal is to come again before “the committee ‘for (further examination. That is the committee which approves all -public ‘buildings that. are erected in Canberra. 1 understand that a site has been selected in Canberra, in Une i vicinity of Beauchamp House.
– 1 ask the Minister for ‘‘National Development whether he is aware that the provision of finance for building societies, under the new housing agreement, by a reduction of 20 per cent, in this year’s allocation to the States, has failed to stimulate the development df building societies and to , provide more homes. In view of the statement of the Minister for Primary Industry that £1,250,000 of the £2,100,000 allocated to building societies is lying unspent in the Rural Bank of New South Wales, will the Minister .consider supplementing .the allocation to the States of New South Wales and Queensland, because in those States, the reduction of ..the .allocation is responsible for unemployment in .the building .industry .in spite of abundant supplies of materials?
Senator : SPOONERS t is “not .true to say that the new housing agreement has failed to stimulate building societies, ‘because the number of ‘building societies that are applying for money from the housing agreement ‘.fund is .quite considerable. As I understand the position, the ‘£2,100,000 that was allocated to New South Wales has been distributed by the government of that State to various building societies. Those societies are waiting, eager and willing to take up the money. It took some little time for the ‘New South Wales Government authorities to make the allocations, and that is the only reason that the money is not already ‘in circulation. 1 am informed that it will ,go into circulation rapidly from this stage forward. That is the answer to the third part df the honorable senators question. “There is no surplus money available in ‘New South Wales and, indeed, the building societies in that State could quickly absorb very much greater sums .than, are at present .allocated.
– I! wish to address a question to the Minister -representing the Minister for the ‘interior. ‘By-way df .preface, <1 -gladly ‘invite the Minister’s attention to the fact that several Commonwealth departments are being grouped in the new Da Costa building in Adelaide, which is a welcome step towards unravelling the intolerable conglomeration of Commonwealth Government offices in Adelaide. Will the Minister ascertain whether action is being taken to group any more Commonwealth offices in Adelaide and, in particular, to build on the two Currie-street sites which the Government has held for a number of years?
– This matter comes under the auspices of my colleague, the Minister for the Interior, and 1 shall direct the honorable senator’s question to him. I know, from my connexion with the Commonwealth Department of Works that when the Minister was in charge of works he was eager to develop, in every city of Australia, Commonwealth centres where a number of departments could be congregated, particularly those now occupying privately owned premises. 1 shall obtain for the honorable senator a written reply from the Minister as soon as possible.
– I direct to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade a question dealing with import restrictions, the only announcements in relation to the relaxation of which I have seen being those reported in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ and other newspapers on Tuesday, 2nd April. I ask the Minister in what form the directive or amendment of the import restrictions policy is couched, whether a copy of the document has been laid on the table of either House and, if not, whether he is willing to make arrangements for it to be circulated to members of the Parliament. 1 further ask him for some amplification of the statement that for some items which were under administrative control importers would be able to obtain licences by applying direct to the collectors instead of, in the first instance, to the Central Import Licensing Branch in Sydney.
– I am sorry that I cannot oblige the honorable senator by furnishing him with a reply to his question, and I therefore ask him to place it on the notice-paper. I do not know, although perhaps I should, what are the administrative arrangements which result in the Govern ment’s decision being put into effect. The decision is contained in statements which were made by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Trade on 1st April. Those statements set out that the level of import licences would be increased to £775.000,000. and they gave the various categories over which the increase was distributed. I do not know how that is put into operation oi on what legislative or administrative foundation it rests; but if the honorable senator places his question on the notice-paper, I will ascertain the facts and let him know.
– I ask the
Minister for National Development, who administers the War Service Homes Divi-sion, the following questions: ls he aware that many ex-servicemen are being forced out of their homes because they cannot pay the high rates of interest on existing mortgages? Does the Government intend to continue its policy of penalizing those exservicemen who, by their own thrift and initiative, purchased their own homes and expected the War Service Homes Division to assist them with finance? What was the result of the representations that were made by the returned servicemen’s league to the Government on this matter?
– I keep as careful a watch as I can upon war service home.s transactions, because I take more than a passing interest in them. Since I became the responsible Minister, I have not heard of one case of an ex-serviceman being forced out of his home as a result of inability to meet interest charges or for any other reason. It is extremely improbable - indeed, almost impossible- - that the owner of a war service home would lose his home as a result of having to pay a higher interest rate than is usual on his temporary finance, because that temporary finance is raised for a period of only fifteen months. I cannot imagine that the difference betweenthe ordinary bank rate and a higher rate would cause a financial debacle in such & short period of time.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Treasurer been directed to a newspaper report of a statement by a prominent representative ot- a wheat-growers’ organization who claims that because of Government action - and I repeat, because of Government action - farmers are prevented from obtaining loans from the private banks, some of which are directing applicants to hire-purchase organizations to secure advances, on which they are obliged to pay exorbitant interest rates? The remainder of my question is in three parts: First, has such action been taken by the Commonwealth Government? Secondly, has the Commonwealth Government any jurisdiction over interest rates charged by hire-purchase companies? Thirdly, can the Commonwealth Government control the investment of money by private banks in hire-purchase companies?
– The questions asked by the honorable senator cover a rather wide range. As he knows, the Commonwealth has not the power to control hire-purchase companies and their transactions. The overall control of banking arrangements rests with the central bank, the policy of which is to give general directives without giving specific instructions upon particular matters, thus leaving to individual banks and their clients the making of whatever arrangements they think best in their general interests, within the limits of the funds that are available to them.
– Before directing a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, I should like briefly to explain its background. At a recent meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council which was held in Sydney and was attended, of course, by all of the State Ministers for Agriculture and presided over by the Minister for Primary Industry, the adoption of a more liberal licensing policy in the importation of aircraft for use by pastoralists was urged. It was pointed out that aircraft are used extensively nowadays for seeding, fertilizing, and spraying operations, and the council, I think, made a unanimous recommendation that a more liberal policy be adopted. Will the Minister representing the Minister for Trade ascertain from his colleague whether the Government is prepared to accept that recommendation, particularly in view of the recently announced intention to ease import restrictions considerably?
-I shall make inquiries of the Minister for Trade, and supply that information to the honorable senator.
-I preface a question to the Attorney-General by expressing my appreciation of the fact that the Minister was good enough to send me a copy ofthe Privy Council judgment in the Boilermakers’ case which arrived last night. I direct the attention of the Attorney-General to the following passage in the judgment: -
On the other hand in a federal system the absolute independence of the Judiciary is the bulwark of the Constitution against encroachment whether by the legislature or by the executive. To vest in the same body executive and judicial power in to remove a vital Constitutional safeguard.
Will the Attorney-General inform the Senate whether that passage has been noted as a matter of guidance to any amendment of constitutional legislation that may be necessary consequent on the decision?
-I read the whole of the Privy Council judgment with particular interest. The passage that has been selected by the honorable senator affects us, particularly those of us who have the separation of the powers of the federal system close at heart. The judgment is not something that can be assimilatedat one quick reading or even with one considered reading. I propose to read it again. The judgment is being studied by the Crown Law authorities and whatever action the Government may take, if any, will arise from the considered advice tendered to it.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice
– The Minister for Healthhas now furnished the following reply to the honorable senator’s questions: - 1.Four thousandeighthundredandeight doc tors participating: and592,189 pensioners enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Services at 31st December, 1956.
asked the Minister representingthe Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers tothe honorable senator’s questions: - 1. (a.) Yes. (b) Membership of Australian delegations to sessionsofthe Unescogeneral conference is determined by the Government which gives consideration to the claims of all interested bodies. The director of the CommonwealthOffice of Education doesnot appoint the Australian representatives. It is also incorrect to speak of “the only Australianrepresentative to the Unesco conference “. At’ the last session of the con ferences held in Delhi in November-December, 1956 there was an Australian delegation of live persons of whom three went from Australia to attend the session.
asked the Minister representingthePostmaster-General,upon notice -
In view of the factthatinmostStateslocal police stations are out of call between 5 p.m. and8a.m. will the Postmaster-General consider settingasideoneeasilyrememberednumber,say 1111inallcapitalcitiesatwhichallemergency calls such as for police,fire brigade or medical aid could be received throughout the 24 hours and directed to their correct channel?
– The PostmasterGeneral has furnished the following reply: -
Becauseofthevaryingnumberschemes in use inthedifferentmetropolitanareasitisnotpracticable to allot a common number to all police, fire and ambulance services throughout Australia without extensive number changes involving costly technical re-arrangements of major proportions. However, continuous service is provided at the main emergency numbers of the more important urgent service and these numbers are prominently, displayed on the first page of each capital city telephone directory. Moreover, in all capital citiescalls can be made from public telephones without the insertion of coins to police, fire, and ambulance authorities by dialling, the special emergency number shown on public telephone notices, for example, B079 in Sydney and Brisbane, M 079 in Melbourne. These, calls are handled by departmental operators who connect them direct to appropriate centres where service is available at all hours.
asked (he Minister representing, the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: -
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– I now answer the honorable senator in the following terms: -
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– On behalf of my colleague, I now answer the honorable senator in the following terms: -
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question: - 1 and 2. I am aware that the University of Melbourne has found it necessary to restrict the number of students admitted to the medical course at that university, and that it is likely that this decision will affect Tasmanian students.
As the honorable senator knows, I recently announced the appointment of a committee on Australian Universities which will meet later this year. This committee has been asked to indicate ways in which universities may be organized to ensure that their long-term pattern of development is in the best interests of the nation. In view of the inquiries to be undertaken by this committee I feel that at this time it would not be appropriate even to give consideration to the provision of Commonwealth funds to assist the State of Tasmania to proceed with the establishment of a medical school.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has supplied the following information, which has been made available by the Australian Wheat Board: -
– On 20th March, Senator Aylett asked the following question: -
I ask the Leader of the Government whether he will obtain, for the information of the Senate, the total number of public servants engaged in Australia and on the pay-roll at the end of the financial years 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1956?
As I promised the honorable senator, I provide the following information in answer to his question: -
The table below shows the total number of permanent, temporary and exempt staff employed by the Commonwealth under the Public Service Act on the dates specified -
These figures do not include persons employed by statutory authorities or under other acts, details of which are not held by the Public Service Board. For the statistics relating to State public servants, the honorable senator may be able to get his information from the reports of the various State authorities.
– I present the report of the Public Works Committee on the following subject: -
Erection of studios for the Australian Broadcasting Commission at Rosehill, Perth, Western Australia.
Ordered to be printed.
Forty-sixth Annual Report.
– I lay on the table of the Senate the following papers: -
Postmaster-General’s Department - Forty-sixth Annual Report, together with Financial and Statistical Bulletin, for year 1955-56.
I ask for leave to make a short statement concerning the papers.
– In previous years, it has been the practice to append to the annual report of the Postmaster-General a number of statistical tables and financial statements. The value of this information to honorable senators is undoubted, but it has been found that its preparation has tended to delay the presentation of the report to Parliament.
The Postmaster-General has, therefore, decided that, commencing with this year, the annual report will be confined to matters descriptive of the work and progress of the department, major developments in the postal and telecommunications fields and a brief financial summary.
The former statistical and financial appendices to the report have been published as a separate document under the title of the “ Financial and Statistical Bulletin “. In addition, they have been expanded to give a more detailed statistical picture of the department’s activities. This practice will be continued in future.
On this occasion, the bulletin is presented to the Parliament at the same time as the report. In future years, it is intended that the report shall be presented earlier in the financial year and the bulletin as soon as it can be prepared, but at a subsequent date. This will avoid any delay in presenting the report.
Motion (by Senator McKenna) - by leave - agreed to -
That Senator Critchley be granted one month’s leave of absence on account of ill health.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the Senate’s modification of the resolution transmitted by the House for the appointment of a Joint Committee on Constitution Review.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Spooner) read a first time.
Second Reading.. (Senator SPOONER (New South WalesMinister for National Development) [3.50]. -Imove-
Thatthebill be now read a second time.
Thepurpose of this bill is to provide an additional amount of £20,000 for the relief of Australian civilians or their dependants, who, as a direct result of their internment by the Japanese during World War II, suffered lasting injury. In 1952, the Trading with the Enemy Act was amended, inter alia, to enable effect to be given to the Government’s decision that, of the proceeds of realization of Japanese assets in Australia, estimated at £770,000, a sum of £25,000 should be provided for the benefit of the more unfortunate civilian internees, and the balance distributed among the former prisoners of war. The realized value of the Japanese assets was higher than the estimate, and it was decided recently by the Government that an additional £20,000 should be provided for the relief of the former civilian internees. A further distribution among the former prisoners of war was also announced. The money will be distributed by a trust under the chairmanship of Brigadier Blackburn, V.C.
Debate (on motion by Senator Kennelly) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cooper) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The Removal of Prisoners (Territories) Act 1923-1950 provides power by which, if it is considered necessary, prisoners, other than aboriginal natives, can be removed from Commonwealth territories to serve their sentences in State prisons. Under the act, the administrator of a territory may recommend to the Governor-General that a prisoner be removed to a State prison, and the Governor-General may, with the concurrence of the government of the particular State, order the prisoner to be removed to that State.
The situation has arisen that in some territories there is no officer with the title of administrator, andour legal advisers say that no person other than an administrator can at present make the recommendation that the act requires an administrator to make. The purpose of the present bill is to provide that, where there is no office of administrator in a territory, the GovernnorGeneral may, by order published in the “ Gazette “, authorize the occupant of a specific office or a particular person to exercise and perform, in relation to that territory, the powers and functions of an administrator under the act.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Bill received from the Houseof Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator O’sullivan) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The Apple and Pear Export Charges Act 1938-1947 provides fora maximum charge of1d. a case on apples and pears exported from the Commonwealth, subject to a lower rate being prescribed by regulation. The purpose of this bill is to amend the act in order to raise the maximum charge which may be imposed from1d. a case to 2d. a case of apples and pears exported.
Levies collected under the act are used to finance the operations of the Australian Apple and Pear Board, the statutory authority established under the Apple and Pear Organization Act 1938-1953 for the regulation of exports of apples and pears from Australia. The present maximum rate of1d. a case is being applied to exports of apples and pears this year, 1957, and is expected to yield a revenue of about £20,000. After meeting administrative expenses this amount does not provide an adequate margin for trade promotion activities.
T.he board is participating in the overseas trade publicity drive in co-operation with other statutory commodity boards and the Commonwealth Government, and accordingly faces the need for increased revenue for this purpose. It has therefore requested that the act be amended to provide an increase in the maximum rate of levy which may be applied. As I have stated, the current rate of Id. a case will continue to operate during the 1957 export season. The operative rate for 1958 will be determined after report by the board and, in the light of the board’s report, regulations will be promulgated prescribing such rate.
The amendment sets a new ceiling for the levy, and it is for the board to state in its. report the actual rate of levy which it desires the Government to apply to exports in any season to cover the board’s budgetary requirements. It could, for example, suggest a rate of Id. or lid. or any rate not exceeding 2d. a case for each season, but the limit is set at 2d. a case by the legislation. The Government is guided by the board in setting the rate of levy to be applied. I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill bc now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is merely to clear up some doubts that have arisen in the administration of the cotton bounty, and to permit of the interim payment of bounty after the delivery of the seed cotton to the processor, and pending the final ascertainment of the price that can be paid.
Under the present act assistance i» afforded to the Australian cotton-growing; industry by means of bounty up to the 1958 harvest. The bounty is payable to the grower through the processor of the raw cotton, and is designed to, enable the growers of seed cotton to be paid an average guaranteed price of 14d. pex lb., for their product. The Cotton Marketing Board in< Queensland is the only applicant for this/, bounty.
I should like to explain briefly that the’ processor receives deliveries of seed cotton from growers, gins it, and sells the resultant’ raw cotton to spinners. The processor theo1 pays the sale proceeds less the cost of ginning and administration to growers, and this together with the bounty, if any, gives an average price for the seed cotton of at least’ 14d. per lb.
Bounty was paid on the 1953 harvest amounting to £17,651. Payments rose to £25,243 on the 1954 harvest and then to £67,284 on the 1955 harvest. The expected payment on the harvest just completed1 is in the vicinity of £120.000. The present Cotton Bounty Act presupposes that all processing of the raw cotton and the accounting thereof will have been completed before payment of bounty. This means that there is a considerable time lapse between the delivery of the seed cotton and the finalpayment of the purchase price. The decline in raw cotton prices early in 1956 seriously reduced the price the board could pay the growers for the seed cotton. To assist the industry in the difficult situation the Government made available in January last, as an interim payment, £48,950, which is approximately 40 per cent, of the anticipated bounty.
The need for the interim payment is expected to recur in respect of the 1957’ harvest and, possibly, also on the following year’s, harvest. Amendments to the act, as proposed in the bill, will enable the Government to make the desired assistance available to the industry at the appropriate, time.
Naturally, every care will be- taken toensure that the interim payments never’ exceed the bounty entitlement. Provision is made, however, for the recovery of any excess and, in addition, an undertaking’ will1 be required from the Cotton Marketing!
Board that instalments of the purchase price to growers will be kept within the guaranteed14d. whilst an interim payment of bounty remains operative.
The bill also amends the principal act in two other directions. In the first place, it brings into the bounty calculations unsold stocks of raw cotton on hand at the close of each bounty year. Secondly, the Cot ton Marketing Board derives income from rents and. in some years, from the extraction of oil from peanuts. This income is considered extraneous to the cotton processing operations and, to the extent that such income is distributed to cotton-growers, this amending bill will enable the price paid on the deliveries of seed cotton to rise slightly above the guaranteed figure of 14d. In order to achieve the object of the act, it has been necessary over recent years to take stocks of raw cotton on hand at the end of the year into account and to exclude the extraneous receipts from the bounty calculations.
I have considered it advisable to introduce an amending bill to remove any doubts that may exist concerning these features, and to give legal effect to departmental decisions.I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Benn) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henry) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
There is some doubt as to whether under the Lands Acquisition Act 1955 as it now stands the Attorney-General and the Minister for the Interior are able to delegate any of their functions in respect of the disposal of land which was acquired under the provisions of the Lands Acquisition Act 1906-1936 and, in order to save time and to simplify administration, it is proposed to amend section 3 of the act to rectify the position. It is also proposed to amend section 15 of the principal act. Under that section in its present form copies of notices of acquisition for lodgment at the State Titles Offices must be certified “ under the hand of the Crown Solicitor”. The function of certifying such copies is merely a mechanical one and its importance is lessened by the fact that the original notice of acquisition is publicly available in the “ Gazette “. It is, therefore, considered that this function could properly be performed by a Deputy Crown Solicitor, Acting Deputy Crown Solicitor, or other responsible officer in an office of the Crown Solicitor. The proposed amendment will enable copies to be certified by the Crown Solicitor or an officer of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department authorized by the Crown Solicitor to certify such copies.
The proposed amendment to section 60 is intended to clarify the section and to ensure that it applies to land that has become vested in the Commonwealth by a means which may not be aptly described as “ acquisition “, for example, by a vesting under section 85 of the Constitution. The final clause is for the purpose of validating existing delegations. The bill which will clear up these points and assist in administration is commended for the favorable consideration of honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
– by leave - I propose to read, for the benefit of the Senate, the statement on international affairs tabled in another place last evening by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey). The prepared statement as handed to me reads as follows: -
Let me start by speaking about the Middle East, which has held the anxious attention of the world since July, 1956, when President Nasser seized the Suez Canal. The two principal aspects of the Middle East problem are, of course, EgyptianIsraeli relations - and the Suez Canal. PerhapsI might remind ; he House of the background of these two problems. For many years Egypt has aimed at establishing herself as leader of the Arab world. It is the traditional practice of dictators to find some external so-called menace to divert the attention of their peoples from domestic problems. President Nasser has been no exception to this rule. He found a popular target ready to. hand in the State of Israel.
For reasons that one must accept, but greatly deplore, the Arab States of the Middle East have never accepted the right of the State of Israel to exist. For this reason no Arab State would publicly query any Egyptian action against Israel, however provocative or unjust. So by slownotion aggression against Israel President Nasser was able to build ..up a growing .reputation for Himself in the Arab world - a reputation which lasted until it was very conclusively deflated by the Israeli attack last October. Egypt’s harrassing of Israel’ took many forms - a fullwale economic blockade; the denial of Israeli (hipping, and Israeli-bound shipping through the Suez Canal and through the Gulf of Aqaba; continuous Egyptian commando raids into Israeli territory; and a formidable bombardment of hostile Egyptian propaganda against Israel.
Going back a little further into the past, to 1947, ten years ago, it will be remembered that :he General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution partitioning Palestine into Arab and Jewish States. The Jews were ready to accept this resolution but the Arabs refused. By the time the British forces withdrew from Palestine in 1.948, a full-scale war was being waged by- all ‘ the surrounding “‘Muslim Slates against Israel in an effort to smother the Jewish State of Israel at birth.
United Nations efforts led to the negotiation of i truce between Israel and her hostile neighbours, nut not before Israeli forces had occupied more territory than had been allotted to them under the United Nations partition plan. In 1949 the truce was converted into a formal armistice. One of the legacies of the Palestine war was the creation of the Arab refugee problem, in which nearly 1,000,000 refugees, mainly Arabs, fled from Israel into the surrounding Muslim countries. But the worst of the legacies of the 1948 war was an intensification of the Arab-Israel hostility.
In October, 19S6, Egypt completed the military unification of Israel’s,, principal neighbours by the creation of a joint Egyptian-Saudi ArabianSyrianJordanian military alliance under an Egyptian commander-in-chief. It must have looked to Israel as if the net was closing round her and she might be excused for believing that a general attack upon her borders was imminent. It should be remembered that the population of Egypt is over ten times that of Israel, and that Israel is less than a third the size of Tasmania.
It was against the background that I have described that Israel launched her attack on Egypt at the end of October, 19S6. Israel has been charged with aggression. Technically this is no doubt correct, but I maintain that, in fairness, the whole history of the previous ten years must be taken into account. Ii is wrong to judge any one particular international incident by itself and ignore all the provocation that preceded it. In saying this, I do not suggest that Israel has been blameless, but that on net balance she has been much more sinned against than sinning.
The defeat of the Egyptian forces by the Israelis is common knowledge, even although Egypt had the advantage of modern military and air equip ment supplied by Soviet Russia. The circumstances in which the Egyptian-Israel conflict was brought to an end following the Anglo-French intervention, and United Nations action calling for a cease fire and establishing a United Nations police force, were described by the Prime Minister in his statements to the House of Representatives on 1st November.’ and 8th November.. Those statements gave the Government’s views on the situation al the time and the policy of the Australian Government. Our present concern is to analyse the deep-seated causes of tension in the Middle East in an endeavour to see the possible lines of a solution for them.
Let me say something at this stage about the entry of Soviet Russia into the Middle East picture. Two or three years ago, the Soviet Union directed her diplomatic, propaganda and trade weapons against the Middle East on what might be described as the grand scale. The particular targets for Soviet attention were Egypt and Syria.
It has been one of the traditional aims of Russian policy for many generations to get access to the warm waters of the Mediterranean and of the Persian Gulf. Early evidence of Soviet Russian interest in the Middle East area was the concluding of an arms - deal with Egypt and with Syria, accompanied by a large-scale incursion of Russian technicians and experts. These Russian policies have succeeded to the extent that they have added to the turmoil of the area, although she has achieved no substantial political or military success. In fact, it can be said with truth that the Soviet intrusion into the Middle East has consolidated and strengthened the membership of the Baghdad pact, its members being the United Kingdom, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran. The Soviet action has also attracted the promise of American military and economic support to any Middle East country that requires it, in combating communism, directly or indirectly.
Perhaps at this point I might say something about the role of the United States in the Middle East over recent years. It will be remembered that the United States, with the United Kingdom and France, participated in the so-called Tripartite Declaration of 19S0, under which the three governments declared that, should they find that either Israel or the Arab States were preparing to violate present Israeli frontiers, they would immediately take action within or outside the United Nations to combat it. The Tripartite Declaration has never been effective in preventing violation of borders by either side.
It can be said that the United States encouraged the creation of the Baghdad Pact of 1955, under which Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and the United Kingdom agreed to co-operate for their security and mutual defence. This so-called “northern tier “ defence system, as Mr. Dulles has described it, has been well supported by the United States although they have never actually joined it. The recently announced adherence of the. United States to the Military Committee of the Baghdad Pact - together with their previous membership of the Economic Committee - in fact amounts to actual membership of the Baghdad Pact, although limited to combating Communist aggression.
On 29th November last, the United States stated that a threat to the territorial integrity or political independence of the members of the Baghdad Pact would be regarded by the United States with the utmost gravity. Also, in August, 19S5, Mr. Dulles made valuable and important proposals for dealing with the Egyptian-Israeli problems, in respect of the finding of finance for the resettlement of the Arab refugees and allied problems. He also stated that if these and related problems could be solved, the United States would join in formal treaty engagements as well as economic aid. The Israelis expressed willingness to meet and discuss - but the Arab States gave a negative response.
The most recent evidence of American interest and concern with the Middle East has been the Eisenhower doctrine promising American military and economic aid against communism to any country that wanted it. Australia greatly welcomed this American initiative. One can only hope that these various instances of American interest in the Middle East will be vigorously pursued and that the great influence of the United States will be exerted positively in the area. Middle East disputes are matters that affect not only the countries concerned. They endanger the peace of the world. More than that, they have imperilled the unity of the great democratic powers on which security everywhere depends.
Now, let me say something about the position of Egypt; and the international agreements and instruments by which she is bound: First, the Constantinople Convention of 1888 which provides that the Suez Canal shall be open to ships of all nations in peace and in war without discrimination. Egypt is bound by this convention, and her denial of the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping is in breach of it. Then Egypt is bound by the Israeli-Egyptian Armistice Agreement of 1949, which requires both parties to refrain from belligerency. Egypt has consistently broken this agreement by military raids, by economic blockade, and by constant interference with Israel-bound shipping. Egypt is bound by - but has defied - the Security Council resolution of 1 951 which confirmed Israel’s freedom of passage through the Suez Canal. She is apparently disposed to continue to defy this Security Council resolution.
So far as Egypt-Israel relations are concerned, the net effect of United Nations action has been that a cease fire has been brought about and that Israeli forces have withdrawn from Gaza and the Gulf of Aqaba area and have been replaced by United Nations Forces. However, the whole situation is tense and dangerous. Egypt holds that the United Nations Force can remain in Egyptian territory only with Egyptian consent. On the other band there is no doubt that Israel has evacuated the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gaza strip on the clear assumption that these two areas would be taken over by he United Nations Force which would remain to prevent a recurrence of Egyptian aggression against Israel, pending a final settlement. If this assumption is violated - then the situation between Egypt and Israel again becomes critical and dangerous. Good faith is essential.
When these questions were debated, privately or publicly, in New York, the Australian Government expressed its firm conviction that it was not sufficient to oblige Israel to return to the status quo when Egypt was a persistent violator of the Armistice Agreement. We urged the need for an Egyptian declaration of “non-belligerency. ‘ We recognized the justice of Israel’s claim for security. We argued the injustice and futility of sanctions. We supported the establishment of the United Nations Force in Gaza and the Gulf of Aqaba, and the right of free and innocent passage through the Tiran Straits into the Gulf of Aqaba. We have said all these things publicly and consistently in Australia and in the United Nations in New York. Throughout, we have become aware of the Egyptian habit of evasion, and have urged the Secretary-General to establish Egyptian intentions. We have counselled Israel to be patient while Egyptian intentions in Gaza and the Gulf of Aqaba are clarified and until the United Nations hai played out its hand.
Now let me speak of the Suez Canal. This problem, as we know, has widespread international implications, and is separate and distinct from the question of Israeli-Egyptian relations, although each has its effect on the other. Without rehearsing the whole melancholy history of the Suez Canal problem since the canal was forcibly and arbitrarily seized by Egypt in late July, 1956, the only contribution of consequence at the hands df the United Nations has been the unanimous resolution of the Security Council in October, 1956, in respect of the acceptance of the so-called six principles.
These abt principles provide for free and open transit through the canal without discrimination, respect for Egyptian sovereignty, insulation of the canal from national politics, tolls and charges to be fixed by agreement between Egypt and the users, allocation of a proportion of dues to canal development and arbitration of unresolved disputes. These six principles, read in conjunction with the 1888 Constantinople Convention, provide the minimum safeguards for users of the canal.
However, the fact is that, despite the acceptance by the Egyptian Foreign Minister of the six principles, it has so far proved impossible to get the Egyptian Government to implement them. One of the notable features of dealing with President Nasser has been the impossibility of getting any clear and direct response from him on any matter of consequence. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Hammarskjoeld, has made repeated efforts to have discussions started on the future of the canal, but without avail.
Some five weeks ago, in view of the imminence of the re-opening of the canal, Britain, America, France and Norway proposed to Egypt, through Mr. Hammarskjold, interim arrangements under which the canal might be re-opened, pending a final settlement. Australia was in accord with the proposals. These arrangements would provide that Egypt should operate the canal in accordance with the Constantinople Convention and the six principles, and that canal dues should be paid to the United Nations, or to the International Bank as a neutral agent. The International Bank would pay 50 per cent, of the dues to Egypt for operating the canal, and hold 50 per cent, of the dues pending a settlement. Egypt has made no formal reply to these proposals.
In .ian effort to reach agreement, Mr. Hammarskjold visited Cairo last ,week,- but jio public statement of the results of his discussions has yet been made. .From public statements attributed to President Nasser .in the last few days, the prospects do not -seem to >be hopeful for reasonable arrangements for a. canal regime that mould be in accord wilh the 1888 convention and the six principles. It is nol possible to say more than this at the present lime.
And ‘now let me collect ‘‘together, and state what I believe to be the several means of reaching lasting ‘and equitable solutions ‘df the basic problems which have caused ‘ the upheavals in the Middle East in the last twelve months. A realist beginning must be made towards a solution of the long-standing Arab-Israeli problem. To this end, .belligerency .by either side must be controlled, and ,a mutual pledge of non-belligerency required, which .is no more than .a re-affirmation of. what was .contained in the Egyptian-Israeli armistice agreement. In to-day’s circumstances of tension, it is difficult -to see how raiding and retaliation .can be .ensured against, in .practice, other than by the creation of demilitarized zones at appropriate points on the Israeli borders. These should be occupied, if .necessary, for an appreciable period of time, by United Nations forces. Not merely a handful of United Nations observers, but forces capable of policing non-belligerency.
Israel’s right to exist must be recognized and her right to free passage through the Tiran Straits and the Suez Canal must be placed beyond doubt and .respected. Concurrently progress must be made in respect of problems affecting both the Arab States- and Israel. Solution of the problem of .Palestine refugees must be sought, in a large measure at least, by their re-settlement. Developmental projects, especially irrigation and water projects, should be undertaken, which will help substantially towards the solution of the refugee problem. Given fair treatment, co-operation by Israel in these matters is to be assumed.
What I -have -said -is no airy-fairy counsel of (perfection. It is the ‘minimum practical prolamine that -is likely to avoid a ‘recurrence of bloodshed ,and -ensure some reasonable stability in this .troubled area. Before I am told that these i proposals provide no long-term -solution - let me state; the reasons that move ‘me to the -belief -that they represent the only .practicable first steps towards a solution of the Israel-Arab problem. We -are -witnessing a .dramatic period of turmoil in the Middle East, based very .largely on the racial antipathy by the .Arabs against the Jews, rather than on any .particular political or economic disagreement. This deep-rooted racial origin of the Middle East problem makes its solution particularly difficult - as ‘it means ‘thai it is unlikely to yield to any quick and easy resolution or form of words devised ‘by a majority in the United -Nations, which does not appreciate -the emotional origin of -the trouble. ‘You cannot submit a -deeply ingrained -emotional complex to logical political treatment.
The situation demands .a cooling-off .period. When an .appropriate period of time has gone bv without incident and without recriminations, then the good offices of one or more of the great powers can be exercised by -way of .bringing the two sides together under benevolent, ‘but .powerful, chairmanship towards, a) .permanent. .solution, and perhaps -with the prospect pf appreciable economic aid .when such a solution has .been reached.
I -end .this, survey of ihe ‘Middle lEast with some observations on the past and “future role of the United - Nations. -The United “Nations ‘has had many of these -questions before ‘it ‘ for a number of years. Without “wishing’ Mo :be unduly . critical, it .can ‘be said that ‘h has reached no satisfactory solution ito any- ‘Of them. ‘1 ‘believe ‘this reflects ‘the , fact that’ we must recognize that the:United ‘Nations cannot always fee counted. ‘upon to ‘reach objective and ‘fair and constructive ‘conclusions on ‘situations in ‘which group pressures’ and the promotion df special interests ‘have -‘tended to weaken its effectiveness and ‘its impartiality: This was all too evident in , the Assembly’s ‘handling of the IsraelEgypt dispute. From this ‘ Egypt will no doubt draw considerable encouragement. For. as long as ‘Egypt has Ihe ‘backing of a partisan group jil the General Assembly, for so long will she be encouraged to pursue her own interests to the detriment of the international situation.
The Security Council was intended by . the Charter ot the United Nations, to acknowledge the prime responsibilities of great powers in questions involving peace and security, lt was not envisaged that these responsibilities should be submerged in the voting of 80 countries in the General Assembly. The temptation must be avoided of believing that it is a substantive foreign policy merely to pui. a question on the agenda of the United Nations -and to invite discussion. There is, unfortunately, no basis for believing that the United Nations Assembly will automatically provide a just and effective -solution for any and all problems that come before it. It is the Government’s view -that there .is - a compelling need, in the United Nations and outside it, for the great democratic powers to assert joint leadership directed towards peace and stability which is entirely .consistent with -the Charter of the United Nations.
And now ‘let “me say something about the area -immediately to our .north-west - the countries of South and South-East Asia. There has been appreciable progress in the political .and economic -fields in the .countries of ‘South and South-East Asia m the ‘last ‘year or ‘two. Australia has’ warmly supported the progress of -the Federation of M alaya to independence. I -hope -very much -to be able to attend the official celebration of ‘Malayan independence in ‘Kuala Lumpur on 31st .August, on behalf of the ‘ Australian Government. The impending independence of Malaya within the Commonwealth is the :la,est -example of the long line of ‘countries that ‘have been brought .to nationhood by our ‘Mother Country, Great Britain. No country in the -world’s history has anything approaching Great Britain’s record of statesmanship’ on the grand scale, by way of the development -of one country after another to selfgovernment and independence.
Communist terrorist activities in Malaya continue .to decline. From a peak of 8.000 in the worst days or the element” there are now only about 2.000 Communist .terrorists in the Malayan jungle. The Communists are reported to have made a new offer of a truce, but there is clearly no real change in their position and the Chief Minister, Tengku Abdul Rahman, has described the Communist letter as merely a propaganda move. With the approval of Malaya, Australian troops are in Malaya assisting in operations against (the; Communist terrorists. Australia has continued to give any help that is within our power to Malaya, both under the Colombo plan and otherwise. We have already provided Colombo plan aid to Malaya in a variety of directions to the extent of about £350,000 and we have pledged a further £250,000, which will be delivered in the next year or two. Included in this has been the training of 54 citizens of Malaya who have completed their training and have returned to Malaya. In addition, there are 163 Malayans in Australia at present under Colombo plan training.
Sir William McKell was a member of the commission that has prepared a draft constitution for the federation to consider. Australia recently provided a chairman for an important commission to study lands administration in Malaya. We are endeavouring to find qualified Australians to help Malaya in building up her banking institutions.
As regards Singapore, a delegation led by the Chief Minister, Mr. Lim Yew Hock, is at present in London dicsussing with the United Kingdom Government constitutional arrangements designed to give Singapore internal self-government. There is reason to believe that agreement on constitutional changes for Singapore will be reached during the present conference in London. Mr. Lim Yew Hock and his colleagues, notably Mr. Chew Swee Kee, Minister for Education, have taken firm action to check Communist subversion, particularly in schools and in the trade unions. In the case of Singapore, too, we have continued our efforts to help under the Colombo plan in a number of directions. We have already provided Colombo plan aid to Singapore to the extent of about £120,000, and we have pledged considerable additional aid for the future. Fifty Singapore students have completed their Colombo plan training, and in addition there are 56 still in Australia pursuing their training courses.
Thailand continues to make steady economic progress - its standard of living is one . of the highest in Asia. A very high percentage of its farmers own their own land. Elections were held in Thailand in February. I notice that the Australian Labour party, in a manifesto issued at its conference in Brisbane, has singled out Thailand for attack as a “reactionary” government. Apart from a defence of Communist China, there was no other reference by the Australian Labour party to any specific country in Asia. I think it is deplorable that the highest executive body in the Opposition party should attack a government with which Australia has the friendliest relations and which is bound to us in the Seato partnership. It is not for me to describe the internal organization of a friendly government. I merely remind the House that in Thailand there were several opposition parties and opposition newspapers which criticized the Government in the most spirited way. Some Ministers’ were defeated.’ I will leave it to honorable members to judge for themselves whether these facts justify the critical comments of the Opposition.
The Philippines has recently suffered a grievousloss in the tragic death of its great leader President Ramon Magsaysay who had given his country such inspired leadership. President Magsaysay, as Secretary for Defence, was the mainspring and inspiration of the successful campaign against the Communist inspired terrorist movement which threatened the’ country’s very existence. On behalf of the Australian Government I would like to express publicly the deep sympathy that we feel for the Philippines Government and people in their great loss. To President Garcia, whom we had the privilege of having in Australia at the recent Seato Meeting, we offer our sincere good wishes in his great task.
In South Viet Nam there has been most heartening progress in recent years towards political and economic stability. Less than three years ago the country was torn by dissident sects and private armies and gravely threatened by the Communist Viet Minh. Now internal security in South Viet Nam is better than in most countries of SouthEast Asia, and President Diem’s Government has won widespread popular support. In South Viet Nam the main problems now to be faced are those of peace - building up the economy after more than ten years of war, improving the living standards of the people and developing their political life and institutions. We welcome the signs of closer and more cordial relations between Viet Nam and its neighbours in South and SouthEast Asia. We were glad to join with others in the United Nations in recommending Viet Nam’s application for membership of the United Nations
What President Diem and his colleagues have achieved in South Viet Nam provides an example and inspiration to the whole area. They have shown that, even when conditions seemed nearly hopeless, resolute and courageous national leadership can turn the tide. The Republic of Viet Nam has become a valued member of the free community of South-East Asia. As with other countries of South-East Asia, we have endeavoured to help South Viet Nam under the Colombo plan. We have already given such aid to the extent of £340,000. and we have pledged a further £150,000. The situation needs close watching because as ‘the price for allowing the two Communist-held provinces to come under the control of the central government, the Communists want posts in the cabinet. The dangers in admitting Communists to power appear to be recognized by many Laotian leaders, and it now seems that no decision is likely to be taken on this question in the near future. We have provided over £250,000 of Colombo plan aid to Laos and have pledged further aid.
In Cambodia, Prince Sihanouk, who was the principal architect of his country’s independence, continues to exert a dominating political influence. There has, however, been a certain lack of governmental stability and continuity. In the last eighteen months Cambodia has had seven governments. At the same time, the Soviet Union and Communist China have been making a special effort to expand their activities in Cambodia, with the obvious aim of showing other countries in South-East Asia the advantages of following a policy of non-alignment with the major Western powers. The Communists have offered Cambodia substantial economic aid, have arranged exchanges of political visits have sent technical expertsto Cambodia, and are generally stepping up their propaganda activities, particularly among the Chinese minority. The Cambodian Government is trying to pursue a policy of neutrality.Its leaders are democratic in outlook. It is important that the tree world should continue to give encouragement and assistance both to Cambodia and to Laos, exposed as both countries are to the threat of Communist expansionism. We have provided £180,000 in Colombo plan aid to Cambodia with pledges of more for the future.
In Burma. U Nu has returned to the Prime Ministership from which he resigned last year in order to reorganize the political party supporting the Government. Burma has special problems arising from its long frontier with China. The Government of Burma has consistently followed a policy of strict neutrality. Nevertheless, despite Russian and Chinese Communist endorsement of the five principles of peaceful co-existence, Communist insurgents, nine years after Burma became independent, are carrying on their military struggle against the lawful Government of Burma. We are on the most friendly terms with Burma, and have been glad to provide over £450.000 worth of Colombo plan aid, with more to come in the future.
In Ceylon, the Bandaranaike Government has now completed almost a year in office. In some respects it has followed a different foreign policy from its predecessor and it has negotiated with the United Kingdom for the termination of British naval and other bases on the island. These negotiations have been carried on in a friendly spirit and Australia’s own relations and contacts with Ceylon, which are many, have been maintained. We have given Colombo plan assistance to Ceylon to the extent of £2,500,000 and have pledged more aid for the future.
The largest democratic election in the world’s history concluded a few days ago. Some 190,000,000 Indians went to the polls. The election was for 500 members of the lower houseof the Union Parliament as well as for over 3,000 members of the various State legislative assemblies. This was the second election held since India became independent. The first election was held five years ago. Counting has not yet been completed. Results so far known indicate that the Congress party, led by Mr. Nehru will again be returned with an overwhelming majority in the Central Parliament. Colombo plan aid to India already delivered has amountedto £6,700 000. A further £4,160,000 has been pledged.
Pakistan is making steady economic and political progress. As a Muslim country, and because of its geographical position, Pakistan is equally concerned with developments in the Middle East and in South-East Asia. Her contributions to securing a reasonable approach by countries in the troubled area of the Middle East have been considerable. Colombo plan aid tothe extent of £6.800,000 has been provided for Pakistan by Australia- with an additional £5.000,000 pledged for the future.
The question of Kashmir has again been before the United Nations Security Council. This dispute between India and Pakistan is greatly to be deplored - particularly by countries like Aus- tralia, which want to be on terms of close friendship with both countries. The dispute, by keeping alive animosities between India and Pakistan, is an obstacle to the political and economic development of both countries. In the recent discussions in the Security Council, Australia took theposition that the basic principle for settling the dispute was that future sovereignty should bedetermined by the freely expressed will ofthe people of Kashmir. The Security Council has already decided - as far back as 1949 - that this should be through a There was a proposal for United Nations forces to replace existing forces in Kashmir for the time being, and Australia would he willing to consider a contribution to such forces if it was the desire of both parties. At the request of the Security Council, Mr. Jarring, of Sweden, is at present in India and Pakistan examining the situation with all parties. I do not want to say any more at present except that we all hope that he can open the door to a solution.
Honorable senators will know the present general position in Indonesia, and the efforts being made to form a new government. What part President Soekarno’s proposal for an Advisory National Council will play in relation to the new government is not yet clear, nor is the pattern which will govern future relations between the Central Government at Djakarta and the various outlying parts of the Indonesian State. Australia is naturally interested in the stability and progress of our nearest neighbour. A resolution about West New Guinea was introduced into the recent General Assembly of the United Nations. The resolution was opposed by the Netherlands representative, and by Australia and others. The resolution obtained a majority in the Political Committee but failed to obtain the necessary twothirds majority in a plenary session of the General Assembly. Honorable senators are aware of the attitude of the Australian Government in this matter which has not changed. Australia recognizes the sovereignty of the Netherlands over West New Guinea. We have sought to avoid our relations with Indonesia being impaired by the disagreement over West New Guinea, which is the only matter in dispute between our two countries. We have provided a total of over £1,500.000 in Colombo plan aid to Indonesia, with other aid pledged for. the future.
I have mentioned the individual amounts of Colombo plan aid to a number of countries of South-East Asia of which I have spoken. Now let me say something about the Colombo plan in more general terms. The Colombo plan represents an instrument by which Australia has now for a number of years been endeavouring to help the free countries of Asia. We have now spent a total of about £20,000,000 on Colombo plan aid, and have committed ourselves to a further £12,000,000 which will be delivered in the years immediately ahead. We expect in a few months’ time to receive our two-thousandth Colombo plan trainee from Asia, and we have had 220 Australian experts serving abroad in most of the countries of the area. Amongst the 850 Colombo plan trainees now in Australia are representatives from every country in South and South-East Asia. In addition;, there are’’ about’ 4,000 : private studentsnow in Australia-from j Asia’ and the Pacific. It is’-reasonable to> believe that t this large “number-‘, of - private Asian, students; have* come: to. Australia by reason of ‘ the ! satisfactory reports) by. Colombo plan students’ of the: reception- that they have- had. in’ this/ country. I do not believe “th’at: iris necessary; to.’ argue- the mutuals value of Colombo plan, aid,. The Government’s’ policy will– be1 to- continue to’ play- a: full’ and active role in the: Colombo plan.1- I: believe that: we should’ consider the- POSsibility of. a further extension, of.’ the: membership.’ of the Colombo plan1,, although this , is- essentially a. matter” for’ the Asian’ countries themselves tb’ determine. Subject’ to- this I. would myself- see’ substantial! advantages if’ countries of: Europe - were’ tfr’ join ‘ in. this’ co-operative.’ enterprise, and’ maker available capital) and technical skill: for. the’ countries .of i free Asia. ‘
Last month the third, meeting, of- the’ South-East Asia Treaty Organization, Council we- held in. Canberra. The discussions, resulted, in close agreement among the members, Asian and non-Asian alike, on the’ presents situation-‘ and ‘what is needed; to> meet the future: The” details’ of the discussions’ obviously cannot be made- .public but some of’ the conclusions’ have been published in the final communique^ of-, the conference.. I. shall give the House some-, account of the views which Australia put to the council- and which gained-‘ general, agreement..
In the first ‘ place, Australia’ emphasized the’ continuing need to develop our joint strength to deter and counter the threat of overt aggression which still overhangs, the treaty area. This threat is not at’ present paraded to the extent that’ it has been in the past, but we cannot’ overlook the fact that, Communist. China has’ armed forces of not , less, than 2,500,000 men. This very largeforce is in itself a commentary on the peaceful’ co-existence slogan. If, as is generally believed! the. likelihood pf Communist’ armed aggression in the immediate future has diminished, this is only because the Communists know that the democracies have both the strength and’’ the determination to resist effectively. Consequently, in SouthEast Asia - as has been the case in Europe’ as ‘ a’ result of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization- - the best safeguard against the Communists r&’ sorting to aggressive force lies in the deterrent’ provided by the combined’ strength’ of the’ ‘countries concerned. It was heartening- to’ all membersto hear an account from the United’ States Secretary. of State, iM,r , Dulles, of the- large and, effective (power’ which the United States is maintain)ing in the.’ region; i and to. hean from.- the, United. Kingdom. ‘representative,’ Lord Home,-. that-, in , the. readjustment ‘df., its- defence programme and. policies the United Kingdom- would- also; maintain, very; effective and’ flexible striking power,.. in, the Fart-East.- < .:
Secondly,, the Australian delegation’ stressed1’ the need”, for intensified’, action against subversion. Communist’ subversion is an attack on’ the national” independence. ‘ of” . éach country iff which it1 rs’ operating. We “have, to prevent’ the- disease’ growing, and-, spreading.’ ‘We also’ have’ to expose Communist, tactics sp that the public as- well’ asgovernments; nave . a clear idea of ‘ what” subversion means and’ Where and ‘ how subversion” is going on. ‘The ‘basic responsibility for countering subversion rests with. the’, government of’, eachcountry, but Seato as- an organization can.- do a great’ deal by1 collecting!- and publishing, informs-‘ tion and by bringing, together the1, men in1: the’ various countries’” who-‘ are- grappling’ withe, subversion..
Thirdly, turning to. the economic field, the Aus? tralian Government believes, as I have stated in this House in the past; that international action to help economic development’ should be taken primarily through’ channels other than Seatothrough the Colombo plan, through the United’ Nations, and through bilateral arrangements. Nevertheless, the Seato Council had a. useful discussion on economic matters. In the- economic, field Seato- presents- obvious! advantages as a. forum for ‘ intimate: discussion at a: high political’ level among, likeminded nations;-. even where action, on’ specific, problems has to: be taken outside.1 Seato:- Seato - has; in fact; done, quite: a bit of. work: in: the. economic-field. It can. help in assessing the . economic, and. industrial capacity - of; mem ber: countries and: what’ they need to make: their defence- programmes.- effective. This’ can open’ the: way to some mutual- aid’ to: help- member: nations, support the burdens) they, have undertaken, fa? their: own and’, common- defence.
Seato committees have already studied’ and’ reported on some of these problems. Among other things they have prepared- a statement of surpluses and deficiencies- in- the treaty area ofsupplies and equipment related to defence. They have examined- what facilities exist for the. repair and’ maintenance- of equipment, vehicles, &c, of defence significance: They have also considered the problem1 of shortages- of skilled labour- useful’ in the defence- field;
Australia Has already announced a contribution of £A,2,60Q,000 for Seato defence support assistance; some of it is being given bilaterally to Asian countries to help their defence programmes, and-‘ some of it can be- used to help carry out any other agreed programmes (including multilateral programmes) that may emerge, from Seato studies. ‘The United States, as Mr. Dulles sa’id to the- Seaton Council1, is. giving very- considerable bilateral- did- to- Seato’ countries- under American mutual’ defence programmes. Mr. Dulles also ‘ indicated that the- American Congress some, time ago approved funds, for Asian economic development in the> form of regional, projects. A part of this fund still remains available and he stated mat if ‘the Seato committee of economic experts developed ‘sound projects, qualifying underthis’ fund) the’ United States, would be: glad to. consider any .’such ‘projects! for assistance! from this source. There, is. thus ample evidence:, for co-operation within. Seato- in> the. economic field, and it is hoped that other, member countries win. also: endeavour to make, contributions, to this. end.
In- ‘the time” available, I: have- been able to da no more’ ‘than deal’ with’ the situation’ in the Middle East and in South East Asia. If I had set out at greater length to speak’ abour international’ affairsas a1 whole, ‘ there is, df ‘course1, a great’ deal’ more to say about the European’ situation, the Bermuda conference, disarmament, Communist- China, Japan, the’ Antarctic;1 the’ long-.’ Sst ‘ of’ distinguished visitors’ that we have nadi the privilege of welcoming to Australia in: recent times,’ and much. else.
And now let me end by saying this:. The interdependence of individuals in a community, and of nations in the world community, is such that no individual can say more than that he has helped towards the well-being and the good government of his country. So, also, no country can say more than that it has helped towards preserving the peace and stability of the world. However, this is. no small thing to be able to say about one’s own country. At least we, in Australia, can make this modest claim. We have tried to be good neighbours, without seeking advantages in return - except good neighbourliness from others. We are not a warlike people, although, we have shown that we. can play our part when war comes to the world. We have taken an active part in the world’s ‘councils. We have not attempted to avoid our international responsibilities. In a world situation in which, any dispute or disagreement, between neighbours can, overnight, become the world’s business, we have tried to play, a thoughtful and responsible part.
I lay on the table the following paper: -
International Affairs-Ministerial Statement, dated 2nd April, 1957. and move -
That the paper be printed.
– The speech delivered by the Leader of the Government (Senator O’sullivan) on behalf of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), whom he represents, is, I think, temperate and conciliatory in tone, lt covers a limited field, and I acknowledge at once that, in the course of even an hour, the Minister could not attempt to cover the whole range of foreign affairs: 1 admit, also, that I, in turn, could not cover more than a limited field in the time available to me. Vastly important matters were not dealt with by the Minister. He ‘specifically excluded them - the European field and others - and, I think; very properly concentrated his thoughts upon the problem that affects. Australia most at the present time. It is probably true to say, also, that this is the problem that is most disturbing the world at this minute. However, the. speech was significant, first for. omissions from some of the subjects with which it treated, and secondly, for its complete, omission of one major subject to which I shall refer later.
On the subject: of the Middle East, to which I proceed at once, I spoke at considerable . length . hi- this House on- 26th September and 8th November last, when the matter was- fluid and was moving to a climax. On behalf of the Opposition, I then put the views of my colleagues: Very recently, I have taken the opportunity toread through what 1 said on those two occasions, and 1 want to say very firmly that I now see no reason to add to Or to subtract from what I said in those twospeeches. Since that time, the British and the French have abandoned military intervention in Egypt, Israel has retired from Egypt, and the United. Nations forces have taken charge for the time being.
One subject upon which a very light note was struck in the Minister’s speech was in relation to the British and French intervention in the Middle East. There was no reference to Hungary. I am not criticizing the Minister for that; I am only reporting the fact that he specifically excluded reference to Hungary when he decided that he would not have anything to say on the European situation. At the outset, I wish to make it clear that I do not want to devote much time to a consideration of the many unfortunate ill effects that have flowed from the intervention of France and Great Britain in the dispute between Egypt and Israel. I want, to refer at length to affairs in the Middle East and to developments in Hungary. In my opinion, these matters are inseparably linked in two ways. First, they are significantly connected in point of time, and secondly, by reason of the different treatment accorded to them by the United Nations organization. For those two reasons they demand, consideration by honorable senators on both- sides of the House, at though I reject any suggestion of a lengthy discussion on any other effects of the intervention, harmful and extensive as they may have. been.
I invite the Senate to allow me to. recount the series of events as they occurred. On 29th October last year, Israel made a violent and successful surprise attack upon Egypt. That attack carried the Israeli forces almost to the Suez Canal in a really triumphal approach. It was on the very next day that Russia commenced to withdraw its troops from Hungary. On 8th November last I quoted exactly what was said by the Russians on that date, and it may. be a good idea to refer briefly to it. A report appeared in the Australian press on 30th October as follows: -
The Soviet Government said tonight it was prepared’ to review the position of Russian troops in Hungary, Poland and Rumania.
In a special statement broadcast by Moscow Radio, the Government said it also was willing -
To withdraw Red Army troops from Budapest as soon as the Hungarians wished, and
Tostart talks at once with the Hungarian Government on the general position of Soviet troops in Hungary.
The statement said Russia alone could not decide the question of Soviet troops in the East European Communist countries.
– Did that appear in the press report?
– Yes, in the Melbourne “ Herald “ on 30th October. The report also stated -
Later. Mr. Nagy said the Russian had begun to pull out of the city this afternoon.
The Hungarian Defence Minister, Mr. Karoly Janza, said that all Soviet troops would be out of Budapest by tomorrow.
Other reports from Budapest confirmed that the withdrawal had started.
It has been claimed that, having regard to Russian behaviour, that may have been only done as a trick. That could be right, but I argue to the Senate that the evidence is strongly against such a suggestion. On 3rd November last a long report appeared in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ about red China’s attitude, and I propose to read a brief extract from it, and to ask honorable senators to consider whether it would be likely that red China would have said what was reported unless it genuinely believed that the Russians were withdrawing and whether the Russians would have submitted the Chinese to the humiliation of having to withdraw their words, which they did later, in the light of events that developed. I put it to the Senate that that is most unlikely. If there is one thing which the Astatic does not like, it is to lose face - to have to face about. This is what appeared in the press on 3rd November -
RED CHINA’S SUPPORT.
Communist China last night officially approved the struggle for democracy and independence in Hungary and Poland.
An official statement -
Not just an unofficial one - broadcast by Peking Radio endorsed the Soviet declaration on Tuesday about relations with other Communist states.
It said some workers had been wrong to neglect the “ principle of equality between big States and small States”.
It classed as “entirely in order” Polish and Hungarian demands “ for the strengthening of democracy, independence and equality, and the elevation of the people’s material well-being “.
On the face of things, red China, the other great Communist power, believed that Russia was in earnest and it enunciated the principles governing relations between the smaller and the larger Communist states in terms that admit of no misunderstanding. It is true that, as the situation in Hungary developed, Chou En-lai and those who stood with him later retracted that statement and spoke about counter-revolutionaries and all the rest. But at that time - and that is what I am arguing to the Senate - there was, in my view, on the face of that one piece of evidence alone, almost irrefutable evidence that Russia was in earnest in its withdrawal. As I said earlier, that was on 30th October. As I said also, Israel attacked on the 29th. the day before.
On 31st October the famous ultimatum was issued by Great Britain and France to Egypt and Israel calling upon them to withdraw from the Suez Canal within twelve hours. On the following day, 1st November, Britain and France attacked Egypt, bombed Cairo and launched other bombing raids over Egypt. On 4th November, three days later, the Russian tanks came back into Hungary. In my view, the significance of that chronological recording of events is plainly this: The Russians realized that Britain and France were in contempt of the United Nations in seeking to achieve their purpose by force and, with that astuteness which has characterized the Russians and their power of diversion to hide their true purpose, they relied upon the fact that Britain and France, two of the great powers, being in default, were not in a position to chastise Russia strongly for also breaching the commands and the principles of the United Nations organization.
Russia saw that the democracies were split with America, on the one hand violently opposed to what Great Britain and France had done, and, on the other hand, the British Commonwealth of Nations split right down the middle. What a perfect opportunity it was, looking at it from the Russian viewpoint, for Russia to so back and to re-assert its complete domination over the people of Hungary, which it did, producing, to the horror of the whole world, one of the worst carnages that has ever been known I Every member of the Senate expressed himself about it. The Australian people, just by their attitude, expressed it very eloquently at the time of the Olympic Games in Melbourne.
Tq-day, people in Hungary believe that Great- Britain and France’ also were concerned with some timing. I do not allege it, but it has been stated in the newspapers of the world by leaders in Hungary that Great Britain and France betrayed the movement for independence and freedom by thinking that Russia’s hands were firmly engaged in Hungary and Poland and that it would not be able to follow them into the Middle East. There might be truth in the statement. I do not allege that there is, but one must advert to the thought and, maybe, give some degree of credence to it.
– Some must, not one.
– I accept that correction from the honorable senator. I was -.speaking generally when I used the generic term “ one “. Looking at it quite dispassionately, I should say it is completely clear that Great Britain and France, in defying United Nations principles, failed in attempting to do what Russia, unfortunately, succeeded in doing. I invite the Senate to consider what would have been the position in the world to-day if Great Britain and France had succeeded in overthrowing Egypt and taking charge of the canal and its approaches completely. First, those two countries would have earned the undying hatred of everybody in the Egyptian state from then on. Egypt, a new nation; rash and brash in its new-found exuberance in the thought that it had come out of the colonialism to which it had been subjected, first by Turkey for many years, and later by Great Britain, would never forgive nations which came in re-asserting what in its eyes - and nobody would convince it to the contrary - was colonialism of the old and worst type. It would have roused the whole of Africa and Asia against the two nations.
– That is the honorable senator’s idea.
– lt is my idea, and it is in line with the attitude of the conference of Asian socialist movements which was held in 1956. The report of that conference is immediately available. If the honorable senator is interested, I can make it available to him. If time permits. I might even be able to read its highlights to the Senate. I should say that if Great Britain and France had succeeded and had taken over the canal in defiance of Egypt, the whole, of Africa and Asia would have been ripe for the propaganda of Russia - proper ground for almost irresistible propaganda, I suggest. It would also have led the world into war, with the great nations divided. What a calamitous position that would have been, with the Allies divided, and with Russia and the other Communist nations united and the door open for them!
I adverted a little while ago to the difference between the treatment meted out by the United Nations organization to Britain and France on the one hand, and to Russia on the other. It made the same demands; it reprehended both with equal vehemence. One obeyed after some delay, but in the other case the injunctions of the United Nations were treated with absolute and utter contempt. I think that the best thing which has been said on this subject was said by President Eisenhower on 20th February last, when he was exerting all the pressure of which the United States of America was capable against Israel to make her withdraw. He went to the American people to explain the attitude that he was adopting. I quote the following brief extract from what he said to the nation on that occasion -
I do not believe that Israel’s default should be ignored because the United Nations has not been able effectively to carry out its resolutions condemning the Soviet Union for its armed suppression of the people of Hungary. Perhaps, this is a case where the proverb applies that two wrongs do not make a right.
He continued -
No one deplores more than I the fact that the Soviet Union ignores the resolutions of the United Nations. Also no nation is more vigorous than is the United States in seeking to exert moral pressure against the Soviet Union, which by reason of its size and power and by reason of its veto in the United Nations Security Council, is relatively impervious to other types of sanction.
He further said -
The United States and other free nations are making clear by every means at their command the evil of Soviet conduct in Hungary. It would indeed be a sad day if the United States ever felt that it had to subject Israel to the same type of moral pressure as is being applied to the Soviet Union.
There can, of course, be no equating of a nation like Israel with that of the Soviet Union. The peoples of Israel, like those of the United States, are imbued with a religious faith and a sense of moral values. We are entitled to expect, and do expect, from such peoples of the free world a contribution to world order which, unhappily, we cannot expect from a nation controlled by atheistic despots.
The President of the United States, in saying that, stumbled on the great truth. 1 think thai is the exact position. I cannot improve upon that statement to any great extent, but it is perfectly clear that outside man there is a law thai should govern this matter. If people and nations are to harbour and nourish rancour and bitterness, if they are to promote self-interest and greed, then always there will be war. There is an extraordinarily simple formula, which is rarely adverted to. to govern the matter, an injunction that is contained in five simple words. “ Love your neighbour as yourself “. That is an order imposed by the ultimate authority, by divine law. and there would be no war if regard were had to that; there simply could not be. Probably one of the things that is wrong in the world to-day is that we are not on a base that has any kind of religion in it. We are on a base of complete .materialism that is crumbling and bringing everything that is erected on top of it down with it. That probably is the fundamental truth that accounts for all the disequilibrium in the world, all the conflict of nations, and all the hatred and sell-interest which are being asserted throughout the world.
Ii is time somebody drew .attention to th;ti one great principle to affirm the proposition that those who harbour those sentiments and promote those interests have taken vipers to their bosoms that will indeed sting them. And what else can one expect from -a world where those traits and those qualities are given unbridled rein? And what will halt them? There are only two things - force, or acceptance of that simple proposition contained in the five words that I put to the Senate a few minutes ago.
Happily, the fighting is ended. The United Nations is in charge. The canal is open.
– Not to Israel.
– I will come to that matter; the honorable senator need not fear. The head of the British Government which was responsible for what happened in Egypt, so far as Great Britain is concerned, has gone into oblivion, deservedly. He had to go as a concession to world opinion, as well as to British opinion. Despite ali the words with which his retirement ‘ was clouded, he had failed. He had let Great Britain down, he had let the United Nations down, and he has gone, as he had to go. Where did his fault lie? His fault, and the fault of his government, lay in the fact that there was no adherence to a principle by which they were solemnly bound, not to use force to secure or to assert their interests. They broke their international obligations under the United Nations Charter, and we saw, to our dismay as a Labour party, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom flitting from one excuse to another, and as one was rejected, even by his own people, he produced one more out of the hat.
– The Prime Minister of Australia, too.
– I am leaving him, for the moment. I am talking about the Prime Minister of Great Britain. What was his first excuse? lt was that Great Britain had to mobilize men in the neighbourhood of the Middle East to protect British lives and property. When that excuse was exploded, he said that they were there to keep the canal open. When that was exploded, tie. said that the British action in going in was police action to stop fighting. Then he said that the action was to uphold the United Nations and to give it teeth. Mr. Aneurin Bevan made a very trenchant and true comment in London on that excuse, when he said that if there was any legitimacy in that kind of argument a burglar would be able to justify his activities on the ground that the police force had to be trained. One by one, those excuses were rejected by the people of Britain and by the world.
I now come to what the Prime Minister of Great Britain had to say at the end. on 3rd November. 1956. after the fighting had commenced. This time. I think, he told what was really at the bottom of his mind. Speaking in a broadcast to the British nation, he said -
Our survival as a nation depends on oil. Nearly three-quarters of our oil comes from thai part of the world. As a Labour member of Parliament, speaking in support of the Government, pui it, “ to lose thai oil is to see our industries, grind io a standstill and starvation overtake the people “.
Yes, chaos in the Middle Bast would permanently lower the standard of life in this country; in Europe as well as many poorer countries in the world.
That was the fifth and the last position that the British Prime Minister took up. I shall not deal further with me oil matter at this stage. I hope to return to it before I conclude.
Where have we finished in relation to the Middle East? The whole matter is now back with the United Nations, where it should have remained from the beginning. lt should never have been taken out of the United Nations’ hands by Israel, Great Britain, France, or anybody else. Just at the time that intervention by Great Britain and France took place, the United Nations was substantially on the way to a successful resolution of the dispute between Egypt and Israel. Let me remind the Senate that Great Britain and France themselves had referred the dispute to the Security Council on 24th September. The Security Council had taken charge of it and had got Great Britain, France and Israel to sit down for days in private talks with the Secretary-General. What came out of it? Agreement! Egypt agreed to six main principles in relation to the Suez Canal.
That matter went to the Security Council <in two forms. One was a resolution to accept those six principles. In the second were detailed provisions for their application and implementation. What happened in the Security Council? The Security Council ^unanimously accepted the six principles, which were .agreed to, incidentally, by Egypt. The members differed upon the application, but the matter had reached that stage by 13th October. No longer was there an argument in principle between Great Britain, France, Egypt and Israel on the use of the canal. The matter was .determined in principle. 1 have acknowledged that there were disputes as to how the principles should be implemented. Three weeks after that stage was reached, Great Britain and France struck. Let me go back to the six principles, which are enumerated in the records of the United Nations, as follows: -
Everybody must acknowledge that there was a reasonable basis in principle for a settlement. The difficult problem of working out the details remained, but that would not be insuperable. Certainly, it should have been attempted, and those concerned might have persevered for more than three weeks. Everything was discarded when Great Britain and France attacked on 1st November.
What is the position of President Nasser? After all that has happened, he appears to be in a stronger position than ever. He knows now thai the United States will not attack him, and ‘that it will not allow France. Israel or Great Britain to attack him either. He knows also that the United States is opposed to sanctions. I believe that Nasser has been hardened in his determination to have his own way. It is not a very glorious finish 10 the affair from the viewpoint of the result that the democracies want to achieve.
I have referred to .self-interest as a cause of war. I think that one must have some sympathy with .a nation that sees itself cut off from vital communications or commodities. One , can understand its .desire to muscle in to assert itself in the interests of ..its own survival. We can have some understanding of and sympathy with such a nation’s reactions, hut such assertiveness is sure .to continue until there is some sort of international control of vital economic materials, such as oil. and of international waterways and communications. I know that it will take a long time for the world to think in those terms, -even if that end is achieved, but while it is possible for materials, particularly those of a strategic -character, and communications to be grabbed by some for the benefit of relatively few, inescapably there will be war when the dispossessed and those who are cut off or are in difficulty strive to get access to the things they want.
There is only one answer to this problem, asthe Australian Labour party recognized in its declaration of foreign policy. I propose to take a few moments to read portion of what our conference stated recently on this matter. It is as follows: -
Conference therefore asserts that the effective promotion of a social and international order founded on freedom, justice and peace in terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now the only, the imperative alternative to a clash of national and economic interests provocative of a third world war.
Such a social and international order requires international regulation and development by the United Nations Organization of -
Power and water potentials for food production and raw materials for industry, in such undeveloped countries as request it
Existing surplus food resources and supplies at present restricted by financial and marketing practices.
International trade routes and means of communication.
With great sincerity, I commend that thought to the Senate. Sooner or later, in the slow evolution of mankind’s thinking, man will tend more towards world government, as he is doing now. He has decided the form of it but lacks the effective functioning forms of government. Above all, his mind does not go with the conception; That is what is wrong with the world to-day. The concept of the United Nations is too new. Man is too slow-thinking. He evolves only gradually from one form of society to another, but I suggest seriously that if one is interested in the abolition of war, there is vast virtue for the world in the acceptance of the idea that the two compelling forces of war - self-interest and greed - should be denied scope. They could be denied scope if there were an international regulation so that the vital resources of the world would be available on a fair and just basis to all the peoples of the world. When I say that, I am not thinking merely of nations; I extend my thought right through to the individual human being. He has a right to share in the bounty that the world offers.
I have referred to oil as one of the great factors in the Middle East situation, and I remind honorable senators that that commodity is vital to Australia. As honorable senators know, this has been a regular theme with me. We would be exactly as Great Britain was if oil supplies were cut off from us. We would starve and be defenceless.
We should be more closely concerned with that matter and most other similar problems that affect Australia. As a nation, we should be seeking oil in Australia and in our own territories. I have referred to this matter often and will keep raising it until I can persuade this Government to use its’ endeavours to find oil within reach of Australia; oil that it can control.
We have had two experiences of the policy of the oil cartel in recent months. When the United States of America resented what Great Britain and France had done in connexion with the Suez affair, those who control the oil cut off their supplies to Europe. Eventually, President Eisenhower had to threaten them with his own direct intervention in order to keep the wheels of industry in Europe barely moving. The cartel was able to cut off a whole nation from oil. It could regulate the flow of oil to any nation.
We had a small experience of that in Australia. A difference arose between the subsidiaries of the cartel and the Queensland Government. The oil people had no hesitation in saying, “ If you do not meet our terms, you will get no petrol of a particular type “. When I have complained previously, it has been said that, technically, the oil companies could cut off the supply of oil but they would never do so. I ask those concerned with safety of Australia to consider the two examples I have cited. I urge on the Government the desirability of addressing its mind with more vigour to end the dangerous situation in which Australia is involved in connexion with this vital commodity.
Let us consider how much oil is at the basis of the situation in the Middle East and what are the main sources of supply. The figures I have are for 1955 and they have been supplied to me by the Department of External Affairs, which also is very concerned about this matter. I believe the Senate may take these figures as being completely accurate, as I do. During 1955, the production round the Middle East was:
In other countries, production figures fall away sharply. Production in Egypt was 1,800,000 tons, and in Bahrein 1,500.000 tons. The production in Turkey was as low as 200,000 tons. We need therefore look only at Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and [ran. Saudi Arabia has one of the greatest oil reserves in the world. The Middle East field has proved reserves - and I underline the word “ proved “ - two and a half times as great as the reserves in the United States of America. It is a colossal field. The proved reserves in Saudi Arabia are 5,000,000,000 tons. Oil is coming out of there at the rate of 46,000,000 tons a year.
Let us consider those who control these fields, taking them in the order of their production. Kuwait is exploited by the Kuwait Oil Company which is owned equally by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and United States interests. I come now to Saudi Arabia. The American Arabian Oil Company, which is American-owned, is in control of all concessions in Saudi Arabia, and has become the largest single exporting company in the world. Then there is Iraq. There, ownership of all fields is in the hands of the Iraq Petroleum Company, which has a shareholding equally divided between the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, the Royal Dutch Shell, the Standard Oil Company of the United States of America, and Compagnie Francaise de P6trole, a French company. In Iran also, a consortium consisting of five American companies- one British company, one French company and one Dutch company - have control of this concession. So, in truth, control of the oil in that area is predominantly in the hands of the United States and the rest of it is certainly in the hands of France and Britain, and, in a minor way, of the Dutch.
– Why is it in their hands?
– They got the concessions. I am not complaining about that fact.
– They spent millions of pounds to find it.
– They did. They found oil, they produced it and they refined it. I recognize that. They have the concessions. I am not arguing anything more than the fact that those interests have vast concessions in oil in this area, and to any one who faces this situation that is the predominant factor, one that cannot be ignored, having regard to the vital part that commodity plays in power politics, in industry and every field of human activity.
I differ with the Minister’s opening paragraph where he says -
The two principal aspects of the Middle East are Egyptian-Israeli relations and the Suez Canal.
I think any consideration of this problem in the Middle East that does not take into account the dominating interest in the matter of oil of outside countries will never help towards an understanding of the position and of the forces that swirl there, because Russia, which, as the Minister very happily expressed, has made very little progress in the area - she has directed propaganda, but has achieved no substantia] military or political success although her actions do help in keeping the area in turmoil - is seeking an opportunity to get into that field. In my opinion, she has two things, perhaps three, in mind. First, above everything else, she is thinking of oil. Secondly, she has in mind access to the waters of the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean; and the third thought that was in my mind was that above all Russia wants to get physically into those countries, to protect what, 1 think, an honorable senator on the Government side rather inelegantly described as the soft under-belly of Russia. It is on that particular boundary line that Russia is vulnerable and is without powerful Soviet-dominated states. Russia’s obvious interest is to do there what she has done in western Europe- overthrow other people and exercise complete, dominion over them and use them as buffers in any attack that might come from the west of Europe.
The Minister referred to the position of America in the Middle East. America has moved into it only in recent years. He referred to the Tripartite Declaration of the United Kingdom, France and America in favour of Israel in 1950, when they undertook to protect Israel against attack, as the new nation was just born. There has been the very interesting adherence by the United States of America to the military and economic committee set up by the Baghdad pact. The nations in the area combined with Great Britain for mutual defence and mutual self-help. There was the intervention by America against the intervention and attack by Great Britain and France in the’ area. She took a very strong line there-. She objected most strenuously not only to not having been consulted but to the breach of United Nations principles by those two countries. America’s very recent announcement that she is prepared to give military and economic aid to any nation in the area that wants help to ensure its independence and to protect it. from subversion is a very significant display of extensive interest in the. area by America. I have already referred to- the vast material interest she has there by reason of the oil concessions- that her nationals control. So, it seems to me that America has now moved to a position of complete leadership in the Middle East. In doing that, of course, she assumes- very vast responsibilities-. I am glad, to- see; America in that field. That country has vast interests* and I believe that its influence will be exercised for the resolution . of differences, in the area and may play a very powerful part in bringing peace and prosperity, to that very troubled part of the. world.
I suppose I should address myself to the question of the five main problems that still exist between Israel and Egypt. As I see them, they concern the canal, the refugees, the Gulf of Aqaba, the Gaza strip and the question of Egyptian raids on Israel. Let me take the canal first. There is a convention of 1888, the one that assures to all nations, in peace and war, a wide open canal; but Egypt broke its international obligation in that respect when it not only would not allow Israeli shipping through’ the canal but also insisted upon searching vessels of other nations which, it thought, might have goods destined for use in Israel’. That was an insult to the nations of the world. Their ships were searched. Some of them were blackballed, turned back and not allowed to go through the canal again. It. was not merely a matter of Egypt’s pre* venting Israeli shipping from going through;, it was a- matter of Egypt’s reach.-, ing. the stage when it listed certain commodities and denied the right, of any nation’ to carry - those goods through to Israel. So, they were < all influenced and affected by what. Nasser had said.
– It was piracy.
– I suppose one would’ be strictly accurate when one says that it) is at least’ a- breach’ of international obligation. It’ is a- form- of piracy. They confiscated cargoes: One could say it was piracy.
– It was an absolute, violation of the 1888 convention, at any, rate.
– - It was. a complete violation, of that convention. The matter, was then taken to the Security Council, as honorable senators know; and on 1st September, 1951, the Security Council made a whole series of findings and facts, as I have inadequately recited them, and, in the final paragraph of its resolution, said -
It calls upon Egypt, to terminate the restrictions on the. passage of international commercial shipping and goods- through the Suez Canal, wherever bound, and to. cease- all interference with’ such shipping beyond that essential to the safety of shipping and the Canal itself and to the observance of the international conventions in force:
We have that unanimous decision by the Security Council on 1st September, 1951; and Egypt did not alter its practices and nobody did anything about it.
– When was that meeting?
– On 1st September, 1951. I should say that much of the trouble that has arisen in the area stems from the fact that the nations of the world did- not face up to that injustice and did nott assert their rights about that clear breach- of ‘ international obligation right at the outset1.’ All the nations are involved in- that. They’ should have- taken concerted action’. 1 Nasser has given repeated assurances of !the freedom of the canal, but when one looks upon that gross behaviour - in defiance ;of, the United Nations Organization, how can one trust his word in the matter? The matter must be so established that there. can be no doubt for the future but that’ the’ Suez will be a truly international, highway.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting, I had reviewed the general- position in the- Middle East, as 1’ saw it, and I had reached the point where I was considering the five main- problems that are outstanding in the matter. I had1 dealt with the canal issue, and I had put the proposition that Egypt was clearly inbreach of international law hi refusing use of the canal to Israeli shipping and in searching .other vessels for goods destined for Israel. What should be done about that, in the view of the Australian Labour party, is what I come to now.
The matter is back with the United Nations, and I say at once that there must be complete adherence to the six principles accepted by Egypt and agreed to unanimously by the Security Council on 1 3th October, last. Secondly, 1 suggest that advantage should be taken of the offer made at the Asian Socialist conference last year before the trouble in the Middle East became acute. The limited .time I have will not permit .mc to read the whole of that conference’s resolution on this matter. Therefore, 1 shall read a few extracts from it and ask, presently, for the leave of the Senate to incorporate the full resolution in “ Hansard “. But, in the meantime, I ask the Senate to appreciate how that body, representative of Asian countries - India, Pakistan, Burma and Thailand are only a few - addressed its mind to the conflict that it saw coming in the Middle East. The first paragraph of the resolution reads -
In the past few weeks news of mounting tension has reached us from the Middle East, and we of the Asian Socialist ‘Conference feel that the moment is ripe for calm thought and sober counsel. The violent clashes between Israel and Egypt represent a serious .menace to peace in that area.
The resolution continued -
While this anxious situation .prevails in the Middle East, while the tempers of Israeli and Egyptian alike run high and angry slogans and cries for war fill the air m that troubled area, we of the Asian Socialist Conference consider it our sacred duty to raise our voice for calm and peace. War in the area, should it break out, will not be contained but will spread over the world, inflicting destruction and misery on all;
The resolution then sets out a number of conditions to preserve peace. The first is -
The Arab States and Israel, all of them members of UNO, should refrain from the use of force ….
The second reads -
The Arab States, -faced with the fact of Israel’s existence, should give her due recognition and work with her in harmony for the peace and prosperity of the region.
The fifth condition is -
The Colombo Powers - India, Burma, Indonesia, Ceylon and Pakistan - should use .their friendship with the Asian and ‘African nations to offer their good offices to restore peace in the region.
The last condition is -
The United Nations Organization ‘Should use its machinery .and influence for a relaxation of tension in the Middle East, and help to build an era of peace and productivity in the region.
It .is, perhaps, a pity that due regard was not had to the broad terms of that resolution. J express the thought that, in the present situation of uncertainty, the opportunity might bc taken by the United Nations at this time to invoke the friendly intervention of these powers, or of some of them. They cannot be accused of being tinged with “ colonialism “. It may well be that 0ul of ihe calmness of the kind that permeates the resolution may conic an intervener who could reconcile the conflicting interests in this area. I think, too, that the United States of America might well exert .the same kind of moral pressure now against Egypt that it directed against Great Britain, Prance and Israel in the month of November, last and since.
– Hear, hear!
– Of course, the United States itself might again exert the same terrific moral -pressure that ‘it exerted against those nations at the time of the trouble.
One cheering thing appears in the press to-day. lt has been difficult to find a point from which to negotiate with advantage against Nasser and Egypt, but it appears to-day that he is applying to the United Nations for a loan of 10,000,000 dollars. That -presents a golden opportunity, and my thought is that the United Nations could well afford to be generous in the provision of funds and facilities to assist in the development and the expansion of the Canal area, as one of the conditions. It seems to me that Egypt’s need of money - it must be real after the closure of the canal in recent months - ‘affords a stepping-off point in the negotiations that are to take place.
– On terms!
Senator- McKENNA. - I agree. I have named some of them- acceptance of the six principles. 1 think that this sanction - if , you can call it a sanction - should also apply: The big shipping owners might well suffer - the inconvenience and expense of sending ‘their vessels around the Cape for a little /longer, until a solution is reached on this point. I think there is real commonsense in that, because it appears that i.ie one thing that Egypt understands is the exertion of real pressure, and it does behove the world to join now in exerting that pressure in the interests of establishing for all time the Suez Canal as a waterway of the world - as an international highway. That must be done. I think it highly desirable that there should be provision for international supervision of the canal, or at least continuous supervision of the canal.
– By whom?
– By a committee of the United Nations. That United Nations body should be kept informed continuously of what goes on. I pass now to the second problem, a vast problem, that of the refugees. There are refugees from Israeli territory, or the territory that was occupied by Israel after the 1949 war with the Arab States.
– How many are there?
– There are roughly 700,000 of them. About 200,000 are in the Gaza strip, and the rest are scattered around Jordan and Syria in particular. The great difficulty, as I understand it, is this: The Egyptian authorities have preferred to keep them in a state of unsettlement, demanding their repatriation to territory occupied by Israel. Israel, on the other hand, says they ought to be resettled in the countries where they now are and to which they belong. The issue is one of resettlement or repatriation. It has been to Egypt’s interests to keep the refugees unhappy and unsettled so as to provide the foraging groups that have been ceaselessly invading Israel. Israel’s position is complicated by the fact that there has been an enormous increase of its population through refugees from Nazi persecution, and that kind of thing. So, during the past eight years, the whole situation has changed. I suggest that the only thing to do is to get the two conflicting parties together. There was great success when the Secretary-General of the United Nations intervened, back in September and October, and evolved the six principles. Sooner or later, the minds of Egypt and Israel must come together. We of the Labour party say that that should be done now, and we suggest that intervention by one of the Asian powers is likely to be more acceptable to both sides than if it came by the well-worn paths of diplomacy from a source that may be suspect.
– How are you. going tomake them get together?
– That is a matter of moral suasion. Sooner or later it must happen.
– Would you say that the United Nations has failed?
– One cannot say that the United Nations has failed. One can point to successes and failures, but 1 do say that this matter in the end’ will be resolved under the aegis of the United Nations, and it might as well be resolved sooner than later.
Now, there are other great problems* such as the Aqaba Gulf problem. The Aqaba Gulf, the right hand arm that branches off from the Red Sea in the north into Israel, has been closed against Israeli shipping by the guns of the Egyptians. There may be an argument that it is not an international highway. The first thing to do is to resolve whether it is or not, and, in that respect, I suggest a simple procedure. Article 96 of the United Nations Charter provides that either the Security Council or the General Assembly may ask the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion. The first step to be taken should be to refer the whole question of the Aqaba Gulf, which is so vital to Israel, to the International Court oi Justice for an advisory opinion. Then, that decision should be accepted by the United Nations which should insist upon its observance. Israel is the only country apart from Egypt that has access to the Mediterranean and, through the Gulf of Aqaba. to the Indian Ocean. It is a most vital link, not only for Israel, but also for the nations of the world. That is the problem as between Egypt and Israel in that respect.
The Gaza strip is a colossal problem, lt is a little piece of land 24 miles long and a few miles wide, occupied by Egypt and projected right into Israeli territory, divorced from the main habitation of Egypt by over 100 miles of desert. That problem needs to be resolved in general conference between the two conflicting interests.
I agree with the suggestion of the Minister for External Affairs in this matter that in order to prevent Egyptian raids a United Nations force should remain on the border until the various issues are resolved.
Unfortunately, I have had to rush my consideration of these matters. I have only some- two minutes left. I regret that the Minister did not have time - I am not complaining, having regard to the difficulties I find in dealing with one matter - to deal with the question of nuclear explosions and power. I have no time to deal adequately with that subject now, but there are indications from the Bermuda conference, both from Mr. Macmillan, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the President of the United States, of a realization of the vast danger to life in even these test explosions. Those two nations have agreed to restrict the ambit of their tests. They offered to permit observation of them if Russia would do likewise. Four days later, Russia had a complete change of face in the disarmament committee, and indicated that it was prepared to put at the top of the agenda the question of nuclear tests and explosions instead of general disarmament as the No. 1 proposal. The three nations concerned are those I have mentioned. We of the Labour party believe most strongly that apart from any committees or sub-committees of the United Nations organization, and apart from meetings of foreign ministers, there should be a meeting instantly of the heads of the three nations, in the present climate of fear of nuclear tests and explosions. They must get together to resolve this matter. There are signs that some form of agreement may be reached.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
Senator LAUGHT (South Australia) [8.141. - I compliment the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) on the comprehensive paper which he has prepared and which has been read to the Senate. I am completely in accord with what the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) has said in regard to the immensity of the subject before the Senate to-night, lt is noteworthy that the Leader of the Opposition himself was able to deal in one hour with one aspect only of the paper.
Whilst complimenting the Minister in particular, I should also like to compliment the Government on the virile and wellinformed policy that it is pursuing in relation to the Seato countries. However, 1 propose this evening to devote some time to the Middle East problem, lt was rather interesting to note that the Leader of the Opposition devoted virtually the whole of his time to that problem, lt is interesting in that a leader of the Labour party, a* Senator McKenna is, has great respect for the problems of the Middle East, because about fifteen or sixteen years ago it wa* difficult to get the Labour party to become interested in the Middle East as it affected Australia’s welfare. The policy of thai party then was that no troops should leave Australia to go to the Middle East. So, ii is very interesting to see the Labour part) paying such great attention at the present time to the Middle East situation.
The Suez Canal has always been a vital life-line as far as Australia is concerned. In World War 1. we placed our troops beyond Suez, and in World War II we did likewise. The drive of Rommel was towards Suez. He realized, in 1942, that if he could get into the Nile Delta then the war in that quarter would have been well and truly won for the Axis powers. Some of us, of course, in the course of our service have had to live in that area. It ii very interesting to reflect on some of out experiences then and to apply them to the problem at the present time.
I for one, and I believe I speak for all my colleagues, are right behind Great Britain in what it did in the circumstance* as it saw them last November. Action had to be taken at that time by Great Britain and France as no United Nations force wa;> available to be sent in. Fighting had to be stopped before the United Nations police force could go in, and consequently the troops of France and the United Kingdom had to keep the combatants apart. The Israelis and the Egyptians were at each other’s throats, as it were, and it would have been quite impossible to have sent in a composite United Nations force to stop the fighting. The fighting had to be stopped. That was what the United Kingdon forces did. was very sorry to hear the Leader of the Opposition make slighting comment on the culmination of the life’s work of Sir
Anthony Eden, who. as is known, has been seriously ill ever since his retirement from his important post as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. However, the position is that the United Nations force could not have fought its way in. The fighting had to be done by the United Kingdom and French forces; and the United Nations force was then able to control the situation. I. fear that the United. Nations force has not been able to do very much, i was rather aghast at the news, which we received just before the end of last year, that an Egyptian mob had attacked the memorial at Port Said, erected to the Australian and New Zealand forces of World War 1. Unfortunately, the United Nations force was powerless to prevent such an attack, and the Egyptian police were powerless, also. However, they were able to persuade the mob not to use dynamite, and they used hammers instead. The Australian Government, quite rightly, protested to the Egyptian Government, but I understand that no- reply has yet been received to that protest. It appears to me that Egypt, as a nation, seems to have very little control over its own people or those who engage in mob violence. That makes it very difficult indeed for the United Nations, force to do very much there.
I believe that the right honorable the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) hit the nail on. the head when he said that there should be a period of waiting, or not too much hurry, in regard to the negotiations between Israel and Egypt. At the present time, there is a bitter racial difference between these two peoples, and it would be wise to allow a measurable period to elapse so as to allow their tempers to cool and their hates to clear away.
The action of the United States of America in the Middle East rather interests me. Its recent disposition to take more interest in the Baghdad pact may be of very great importance to the establishment of peace in that area. As may be well known to honorable senators, about 1955 the several nations with interests in the Middle East agreed to form a pact, and at the present time the United Kingdom. Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and Persia are in full standing in this pact. Until last month, the United States did not take much interest in it. lt is important to remember that territories of Iraq and Persia border on the
Union of Soviet. Socialist Republics, and the Baghdad pact acts, as a check to the achievement of Soviet ambitions further south. Within the last fortnight, the United States has agreed to come into this pact in full standing. Recently, 1 was interested to read an article by Dr. Emery Bares on the implications of the action of the United States in this matter. This is the way he put it -
The United Suites, offer to help Turkey, Iraq, Persia and Pakistan in developing an interconnecting road and railway system would be an important step in the right direction.
For, at present, lines of communication between those four countries, if they exist at all, are, to put it mildly, mediaeval. . . . The highway which connects the two countries is hardly more that a glamourized goat track. There are no roads between Persia and Pakistan except via Afghanistan. Modern roads and railways linking the four Baghdad pact countries- would not only increase their military efficiency.
They would also, enormously contribute to the economic development of the region which is one of the least prosperous areas in the free world and consequently one of the most vulnerable to Communist aggression and. subversion.
This ambitious scheme fostered by America, coupled with, the American decision to raise the status of the United States in the Military Committee of the Baghdad pact from observer to partner may mean the beginning of a new, vigorous, united and clearly designed Western policy in the Middle East.
I believe that, as a result of that action of the United States in the last fortnight, there is a great possibility of developing transport in that backward area. It was my privilege and responsibility, during World War II.. to live on the Euphrates in the district to which this report relates, and 1 assure honorable senators that it is a most backward area. As the article pointed out, the roads are only glamourized goat tracks. That is hardly an adequate description. This’ tremendous drive of the United States in that area will do good for the people there.
I now wish to emphasize the benefits that can come to that part of the Middle East by the development of its resources, lt is known that oil is present in certain areas. There is water also- rivers such as the Euphrates, and a number of others. This makes possible the establishment of an irrigation system to turn the countryside into a fertile tract as it was in biblical days 2,000 or more years ago. Since then, bad grazing, the burning off of timber and the nomadic habits of the people have turned what was once, a great garden into what is now, virtually, a desert I hope that a. new look will be given to this part.
It is sometimes suggested that the
Colombo plan could be extended, and that the nations of Europe might become interested in a similar sort of scheme. Perhaps the facilities of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development could be used for this purpose. Surely that organization must have had experience which would be helpful in such an undertaking. I have before me the Eleventh Annual Report of this bank for the year 1955-56, and I should like honorable senators to hear a portion of it that relates to the work being done through loans it has made to Asian and Middle East countries; The report states-
Three projects concerned with the control and use of river water were completed or carried an important stage forward in. Asia. In Iraq a 45.000,000 dollar flood-control project, part of a larger plan which will also include irrigation services, was completed this year in time to save Baghdad, from flood damage during the season of high water. A barrage located on the Tigris 50 miles above Baghdad directs flood water into a diversion channel- leading into a barren depression known as the Wadi Tharthar. These works provide protection against the floods from which the capital and surrounding agricultural areas have suffered from earliest times, and which in 1954 caused damage estimated at more than the total cost of the project. The loan for this project was made six years ago. and was fully repaid early in, 1955 in advance of maturity.
I feel that the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which Australia and most of the enlightened nations support, possesses the means for making large areas of the Middle East fruitful, and the idea of building roads and railways could well be developed. Possibly the Muslim people, as well as refugees and others, could be used to advantage in the work of developing the area. I feel that the United States may be getting away from the position of just being a purveyor of words to that of being a leader of action in this part of the Middle East, and I welcome’ the increased interest that it is taking in the Baghdad pact.
A great thing about the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development is that, by and large, its loans are for reconstruction and development; they are not to be used for armaments and warlike purposes. Let its consider its approach to assisting industry in Asia. The following passage appears at page 1 1 of the report: -
Four loans totalling 93,000,000 dollars were made during the year all in Asia, to help industrial growth. These included a loan of 75.000.000 dollars in India to assist an expansion programme aiming at a 60 per cent. increase in the capacity of the privately-owned ‘lata Iron and Steelworks . . . already one of the largest integrated steel plants in Asia.
So, in view of the work that the bank is able to do, I feel that Australia can be proud that it is one of its foremost customers and supporters, and that it has provided eminent men to sit on its board. I should like to. see an increase of its activities in the area to which I have just referred to assist to increase production and to spread goodwill and peace.
I should now like to remind the Senate of the four main points of Australia’s policy on Middle East questions as stated by the Minister for External Affairs, because Senator McKenna made very few references to it. and it is really a matter of very great concern to the Senate. The honorable senator spent practically all his allotted time by referring to the policy of France and the United Kingdom’ in regard to Egypt. Mr. Casey said - . . belligerency by either side must be controlled, and a mutual pledge of non-belligerency required, which is no more, of course, than a re-affirmation of what was contained in the Egyptian-Israeli armistice agreement
That is self-evident. He continued -
In to-day’s circumstances of tension, it is difficult to see how raiding and retaliation can be ensured against, in practice, other than by the creation, of demilitarized zones at appropriate points on. the periphery of Israel. These should be occupied, if necessary, for an appreciable period of time, by United Nations forces.
Although the United Nations forces at these border points are not large, the fact that there are troops from Canada and the United States there should indicate to either the Israelis or the Egyptians that, if they do not pay heed to these forces, small though they be, the countries that provide them could bring in larger forces to ensure order. Although there might only be a small number of United Nations’ troops wearing the blue armband, the fact that they constitute a composite force from important nations should have a very good effect in keeping order. Mr. Casey also said -
Israel’s right to exist must be recognized, and her right to free passage through the Tiran Straits and the Suez Canal must be placed beyond doubt and respected.
That is essential, and I do not agree with Senator McKenna’s suggestion that the matter should go before the International Court of Justice in a legalistic way.
Concurrently, progress should be made in the solution of problems affecting both the Arab States and Israel. In addition, there is the big problem of re-settling nearly 1,000,000 refugees who apparently have not settled down for a number of years. Australia has been contributing annually towards the relief of these refugees, but I believe that, with the increase of productivity, irrigation and transport, a large portion of them could be found useful work, which they have not been doing for the last seven or eight years.
I refer now to South-East Asia. I feel that there has been marked progress during the last six months. At this stage, I should like to pay tribute to the imaginative, youngish men whom this Government has trained in the Department of Externa] Affairs and whom it has been sending out to key points in Asia. I understand that when this Government assumed office scarcely a post in South-East Asia was manned, but now many posts are manned by excellent men. The importance of the Government’s action can be seen in the fact that in turn the countries to whom these men have been sent have sent as their diplomatic representatives to Australia some very outstanding Asian gentlemen. One has the privilege of meeting them here in Canberra. Just as we have sent good men to those countries, so they have sent very good and very learned men to us. I think that this Government, having observed the quality of the Asian representatives in this country, can take very great pride in its expansion of our diplomatic representation in Asia. lt is unnecessary for me to stress the importance of these places beyond saying that, thanks to the working of the Colombo plan in the interchange of students, the cultural links between Malaya. Singapore. Thailand. Philippines and Indonesia on the one hand, and Australia on the other hand. are becoming stronger each year. Fiftyfour Malayan students have taken advantage of the Colombo plan, but so impressed have been 164 other Asians by what they have been told by those 54 students thai they have come here at their own expense, thereby strengthening the cultural ties between the two nations. That can only make for peace and goodwill in this area.
I wish to devote the remaining few minutes at my disposal to comment upon that part of the Minister’s speech which dealt with the matters that were stressed by the Australian delegation to the recent Seato conference. He said - the Australian delegation stressed the need for intensified action against subversion. Communist subversion is an attack on the national independence of each country in which it is operating. We have to prevent the disease from growing and spreading. We have also to expose Communist tactics so that the public as well as governments have a clear idea of where and how subversion is occurring. The basic responsibility for countering subversion rests with the government of each country, but Seato as an organization can do a great deal by collecting and publishing information and by bringing together the men in the various countries who are grappling with subversion. 1 feel that one must strike a note of caution with regard to what this Government has not done. When the Royal Commission on Espionage in Australia was in session, three most learned judges of supreme courts of various States of Australia spent much time and labour in examining this very matter, the importance of which we are stressing to our Asian neighbours. I ask the Senate to let me refer to paragraph 1063 of the report of the royal commission, which reads -
This clause requires us to report “whether any persons or organizations in Australia have communicated information or documents to any such representative or agent unlawfully or to the prejudice or possible prejudice of the security or defence of Australia “.
In paragraph 1073 of the same report, the following appears: -
Apart from the difficulties arising from the law of evidence, it seems that the law of Australia it inadequate to combat espionage, particularly in time of peace. It is beyond our power and duty under the Letters Patent to make recommendations regarding alteration of the law, but it is our duty to consider the law in order to report whether there has been any unlawful communication of information or documents to Soviet agents. lt seems to me to be a pity that this nation has not followed the advice of the royal commissioners because, as is well known. not one person was prosecuted in a court of law as a result of the findings of the commission because, as the commissioners pointed out, it was not legally possible to prosecute in the light of the deficiencies of the law with regard to this matter. At the important Seato conference our delegation pressed for intensified action against subversion. Is there nol a challenge to put our own house in order with regard to this important matter of security?
Senator GRANT (New South Wales) 18.43]. - I shall start with a reference to the remarks of Senator Laught, although I had intended to start with the statement of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey). Our friend has just made a reference to (raining Australians abroad to take part in international affairs. That statement is most untimely, because it is known that not only (he young fellows, but also Mr. Casey himself and the Department of External Affairs generally, gave certain advice in connexion with the Suez Canal, and it was rejected. It is of no use to have a pail of milk if the cow kicks it over. The pail of advice on the Suez question was kicked over by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) when he discarded the advice of these men who are so well trained. I agree entirely with what Senator Laught has said. 1 have been a member of a committee that had the honour and privilege of recommending these boys and girls for cadetships in the service, and I assure the Senate that they are of a very high standard. It is unfortunate that, in spite of the advice given to him, a gentleman who has had no training in foreign affairs should step in and, without consulting the Parliament or the country, act on his own, as the Prime Mnister has acted.
Last night, a statement was made in another place by the Minister for External Affairs. Mr. Casey has a great knowledge of foreign affairs. Many years ago I heard him speaking in Melbourne. At that time, I believe, he was gratuitously doing good work for the country, and I have a great deal of time for him because of that. I think that he is an honorable man who is trying to do his best. Last night, his enunciation was very good and he came over the air very nicely, but to me it seemed that he said only what it suited him to say. He did not, of course, put the point of view of the Australian Labour party; he put the point of view of the so-called Liberal party, which, of course, is not a liberal party at all, except in name. Mr. Casey left out of his speech everything that was worth while. He told us about the good work done under the Colombo plan. As 1 implied a moment ago, any good work that was done under the Colombo plan was undone in a week by our Prime Minister. Why the Prime Minister butted into the Suez Canal affair, 1 do not know, and nobody else knows; we have not yet been told. After he had butted in, we were told that he had done a great deal of good. As a matter df fact, his action almost wrecked the British Empire. Honorable senators who have read the essays delivered by Lester Pearson at the McGill University, at Montreal, will agree that he is a very able man with a great understanding of foreign affairs. Lester Pearson and the Prime Minister of Canada were so incensed about the conduct of the Suez affair that, for a while at least, it appeared that anything was likely to happen.
Last night, Mr. Casey spoke also about Seato, saying the same sort of thing as he said about the Colombo plan. He talked about the millions of pounds we had devoted to the organization and what a wonderful outfit it was, but he did not tell us that, from a practical military point of view, at all events, and even from an ‘ economic point of view, it is worth virtually nothing. Although the organization represents an alliance of South-East Asian peoples with Europeans, including Australians, the contribution of the Asian peoples to its activities is virtually nil. The only countries which count in Asia are India, Pakistan, to some extent - it has two governments at present, although I doubt if it has any government at all - and, whether we like it or not, Communist China, because, having 600,000,000 people, it must count. Burma and Ceylon, which are free countries, comparatively speaking, are not members. Even before the Philippines, another member nation, lost President Magsaysay, it was a country which America had absolutely in the bag and would do only what America wanted it to do. From that point of view, I do not think that Seato is of very great importance.
– It is a paper tiger.
– Yes, it is a paper tiger. The Prime Minister is a most extraordinary individual. 1 do not want to say anything that I should not say. 1 like the attitude of Mr. Casey; he does not get down to the level to which the Prime Minister descends. The Prime Minister, with all his oratory, has a strain of what I, using the vernacular, would call dirt. I do not think that he was ever an Australian. Always when he was abroad, until the last time, he has been a Scotsman, but the last time, according to the right honorable gentleman, he was a colonial boy. He agreed to see Colonel Nasser. I do not know why he butted iri, and I do not think that anybody else knows. To my way of thinking - I may be wrong - Australia was the last country in the world that should have butted in. Those persons who remember the last war will know that, in Egypt, rightly or wrongly, there was a great antagonism against Australia. That is one reason why he should not have butted in, but a Tar more important reason is that we support a White Australia policy. I am sorry that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is turning into nothing but an imperialistic outfit. What I saw in Africa convinced me that we were lucky to ‘be a White Australia. The Prime Minister, who represents a country ‘that believes in a White Australia should not have gone to Egypt to antagonize Asians, Africans and all the so-called coloured peoples. I know that one of our lady senators was in the Philippines once, and she said that she had convinced the people that the White Australia policy was not racial but economic.
– I hope I did.
– Well, if she did she is a better man than I am, Gunga Din. Only an Australian fool could be convinced of that. I wonder what Senator Robertson would have replied to a gentleman I met when I was trying to support the argument that the doctrine of a White Australia had nothing to do with racial policy. 1 met a man in Hong Kong, a graduate from Sydney University, who had been in Hong Kong for many years, and had made a lot of money. He wanted to come to Australia because he thought it was a great country, and he picked a very nice place - Rose Bay - as a place to live if he could get here. He said to me, “ I do not want to compete with Australians. I have enough money to live on. 1 do not want to take any money out of the country; I want to take money into Australia. If I go to Australia, will 1 be admitted? “ I said to him. 1 am sorry to say that you would not be admitted “.
What was the use of Australia butting in on the .Suez Canal affair? T do not know, and nobody else knows. The more we study this affair .the less we know about it. This is what the Prime Minister said on the subject -
Great Britain was quite justified in not consulting Australia nor even informing the members of the British Commonwealth.
Those are very nice words, are they not?
– That .is , the right honorable gentleman’s form.
– I know, and it would be all Tight on a -race-course, ‘but it is no good in this Parliament. This is the Prime -Minister’s form - for the .past seven years Ihe .has -said that next Pancake Tuesday or next Easter -this or that will happen. In connexion with .internal affairs he has said, “ We will .put value back into the £’1 “ and in the case of external affairs he lias said, “Look what we have done under the Colombo plan “, <or in some other way. I admit that the Colombo plan is good, and I would like to meet .some of -the boys from other places who come here under .the Colombo plan, but all that ;is useless when the Prime Minister takes the chair with Nasser.
What happened when ‘the right honorable gentleman met the President of Egypt? Nasser took all the tricks. The United States of America was behind him, naturally. The United Nations supported him, and agreed that he had a right to occupy the Suez Canal zone and to nationalize the canal. The oratory we hear from Mr. Menzies, this facade, this posing, is all very well when broadcast from Parliament House, but sweet words butter no parsnips, and when the Prime Minister met Nasser, Nasser took all the- tricks and Mr. Menzies went out the same door as in he went.
I am sorry that, since the discussions on the Suez Canal, there has been a wide rift between Great Britain and the United States. There is no doubt about it. I receive letters from the United Kingdom and from Canada. I know what Mr. St. Laurent said, and I know what the people of Great Britain are saying. They blame even the strikes in Great Britain upon America. They said that the United States of America had no right to do what it did. All of the countries concerned - Great Britain, United States of America, France and the others - were continually talking about morals, ethics, justice and freedom. They talked about democracy and our way of life, and brought out all the cliches that the Prime Minister uses and criticizes other people for using. The fact is that there is no morality or ethics in the Suez Canal affair, lt is nothing more or less than a struggle for oil. 1 have a great regard for President Eisenhower. He is a great soldier and a devoutly religious man. Not long ago, he invited the King of Saudi Arabia to the United States to talk with him. This King of Saudi Arabia is a very fine man. They have a great democracy there. They have no parliament, the people have no say in the government of the country, white slavery is legalized and the so-called royal family participates in it. If any of the slaves escape and are captured, they have their heads cut off without a trial. Everybody knows that. That is typical of life in Saudi Arabia.
This christrian gentleman went to America to see President Eisenhower. What they wanted to discuss, of course, was oil. The King of Saudi Arabia had an entourage of 62 persons. The President of the United States went out of his way to give him a special welcome. It is true that the Mayor of New York said that he would not demean his office by going to meet the King, but the President met him. Why? Because there is a great world organization known as Aramco. It is a fusion of American and Saudi Arabian oil interests. They have the cheapest oil in the world in Saudi Arabia, and it is very profitable: The United States of America, which is as good as, or as bad as, any other exploiting country, has a special grant over an oil strip at Bahrein, lt is 10,000 feet long, and the concession has been granted by the King of Saudi Arabia. From that strip, the Americans could bomb all the other oil fields, not only in Saudi Arabia, but anywhere within 1,000 miles, including the Persian Gulf area.
This great democracy of Saudi Arabia is very concerned with our way of life - the British bulldogs, the Americans, the great, white people who condescend to talk to the so-called savages of Africa and Asia. Oil is so profitable that the King of Saudi Arabia gets from it 300,000,000 dollars a year. There are 322 princes royal who get 22,000 dollars a year each, and it is all coming out of oil. There is a cabinet of ten men, who are not chosen by the people, but are picked by the King. He has four princesses who get 200,000 dollars each a year. Prince Feisal has paid 2.000,000 dollars for a palace in Cairo. He has just given the Queen of Iraq jewels worth 900,000 dollars.
Why do we not admit that this is a fight for oil, and that we have to keep the Suez Canal open because if our tankers have to go round the Cape of Good Hope, costs will be increased. The United States of America is deeply concerned with oil in Saudi Arabia and is prepared to fight Great Britain to the death over it whether we speak the same language or not. That is what all the fuss is about, and nothing else.
We say the Russians use all sorts of cliches. I have never tried to defend the Russian butchers-. I could speak about what happened in Budapest if I had the time. I think some one did mention the massacre of Hungary. This attack on Suez made possible the massacre Of Hungary. There is no time to talk about it now, but if it had not been for that, the Russians probably would have compromised in Hungary, just as they did in Poland.
The information concerning the palaces being built in Saudi Arabia may be verified from the American magazine “ Time “. The palace at Jiddah cost 28,000,000 dollars. This King has 24 palaces in all. He is one of the democrats who is concerned about opening the Suez Canal; and this is what the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) was prepared to allow Australian boys to be butchered for once again! The palace that is being built now is the best of all. It will cover an area of one square mile. It will have all kinds of things such as swimming pools, soccer fields and harems. It is a beautiful state of affairs! They are so primitive over there that all the State records are written in pencil! The public does not know about these things, but this is what the Prime Minister tried to defend, except that he was to defend the British side of the whole matter.
The British are no worse and no better than any one else, lt would be foolish to think that America has done all these things without any reason. When we criticize America, we must remember that the British have double-crossed America. In that very reputable paper, the “ New Statesman “, appears an article by a very well-known man, Mr. R. H. S. Crossman, although I know all the facts he mentioned myself. He points out that every aeroplane that was used by France was supplied by America and that there would have been no British Valiants but for American machine tools. The Thunderhawks, the Bearcats and the Hellcats were supplied by America. They supplied 1,100 Hunters, 100 Seahawks, all the Avengers, all the Skyraiders and all the helicopters. These machines were supplied under an agreement through Nato solely for the defence of Europe. Both the British and French Prime Ministers signed an agreement which stipulated that these planes could be used outside Europe only with the consent of the American Government. What did they care about honour and dignity? They cared nothing and neither did the Americans. Capitalism knows no honour; it knows only profits. This article to which I have referred also states that Mr. Head, the MinisMr who resigned, made things worse because Tie said that the British used these planes because they could not distinguish their own planes from those of the enemy, ls it any wonder that President Eisenhower said, “ You are not kidding to me; you will get hack to where you came from “?
In a moment, I shall show that all this talk about improving the situation has made things incomparably worse. It has increased tension between America and England. It has made the maintenance of the White Australia policy more difficult than ever, lt has made the coloured peoples of Asia and Africa antagonistic towards the people of Australia who hold no bitter feelings towards them. 1 come now to the Egyptian side of the question. 1 have not the time to deal fully with the treaty of Constantinople, except to say that under that treaty the Suez Canal was to remain open to the ships of all nations. There has been much criticism of the Egyptians for stopping Israeli ships, but 1 ask honorable senators: What about the actions of the British between 1914 and 1918? Did they honour that treaty? Of course, the answer will be that that is a horse of another colour, that the policy of the British is, “ Do not do what I do; do what I tell you to do “. I think that before 1888 the Egyptians were under the domination of Turkey. Egyptian control over the Suez Canal was to expire in 1968 - in another eleven years. 1 have great sympathy for the Jewish people. They are the only people who have come out of all this decently. I could speak for hour* about the way they have been raided, because 1 know all about it. Perhaps, too. it was a mistake ever to have had Palestine; but now that it is there it has to stay. I remember a controversy that took place between Sir Isaac . Isaacs and Dr. Julius Stone. If my memory serves me correctly. Sir Isaac Isaacs pointed out that these things might happen, but that it is too late now to do anything about them. These people cannot be uprooted, lt is up to us to protect them because they have done a. great job. They are an advanced people, a scientific people. They have given to an, literature and music more than any equal, number of people in any other part of the world. I do not think that can be disputed1 by any one who is prepared to study these matters.
The British, for whom we have so much time and who, we assert, will do nothing they should not do, have had close dealings with Egypt for a long time. I am very sorry for the poor Egyptians, lt is said’ that they are not hygienic. Neither would we be if we had to live in pig-sties. The British have been there now for some 70 years. There are 22,000,000 people in Egypt, and of that number 3.000,000 have no immediate access to drinking water, 4,000,000 suffer from trachoma - they are either totally or partially blind- 8,000,000 have diseases of the blood and 11,000,000 are more or less in a state of ill health. If Egypt were somewhere else, if Palestine were somewhere else, and if the Suez Canal were somewhere else there would be no argument about it at all. All this argument has arisen because the Egyptians are so close to the Suez Canal and can block it at any time they like as they have been doing.
As I have no desire to extend the time of the debate, 1 say in conclusion that something must be done. The United Nations organization, with -all its faults, is the best instrument for peace that man has been able to devise so far. It seems to me that, outside of the United Nations, the only alternative is war. Of course, war would mean the end of civilization, the end of life as we know it. In an atomic war, the human race would be destroyed. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to do all we possibly can to see that war does not happen again.
We can stop war only if we understand its underlying causes. All my life, I have been opposed to war, except the last war, which 1 believe was necessary. I am convinced that, if that war had not occurred, fascism would have dominated the earth. The people should be fully informed on events likely to lead to war. The statesmen of the Great Powers use only cliches when referring to the possibility of hostilities - the President of the United States refers continually to the rights of man - but we must realize that the main cause of war - I do not say it is the only cause - is the struggle for markets. As oil is the most important commodity in the world to-day, the efforts of nations to acquire large quantities of oil are likely, more than anything else, to cause war. Our Prime Minister was prepared to do this dirty job, and have our boys massacred in order to make a holiday for the oil kings of the world.
– When one rises to participate in a debate in this chamber, it is usual for him to make some remarks about the previous speaker’s contribution. I find it extremely difficult to comment on Senator Grant’s speech, because the honorable senator flitted, figuratively speaking, from flower to flower at a terrific rate, and I am not a good gardener. I hope that many of the people who are listening to the broadcast of these proceedings are better gardeners than I am.
I am glad that an opportunity has been afforded to us to debate international affairs. During recent years - at least, since I have been a member of the Senate - the people of Australia have taken a far greater interest in foreign affairs than ever previously, and I believe that their interest is growing daily’. This, of course, is due to circumstances such as improved communications and the advent of rapid air travel. In consequence, Australia is not now so isolated as it was. Furthermore, .the people quickly realized that the development of atomic and hydrogen bombs had increased the horrors of war.
Events in the Suez Canal area in recent times have caused considerable apprehension. The interest of the people in foreign affairs was intensified by the action that was taken by the United Kingdom and France, as well as that of the United Nations organization, and they are not unmindful of the part that has been played by the United States of America in that connexion. However, those things have passed into history and, in my humble opinion, to deal with them in this chamber to-night would tend only to stir up anger, animosity and hatred. There is not the slightest doubt that mistakes were made on all sides. The attitude of Great Britain and France, as well as that of America, was criticized, not only in the respective parliaments of those countries, but outside them. Even in this chamber, those countries were criticized. As we know, the United Kingdom and the United States were divided on the Suez Canal issue.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has been criticized very strongly by Senator Grant for the part he took in certain negotiations. Putting it mildly, the honorable senator tended to run down the right honorable gentleman. I should like my stand on this matter to be perfectly clear. I think that Mr. Menzies played a leading role in the events connected with the Suez Canal trouble. He enjoyed the confidence of the British Commonwealth of Nations and, indeed, of all the free nations of the world, and I think that Australia can be justifiably proud of the manner in which he carried out the onerous task that was allotted to him.
As I said before, I do not intend to hold a post-mortem on this matter, but I shall endeavour to offer constructive criticism. We should look forward, rather than backwards. The democracies of the world must endeavour to heal the wounds that were caused by the breach between America and Great Britain over the Middle East situation. This is our number one problem. In my humble opinion, the future peace of the world depends on those wounds being healed. Furthermore, it is time that the democracies looked at the United Nations organization, lt is necessary for the democracies to remain strong. We need America, and America needs us. Unless we combine against communism, we shall be sunk. As our Prime Minister enjoys the respect of the democratic nations, we should be able to assist in achieving this objective. Indeed, it is vital, not only to our existence, but also to the peace of the world, that we should do so. The success of the recent Bermuda conference augurs well in this connexion. America is now prepared to join the Baghdad pact. That, in itself, is a tremendous advance. It is prepared to share with Great Britain atomic weapons which will play in the future, as they have played in the past few years, a tremendous part in maintaining peace in the world. Our foreign policy must be aimed at achieving peace between these two great democracies. Nothing requires greater attention than that matter, and we are in a unique position to give it that attention.
I think we must re-assess our opinion of the United Nations organization. Not the slightest doubt exists that, in theory, the United Nations organization is essential, it is, in theory, an organization which should, and could, ensure the peace of the world. However, for a long time realists have doubted its effectiveness and capability in enforcing world peace and justice. There is no doubt about the concept of the organization being correct, but can it really carry out what we wish it to do and hope it will do? As I say, grave doubts have existed about it for some time and those doubts have been justified by events in the Suez Canal area during the last few months.
Doubt also exists as to the readiness of not only the great powers but also the minor powers to accept decisions of the United Nations. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) to-day told us of Egypt’s lack of obedience to the demands of the United Nations organization, going back to 1951. Things like that have raised those doubts and confirmed them greatly. Doubts also exist as to the ability, or the willingness, of the United Nations organization to enforce its decisions against any recalcitrant power. That goes back quite a long time, too. Korea is one illustration, and we have not been reassured of late during the Suez crisis. We know that the United Nations has issued warnings, but no notice has been taken of them.
When we consider Egypt itself we see Nasser’s contempt for the rulings of the United Nations organization, his contempt of its order to allow free passage of Israeli ships, his action even to-day in regard tothe control of the canal itself, and his action in the Gaza strip and in the Gulf of Aqaba. In fact, Egypt has told theUnited Nations it can just go to blazes; it takes not the slightest notice of the organization. Then, take the case of Israel itself, lt is apparent that the action of the UnitedStates of America carried far greater weight with Israel than did that of the United Nations. There is not the slightest doubt that Israel got out of Egypt because of pressure brought to bear by the United States of America. The United Nations organization did not achieve that objective.
Then, we have the illustration or Hungary and the shameful confession of impotence on the part of the United Nations. Russia is not taking the slightest notice of it whatsoever. We then come to India. We could not get a stronger upbolder of the United Nations than the Indian Premier Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It was only a few days ago that the United Nations organization acted about Kashmir. What did Nehru do then? He simply refused to obey the request of the United Nations. So, I think that we must consider whether the United Nations organization is ideal. Under its present set-up, 1 do not think it is. At best, it lacks the force to impose its will, and it is only obeyed by great, or small, powers when it suits them. At worst, it is used by all nations as an instrument of politics or propaganda; something to be used when it suits them, and to be flouted when it does not suit them.
However, I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that, in the end, we must place our trust and reliance in the United Nations organization, because eventually it will be the power which will ensure peace in the world. Despite all its faults, we must place our trust in it; and it behoves us to support it. I do not think that the change will come about quickly, or as quickly as the Labour party or the Leader of the Opposition believes it will. It may come about after a certain amount of disarmament on the part of the Great Powers, and when the United Nations organization itself has a police force through which it can enforce its orders. Until then, the only hope of keeping peace in the world is for the democracies to remain strong. We must keep our swords sharp and our rifles, not only loaded, but also cocked.
What is the alternative to this? It is to give in, to disarm and submit to Communist domination of the world. Our only hope against communism is to remain strong. Our strength has saved us during the last five or six years; and we have to rely upon it for probably the next ten or twenty years; but, eventually, I hope, with the Labour party, that the United Nations organization will be organized in such a way that it will be able to maintain peace in the world.
The next thing we, in Australia, have to recognize is the unpalatable fact that the United States of America is now the leader of the democratic world and that Great Britain has had to yield pride of place in that respect. The reasons for this change are many. There is the matter of wealth. The wealth of Great Britain, and of the British Commonwealth of Nations, was expended during many years of war before the United States joined in. America owes its present strength to its manufacturing ability, its numbers, and also to another factor which the Opposition has been stressing, namely, its control of oil resources. We have to admit that it was not the United Nations organization but the United States of America that brought to a halt the actions of France and Great Britain in Egypt. When America said, “ Stop! “ Great Britain had to stop because of the various factors I have already mentioned. It has been clear from the reports of the Bermuda conference that America is the leader these days. For example, that nation has promised to Great Britain guided missiles, and the development by America of this very effective weapon which in my opinion is maintaining the peace - is an indication that in defence preparations that nation is far ahead of Great Britain. There are various aspects of the question of Great Britain obtaining arms from America, but the fact remains that America has a great lead over the rest of the democratic countries - and I hope over Russia, also- in atomic weapons.
The United States of America also controls, both in its own continent and in the Middle East, practically nine-tenths of the world’s supply of oil. The possible closing of the Suez Canal at very short notice by a puppet dictator handicaps Great Britain and gives a marked lead to the United States, lt is as well to bear in mind that Australia is always in danger of becoming more isolated by the closing of the Suez Canal. To all intents and purposes, it is closed to British countries and will remain closed, because it can be sabotaged within a few hours. That makes the position of sea communication between Australia and Great Britain via the Suez Canal very precarious. If the canal were closed, ships from Australia to Britain would have to go through the Panama Canal or round the Cape of Good Hope. The closing of the Suez Canal would also have a bad effect on air routes from Australia to Great Britain. Further, the lines of communication between Great Britain and South-East Asia, where Britain has many interests, would become much longer and more dangerous and difficult to keep open in time of crisis. This affects British commitments in SouthEast Asia. Any lightening of its defence responsibilities there means that Australia’s defences become weaker. All these factors tend to make us look towards the United States of America rather than to Great Britain for assistance. We must realize that we are not a very strong country. We need help and good friends. We must reexamine our defences, naval, air and army, because of our geographical isolation.
A point raised by honorable senators opposite was the weak position occupied by Australia in the industrial world through inadequate supplies of oil. I am not concerned whether oil is controlled by this or that cartel, but I am concerned from a national point of view with the difficulty of getting enough oil in time of crisis to keep our nation going. I do not know whether the answer would be to have a fleet of tankers as a unit of the Royal Australian Navy or whether the Government should own a fleet of tankers. Fortunately, when the Suez Canal was closed. Australia had enough oil in reserve to keep going, but the day could come when those reserves would be exhausted. This is a matter which must be carefully investigated.
Last night, the Minister several times referred to the assistance that Australia had given to various countries through the Colombo plan and how it intended to give further aid. The object of the Colombo plan is to raise the standard of living of Asiatic countries, and to show to them the advantage of our democratic way of life. I wonder whether we have been successful in either of those objects. Only the leaders of the countries assisted really know what Australia is doing for them under this. plan. I doubt whether nine out ten or even ten out of ten of the common people of the Asiatic countries would know the first thing about the Colombo plan. I doubt whether many people in Australia know much about it. Arc we really raising the standard of living in those countries’? The amount of money that Australia is spending in working out this plan is comparatively infinitesimal, and it may be helping to raise the standard of living a little. What we are doing is to help the leaders to provide certain amenities. As an example, we have spent something like £20,000,000 in India. I do not think that that sum will buy the friendship of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru when it is placed against the fact that the Russians have poured into India treble that amount. The Colombo plan has a good, Christian spirit behind it, but I am doubtful whether it is achieving what is intended. Some aspects of it are extremely good, but. one line of action that should be keenly followed is to bring workers, students and farmers - not political leaders or members of the judiciary - from Colombo plan countries to Australia to let them see our way of life, and then return and tell the masses about it. A second step should be to send our experts, doctors and teachers to those countries to teach the people. I feel that to assist these countries to undertake these big works is wrong, and that to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on such things as irrigation schemes, which the ordinary inhabitant thinks are being undertaken by his own government, is not achieving our objective. I know, however, that there are difficulties.
I think we should be more selective in the countries to which we give aid. Certain countries which obtain help under the Colombo plan are also getting a lot of assistance from the Communists. They openly admit it, and say that they will accept help from both. In effect, they are playing off the democracies against the Communists. In those circumstances, aid under the Colombo plan becomes a matter of bribery. It is a question of who is paying the most or who is achieving the greatest effect. The Colombo plan has certain good points, but 1 repeat that I think we should be more careful about the way in which it is used. 1 refer now to nuclear tests which, because of the forthcoming British test at Christmas Island, has become a matter of great interest. For several years, the threat of the atom has led to the maintenance of peace in the world. There is not the slightest doubt that America’s lead in this sphere during the last five or six years, with Russia behind her, has led to peace being maintained. But that stage is past, and now the two leading world powers, United States and Russia, between them have a stockpile of atomic weapons which is sufficiently large to destroy the world. We might ask ourselves this question: Will larger and better atomic weapons do more to ensure peace? I do not think they will. I believe the time has arrived when we should consider calling a halt to the tests that are being carried out by the leading nations.
Of course, from a military viewpoint, Great Britain is far behind those other two powers. She has never yet tested a hydrogen weapon. If she does not carry out tests, she will have to rely on America for the supply of such weapons. For that reason, there is something to be said for the test that will be carried out in the near future. I cannot imagine Great Britain being engaged in a major war in which America will not also be engaged as an ally, in which case she would have complete access to America’s secrets and weapons. I feel that the leaders of Great Britain and the United States gave the world a valuable lead at the recent Bermuda conference when they repeated previous statements that they were prepared to abolish atomic tests, or at least to reduce the number of them considerably. That was a moderate approach and one which, with any luck, Russia might follow.
However, the fact remains that the exploding of these weapons is becoming increasingly dangerous. Some say that they are dangerous and others say they are not, but undoubtedly danger exists. It is high time that a conference of the “ big three “ was held to discuss the matter. Whether that will happen remains to be seen, but I feel that the democracies have given a lead. Possibly it boils down to a question of supervision, and I think that perhaps President Eisenhower’s “ open skies “ suggestion was a step in the right direction.
There were many other matters that I wished to discuss to-night, but my time has expired. I should like to have touched upon Seato and Indonesia, but I became too engrossed in the subjects which I have dealt with.
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, I support the motion, because it gives to the Senate an opportunity to discuss the Government’s foreign affairs policy. The resume that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) presented was a very factual statement of what has been happening for several years past, but the right honorable gentleman did not say what his policy would be in the future.
This debate has revolved principally around the situation in the Middle East, and f should like to spend a few moments on that aspect of it which has been dealt with by most speakers to-night. I think that we should pose to ourselves the following questions in relation to the Middle East: Should Israel exist? Should her integrity be guaranteed? Should the Suez Canal be an international waterway? Is oil the predominant question in Middle East politics? I should say the answer to all those questions is “ Yes “.
We can say that the nation of Israel has been established by the United Nations. lt has been brought into existence because the Jews wished to have a homeland of their own, and because it should exist. lt is our duty, as citizens of the world, to ensure their existence as a nation, and to guarantee their integrity. We know that the history of the nation of Israel has been one of very keen opposition from the surrounding Arab countries, and I should say that the stir-up in the Middle East can be attributed almost entirely to the very deep hatred that exists between the Israelis and the Arabs. The economic position in Egypt is like that of other countries which, as conditions at home have become worse, have looked for something abroad with which to occupy the people’s minds. That situation obtains in Indonesia, which is asking for the right to annex Western New Guinea. I think that the hatred between the Jews and the Arabs will exist for a great number of years; but it is our responsibility, and the responsibility of those who represent us in the United Nations, to ensure that the integrity of the Israelis is not encroached upon.
The Suez Canal was intended to be an international waterway. It is the responsibility of the United Nations, which has taken over now in that part of the world, to ensure that the canal does become truly international. The question of oil as a predominant feature in the Middle East has been dealt with by several speakers. This matter has a great deal to do with the politics of both England and America. Israel, for many years, suffered greatly from border raids, and it was clear that unless she took a hand she would be finished as a nation. The result was the Israeli aggression, which, I think, was quite justified. We have spoken at length of the 1,000,000 Arabs who had been dispossessed. They could have been easily assimilated in Arab countries, if that had been the wish of the Arab people; but they were left near the borders of Israel to be a disruptive force and’ to provide raiders upon Israeli territory. That is the fault of the United Nations and of the people of the rest of the world, who should have insisted that these Arabs be settled and given the right to live like anybody else. This course has been taken in respect of other dispossessed people. For instance, the Hungarians who have been dispossessed have been given a new way of life.
Much was said about British and French intervention in the canal dispute. In my opinion, the intervention was justified. If the British and French had not intervened, the canal might have been further damaged. The Israelis were moving towards it and they could easily have destroyed it because it was of no value to them. The British and French intervention stopped a war that would have involved all the Arab states, because the Egyptians provided very little effective opposition to the Israelis. Eventually, there would have been a complete war between the Arab states and the
Israelis. The British and French intervention was, therefore, timely. My only criticism of it is that the British and French fooled around too long with bombing, which continued for seven or eight days. They showed their hand strategically, and having gone in, they stopped. They should have gone straight through and taken control of the canal, with the result that the bandit in charge of Egypt, Nasser, would have lost his position as head of the state, and another Egyptian government would have been formed.
It is useless to tell me that the other Arab countries really look to Nasser as head of the Arabs. They consider him as an upstart and they are not very pleased with him as a leader of the Arab world. He would have been stripped of his power and a more moderate government would have been formed; and all the trouble that we are now having, with Nasser starting the ball rolling again, would have been avoided. Negotiations could then have continued on a diplomatic level and we would not have the fears that we have to-day that the conflict will start again in the very near future. I have noticed a press report to the effect that the Israelis are to send a ship through the canal as a test. If they do, and if it is denied passage, the Israelis, I should say, will march once again.
The attitude of the United States of America to the Middle East situation is not of much credit to that nation. To the Americans the conflict was Whitehall versus Washington. To-day, it can be said that London diplomacy will be secondary to Washington diplomacy. America, having asserted itself as the predominant power in the democratic world, will now do what the British and French did a few months ago. America is now taking a much greater interest in the Middle East and has promised a show of force if communism takes hold there. Communism is likely to develop at any time in the Middle East in such countries as Syria and even Iraq. Now that America has shown its superiority, it will again. I hope, work hand in glove with the British. Senator Wordsworth spoke at length to-night about the friendship between the British and American nations, which, everybody realizes, is essential to the welfare of the democratic world. The Leader of the Opposition linked the Suez affair with the tragedy in Hungary. In my opinion, he does not understand the outlook of the Communists. He said that the Communists were moving out of Hungary at one stage in the crisis and were withdrawing their tanks. He suggested that the Communists were going to allow the Hungarians to take charge of their own affairs. He made the fanciful suggestion that Russia intended to pull out of Hungary.
– Russia had no intention of doing so.
– Of course not. The Hungarian revolt rose from the roots of Hungary. It came from the towns and from the country. The Russians acted shrewdly. They wanted a congregation of the leaders of the revolt and their followers where they could get at them easily, so they took their tanks away. The Hungarians thought they had won the revolt and they poured into the capital city. When they were in the trap, the Russian tanks returned.
They did not do so because of Great Britain’s action in the Suez Canal zone. If Russia had allowed the Hungarian revolt to succeed, what would have happened in the other countries behind the iron curtain? The suggestion by the Leader of the Opposition that his argument is sound because the Chinese Communist Government had made a certain statement is on a par with writing a letter to Molotov.
The United Nations has failed badly both in Hungary and in Egypt. Some say that the United Nations stopped the British and the French when they invaded the Suez Canal zone. They were not stopped by the United Nations but by the United States of America. The United Nations did nothing in Hungary, because it met with some difficulty there. If Great Britain and France had stood on their dignity over the Suez Canal, the United Nations would not have done anything there either.
The United States pulled the strings to get the Israelis back behind their own border. It promised that the Gaza strip would be placed under international control, and that the Gulf of Aqaba would be free. What will happen if those promises are not kept? I believe the whole trouble will start again unless the Americans, within the United Nations, keep the promises they have made to the Israelis.
Much attention has been given to-day to the Middle East, but little has been said about South-East Asia. That should be exercising our minds more than the Middle East. The Middle East is a global affair, but South-East Asia touches Australia very closely as a nation. Our efforts should be concentrated in that area. The other great nations of the world could settle the Middle East problem without much help from us, but we have to take a vital part in SouthEast Asia for our mutual welfare and for the lives of all Australians.
I repeat the policy of the Anti-Communist Labour party on South-East Asia: We believe it is most important. We recognize that the only effective defence organization in this area is Seato. Any attempt to undermine it - and many have come from the Opposition in this place - are acts of national sabotage. Seato can exercise very little influence over countries outside the organization. We know that it is a defence measure, and therefore we must do more as a nation for the countries outside Seato.
We ask the Government to set up a permanent administration within all the non-Communist Asian countries to assist in their economic, social and national development. We suggest that that organization should be treated as a major instrument of defence, and that a considerable portion of the defence vote should be devoted to it. The Government has done a great deal through the energetic administration of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) to help those countries by means of the Colombo plan. Much has been done for the economy of South-East Asian countries. We think that something more should be done through a permanent organization such as I have suggested, with representatives from all the other countries, so that we shall know what they really want. It would mean self-help with Australia leading the way.
We understand the threat of communism that is facing the people in Malaya and Singapore. We know that Singapore is the only British base remaining between Australia and Communist China. The maintenance of garrison troops, including Australians, is absolutely essential, especially when they have been asked for by governments in the area. Remembering the contempt for international authority shown by ihe Communist states which are members of the United Nations, and especially the Russian suppression of the Hungarian people, we are of the opinion that the Peking Communists, having already shown their contempt for international authority by taking up arms against it, are not yet ready under international law to take their place in the United Nations organization. It is our duty to ask the Commonwealth Government to continue to refuse to recognize the Peking regime. We are also of the opinion that the Australian Government should continue the non-recognition of the Soviet Government itself and should ignore any representations that may be made to re-establish a Soviet embassy in Australia.
If we give recognition to the Communists in China, we will make them the leaders in Asia and will leave countryless 10,000,000 Chinese who look to Formosa as the one centre of free China. That being so, it is essential that Australia should refuse to recognize a regime which has as its foremost objective the destruction of democracy as we know it in this country. Speaking of red China and its non-recognition, I believe it is time the present Government did something concrete in respect of the recognition of free China in Formosa. The Government is very sluggish about this mainly because Great Britain has recognized red China; but it is time we showed our independence and realized that Formosa is doing something for the welfare of Australia. We were told to-day that red China had 2.500,000 men under arms. What is to stop that colossus from moving, and moving south? The only thing stopping it is the fact that there is a well-trained, wellorganized and well-armed force on ils flank. I refer to the free Chinese in Formosa. They are well-organized and well-trained, and red China cannot move her army while she has that threat on her flank. Formosa will be our guide as to when red China does move because that country will have to be conquered first. When we see that happening, it will give us a little time in which to prepare ourselves. For our own welfare, we should appreciate that the free Chinese in Formosa are fighting, preparing and spending money on our defence. We must recognize that fact if we admit that our great danger will come from Communist China. If we do not believe that, then there is no need to pay any attention to my argument; but I feel that any thinking person will realize that our future danger lies in Communist China in that she could attack in Indo-China, through Laos and Cambodia if that well-armed, well-organized force was not on its flank.
In this overall strategy for Australia’s welfare, it is important that we should appreciate America’s concept of defence. At the moment, America proposes to rely for her outward defence on what we do if we want help from her. At the moment, America’s outward defence stretches down the Okinawas through Formosa and the Philippines to Australia. If we allow that defence line to be cracked, as it would be if we gave away Formosa, Australia will no longer be in America’s outward defence. If that should happen, the outward defence line of America will be drawn further back towards her own country, through Hawaii, and Australia will be left out on a limb if a major war should develop.
We have spoken a little about defence. We must realize that we must maintain our ordinary defences and not rely entirely upon atomic weapons about which so much is said to-day. It is my belief that if Australia should be involved in another war that war will be fought with conventional weapons, because we shall be fighting in the Indonesian sphere. Indonesia is likely to go Communist very soon. President Soekarno is striving now to bring Communists into his Cabinet. If that happens, we could have the same thing in Indonesia as happened in Czechoslovakia in that Indonesia could be ruled by the Communists within a very few years. That being so, it is important that we keep up our conventional weapons in the military field. If Indonesia moves, and even if she has red China behind her, I should say we will be fighting with ordinary conventional weapons.
Much has been said about atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs, that it would be a shame if these weapons were used. The use of weapons, whether they be hydrogen bombs or atomic bombs, is all a matter of relativity. They will cause greater damage and destroy many more people, just as did the bullet when it superseded the bow and arrow. It is possible that they will shorten wars. During the last war, between 4,000,000 and 5.000,000 were killed in a period of five years. Perhaps, the same number of deaths could result in a period of six weeks if atomic bombs or hydrogen bombs were used. We have to be sure that any war in which we engage is worth while. Although atomic and hydrogen bombs are diabolical things, and we hope that they will not be used in any future war, so long as the other side continues to experiment with them, we also must continue experiments. Although the Russians have had a lot to say about the American proposal to explode another atomic bomb in the Pacific shortly. I remind the Senate that they have exploded six atomic bombs since this experiment was. first mooted.
The speech of the Minister for External Affiairs was factual, but I do not think that it went far enough. I trust that the Government will take notice of the points of view that I have expressed to-night, because the events that are occurring to the north of Australia might have a profound influence on our future well-being.
– I welcome the opportunity that has been afforded to the Senate to debate foreign affairs, because I sincerely believe that this chamber should play an important part in the formulation of our foreign policy. Frankly, I deplore the lack of interest of many of our people in world affairs, a lack which I consider, is attributable to two things - first, the tendency by some politicians to brush aside this subject, and secondly, the tendency of some editors to give front-page prominence to sporting events - only this morning, one newspaper published a boxing photograph on its front page - and to relegate to the centre pages of their newspapers ministerial statements on foreign affairs and comments thereon by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna).
They should take a leaf out of the book of some American editors. It is not my intention to pose as an ardent heroworshipper or a great authority on America, when 1 say that it was my privilege to stay in that country for eight weeks as a representative of this Parliament at the United Nations. During that period, I had occasion to discuss foreign affairs with a certain leading newspaper editor. I. said to him, “ The American newspapers provide a vast coverage of world news, which helps to keep the people fully informed “. He replied, “ It is interesting to hear your opinion on the matter, because the newspaper proprietors have just formed a committee to consider whether we are giving sufficient prominence to the material that we receive “. 1 hope that the Australian press will follow the American lead, and endeavour to present to the people a full coverage of world opinion on international affairs, instead of biased versions. 1 shall not engage in party politics on this matter, because I look forward to the day when all members of this chamber will speak with one voice on our attitude to foreign affairs. Such unity can be attained only by informed discussion. I have noticed, during the four years that I have been a member of the Senate, that the Government provides only very limited opportunities to debate foreign affairs. Senator Kennelly, when speaking to the motion for the adjournment of the Senate on Thursday last, said that we would come back on Wednesday and discuss foreign affairs, which night, or might not, keep us here for a couple of days. I think that the honorable senator gave expression to the attitude of a number of honorable senators. Implicit in his remarks was the thought, with which I. agree, that more time should be made available to honorable senators to deal with this important subject.
I said, a moment ago, that I would not engage in party politics in this matter, but there is just one thing that I should like to say in that connexion: I regret that the Australian Labour party has refused to nominate some of its members to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee that has been established by the Parliament. I hope that wiser counsels will prevail in this connexion. I am a great supporter of the United Nations as, indeed, are honorable senators opposite. Therefore, we should combine to formulate a united policy on foreign affairs.
When I visited the United Nations, in November and December last, I was authorized to speak on behalf of Australia. To-night, however, I am expressing my opinions as a private senator. I should like to say that I considered it a great privilege to be a member of the Australian delegation to the United Nations, where I had an opportunity to see, at first hand, the valuable work that is performed by officers of the Department of External Affairs. I assure the Senate that our departmental officers at the United Nations apply themselves, not in the interests of any particular party, but of the nation as a whole. They are beyond criticism. As Australia has grown to maturity, it is important that our representatives overseas should be capable and sincere. Both economically and diplomatically, Australia is now a world power. It exerts a great influence for peace in the world, not because of its weight of armaments, or the numerical strength of its armed forces, but because, through good statesmanship, it has developed a friendly alliance with powerful nations. For this reason, I trust that succeeding governments will maintain the present high standard of our representation abroad.
I wish to refer now to the kite-flying that has been indulged in by a certain section of the press in relation to the Australian Ambassador to the United States of America. We have in Sir Percy Spender a man who is admired, as far as I can tell, a man with an alert mind who is a great worker for Australia, both in the diplomatic sphere and also in the United Nations. It would be awful if any move were made which would lower the calibre of our representation in that post. I would hang my head in shame if we did not send the best possible person to represent Australia in this, the most important of our diplomatic posts overseas. It is important not only because America is a great and powerful nation and our good friend also, but because it is so close to actual world events through the United Nations organization whose head-quarters is situated in New York.
The United Nations has to-night come in for some gentle, some harsh and some misguided criticism and also some praise. I start off by saying that it cannot be denied that the United Nations is a force, or influence, in preventing or delaying war. In my opinion, if it delays the outbreak of a war for a day, a month, or longer, it is doing its job; it is proving its worth, whatever its cost, whatever the frustration, or lack of decision that may appear to handicap it. I refuse to be one of those who say, “ Let. us get in and have the war and get it over now “. I believe that is all fairytale nonsense because on three occasions the people of this country have been asked to enlist to fight a war to end all wars. Any organization that is a delaying factor is beneficial to the world; and that is not only a sound but also a Christian outlook.
I desire to quote one brief statement made by Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge, the senior member of the United States delegation when Mr. Foster Dulles was absent from theUnited Nations. Mr. Lodge was on the spot, and he would not make a statement just to pull wool over the eyes of anybody. Summing up the recent meeting of the General Assembly he said -
The Assembly did many things but one achievement stands out. That is the turn away from war which the United Nations called the world to take in connexion with the Middle East crisis. Indeed, if the United Nations had done only this thing in its short life, it would have more than justified its existence.
Criticize the United Nations as one may, a third world war did not develop out of the Israel-Egypt or Anglo-French-Egypt disputes, lt has been delayed so far, and I give it as my opinion that the United Nations, because of its influence, is worth its salt for that. The United Nations is a wonderful forum, first of all for the diplomatic activity it permits between sessions, during sessions and behind the scenes away from the ears of the prying press. In it friendships are made and problems are ironed out. This opportunity would not exist if there was no United Nations. It is a wonderful forum enabling the leading statesmen of the world to address each other, and I say quite sincerely that I was proud, when the committee of which I was a member was not sitting to be within radio range and hear our Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) take the opportunity in those dark days to warn all people of the importance of AngloAmerican relationships which have already been dealt with to-night by my colleague. What a wonderful opportunity it was, and what a striking effect it had upon the representatives of the smaller nations who were told that they were just as much interested in the continuance of good relations between the United States and Great Britain as was Australia. That is another advantage we have in keeping the United Nations.
I was a delegate to the third committee which dealt with social and cultural subjects. Forgetting its peace-making or wardelaying activities, the United Nations, in what it is doing for refugees and children, and through its specialized agencies, including cultural agencies, is worth keeping going. As a result of the Hungarian situation, as honorable senators know, 150,000 refugees poured into Austria. What would have been the position of those people in a poor country like Austria, already loaded with 30,000 refugees from the last war. if the United Nations had not an organization to deal with those refugees? I believe it was a happy chance of fate that that crisis arose when the delegations of 80 countries were meeting in New York. Appeals were made and nation after nation stepped in, lead by America and backed up by other nations - splendidly backed up by our own Australian nation - to give help to those refugees.
There are, of course, other committees which did great work on which Australia was represented. I am not all praise for the United Nations. I should like to quote briefly, and modestly support, some remarks made during the speech of the Minister for External Affairs in summingup the role of the United Nations. He said - : 1 believe this reflects the fact that we mu« recognize that the United Nations cannot always be counted upon to reach objective and fair constructive conclusions on situations in which group pressures and the promotion of special interests have tended to weaken its effectiveness and its impartiality. This was all too evident in the Assembly’s handling of the Israel-Egypt dispute.
I believe that is a problem which will face those who take part in future discussions of the United Nations. Even in our third committee, the social and cultural committee, which should have been the most non-political of all committees, one could see after a few days various little party groups forming and they voted according to their political doctrines rather than on the facts and fairness of the point at issue. If that happened in the third committee, how much more would it be evident in the bigger scope of the General Assembly talking about national questions? I wonder whether there is not a serious fault in the fact that in the United Nations each State, however small it may be, has a vote which is just as powerful as the vote of the bigger’ nations. It may be a problem almost impossible of solution, but if it is not solved it may be a factor which will militate against the success of the United Nations.
A weakness that is obvious to almost every one is the power of veto in the Security Council. Let us be fair, however. Russia, the nation that is criticized so much for using the veto, is not the only power which resorted to it. Great Britain has used it, and other nations also. Although it is a weakness to have the power of veto in the Security Council it is important to have it in matters of great crisis such as developed in October and November last year. In 1950, Dean Acheson of America used it during the Korean conflict when the “ Uniting for peace “ provisions were inserted in the United Nations charter. The result was that if a resolution were vetoed in the Security Council at a time of crisis, an emergency session of the General Assembly could be called if seven nations asked for it. That happened when an emergency session of the General Assembly was called in October last.
It would be unwise and weak to take part in a debate such as this without giving some views on foreign policy. In my humble opinion the Western Powers - the great nations of the world - have been at fault in that, for too long, by not having a straightout, set policy from which they would not deviate, they have allowed themselves to be made to dance to the tune of world communism. That is not necessary. World communism is neither as powerful as it appears or as it thinks it is, and certainly not so powerful that it can make the Western nations dance to its tune if only they would dig their heels in. During the Egyptian crisis, the Communists said that they would send volunteers into Egypt, but when the United States of America made a straight-out statement about that, no volunteers from the Communist countries appeared. What is needed are top-level conferences among the Western Powers to settle upon a policy that shall be stated publicly, often and loudly, so that Communist countries and their satellites can be made to understand that the Western Powers will not deviate from that policy.
So far as Australia is concerned, it should continue the policy already laid down by this Government - for which it deserves the highest praise - of having trade pacts and treaties with other countries so that through these and its diplomatic channels it can strengthen existing friendships and forge new ones. That is our job in this part of the globe. Each one of us should do all we can, individually, to bring back to its fullness the friendship between the United States of America and Great Britain.
I believe that it is not only possible, but also probable, that world peace will be achieved in our time, but until we can get all nations happy, the next best assurance of World peace is to have two strong bodies in the world - the west against the rest - highly armed, strong and forthright in their views. That is better than having several groups of nations with varying ideas, some armed and some unarmed. If a mother and father quarrel, the children misbehave, but if the mother and father are strong disciplinarians there is little or no child delinquency.
Finally, I believe in the United Nations. It can never be condemned as being not worth while unless and until another war breaks out. My views are summed up in the following words of an old philosopher:’
My soul, sit thou a patient looker on;
Judge not the play before the play is done:
Her plot hath many changes; every day
Speaks a new scene; the last act crowns the play.
While we have comparative peace on earth we may be sure that the United Nations organization is doing its work.
– Like Senator Marriott, I welcome the opportunity to debate a paper on foreign affairs, and also like Senator Marriott, I deplore the fact that these papers are not presented more frequently in this Parliament. Surely it is obvious to anybody who is watching world affairs unroll before their eyes that there are definite trends and phases which veer violently from one direction to another as time moves along. On that account the presentation of these papers to Parliament is all too infrequent.
At the outset of a debate such as this we should ask ourselves what we require in a foreign policy. The foreign policy of any country should provide for the maximum security and benefit of its people. We are not like the nations of old that could build a wall and retire behind it and say, “ That is the maximum defence we can put around our people “. To-day we become involved not merely in the defence of our own people, but also in those economic and cultural ties which may be deemed secondary but which may be summed up in the meaning of the old proverb that “Prevention is better than cure “.
Prior to the last war, it might truly have been said that Australian foreign policy was merely an appendage of British foreign policy, and except for one or two examples, the most notable of which was the stand taken by the late William Morris Hughes on New Guinea in 1919, Australia’s policy was merely a rubber stamp copy of whatever Whitehall said. During the last world war, it came as a terriffic shock to the majority of Australians to realize that this relationship could no longer continue because, in a global conflict, as the last one was, Britain was heavily over-committed in her own areas, and we were thrown on our own resources. Everybody remembers the plea that Australia made to the United States of America for help, but I think the fact was overlooked that although the United States of America had stood aloof from affairs in Europe it always had an interest in the Pacific zone, and that interest still remains. lt is interesting to note that in Lord Allenbrooke’s memoirs, which are now being published in the press of Australia, Lord Allenbrooke complained, at that stage of World War II., that although it had been decided to concentrate on a “Win the European war first “ policy, the Americans kept more divisions of armed forces in the Pacific zone than they had in the European zone. That underlined the fact that no matter how earnestly we believed in the European policy, Australia needed to have sufficient troops and materials and striking forces at the home base to make sure that this continent would not be lost and have to be won back again. That illustration from the last world war shows how differently world conflicts are viewed from different parts of the globe. 1 said that I should welcome more frequent opportunities to debate foreign policy in this Parliament because of the quick changes of policy that occurred among the nations. The foreign policies of the free nations are -largely shaped to meet the foreign policy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I suppose the most recent example that has occurred during the last couple of years has been Russia’s concentration in the Middle East, which has brought into being the so-called Eisenhower doctrine. The co-operation between Russia and the Western Powers that existed at the close of World War II. lasted until the time of the Berlin blockade. That was followed by the period of the cold war, which ended at about the time of Stalin’s death. Or should 1 say that Stalin’s death was made the excuse for the termination of the cold war, because long before his death there were signs of a playing down of world tension? 1 always thought that the succeeding period would be most dangerous, because we would be getting back to the old attitude of complacency. Then there was the preaching of peaceful co-existence, which was dealt a harsh and cruel blow at the time’ of the Russian attack on Hungary at the same time a3 the Egyptian crisis.
I see the present period as being one of silence - not the silence of peaceful people living together, but a brooding silence which has been forced upon people by tanks, guns and jet aircraft. There is quiet in Egypt, Hungary, Poland and China which exists, not because of the will of the people in those countries, but because it has been imposed upon them by the means I have mentioned. One. country which I suppose I have mentioned more than any other in foreign affairs debates but which we hear very little about is Kashmir, a small nation of 4,000,000 people. In that country there is a silence which is somewhat different, because one great nation has consistently defied the United Nations organization, which it has lauded and has tried to use from time to time. The United Nations has been by-passed, and now an attempt is being made to present us with a fait accompli. Because of sudden changes it is difficult to draw a line of demarcation at the time, but since 1945 the various periods to which I have referred have been fairly well defined.
I was interested in the speech of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey). It was largely a factual and true statement of certain things that have occurred during the last few months; but it was notable also for its omissions. Although I have had some very severe disagreements with Mr. Casey on certain matters, I give him credit in many ways as Minister for External Affairs. I feel that during the Egyptian dispute he was the one man in the Cabinet who was torn between two loyalties, although finally he was loyal to the decision of the Government. He, above all others, was more sensitive to Asian opinion and to the opinion of the Middle East bloc than was any other person, and certainly more sensitive than was his leader, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). However, I was sorry to note that, when he mentioned the Israeli attack, by implication he lauded it and condemned Egypt. His statement sounded to me like the old and very dangerous concept that might is right. I do not believe that it is a good thing to be jubilant when a certain nation is defeated in battle, because surely we have learned that often the victor eventually becomes the vanquished.
When the Minister referred to the Israeli dispute but did not mention the attack by Great Britain and France, he made a serious omission from his speech. In spite of what can be said in justification of the action of Great Britain and France, I believe it was an error which could have brought a third world war right to our doorstep. If it did nothing else, it certainly should have shocked everybody out of their complacency and displayed just how suddenly out of the clear blue sky war can be brought to us, not in a matter of weeks, but overnight. lt cannot be denied that the attack occurred without prior consultation with Australia and other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and with that other great partner about which we have heard so much to-night, America.
Senator Marriott referred to the power of veto, but he failed to say that Great Britain has exercised that power. I think I am right in saying that, of the 70 times it has been exercised, it has been used only three or four times by countries other than Russia. I think it was very sad and a great diplomatic blunder for Great Britain to have used it against America when the resolution before the United Nations was to give effect to the very thing that Great Britain and France claimed they had to do by force of arms. Mr. Macmillan made no secret of the fact that he went to the recent Bermuda conference to repair the damage that had been done to British and American relations.
The Suez Canal is not as close, so to speak, to the minds of people of the Asian countries, which are just emerging as nations and of which the world must take notice, as it is to Australians, South Africans and Britishers. We feel that the Suez area is almost a suburb, because two generations of Australians have already fought there and thousands of people normally travel through the canal every year going to and from the Old Country. The attack on Egypt could easily be construed by the Asian peoples as an attack by two big white nations against a small coloured nation. That aspect of the matter has been completely overlooked by most honorable senators, but it was one of the matters about which Mr. Casey was worried at the time. We were all glad to see Great Britain and France withdraw, but their action is open to the construction that they did so only after Russia had made threats against them. So we are left with a legacy of damage, the extent of which we shall probably not know until our diplomatic listening-posts have been able to ascertain it.
Australia’s foreign policy is determined largely by our membership of the British Commonwealth of Nations, our friendship with America, our membership of the United Nations, and our interest in the peace and economic and political stability of South-East Asia, lt has been clearly demonstrated that the Prime Minister’s first consideration is our membership of the British Commonwealth of Nations, but that Mr. Casey - and I am not trying to play off the one against the other - has a greater insight into the Asian mind, and that that is the matter which weighs most heavily with him. I lean towards Mr. Casey’s viewpoint. For too long, Australian people and Australian governments have not had a clear conception of the thoughts, fears and aspirations of the Asian peoples. Is is all very well for people on the other side of the world to be critical of Australia; but as American and British influence declines in South-East Asia, as it will during the next eight or ten years, we are the one nation which will be vitally affected and which largely will have to step into the breach. lt was interesting to note also the way in which Mr. Casey glossed over some of the serious matters that could have been dealt with. If one reads the Bandung papers, it becomes obvious that there has been an outcry against what these nations have described as colonialism.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. M. McMullin). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, 1 formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 April 1957, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1957/19570403_senate_22_s10/>.