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Commons Chamber

Volume 640: debated on Thursday 18 May 1961

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House Of Commons

Thursday, 18th May, 1961

The House met at half-past Two o'clock

Prayers

[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Private Business

Berkshire And Buckinghamshire County Councils (Windsor-Eton Bridge &C) Bill Lords

[ Queen's consent, on behalf of the Crown, signified.]

Bill read the Third time and passed, with Amendments.

Manchester Corporation Bill

Middlesex County Council Bill

Read the Third time and passed.

Oral Answers To Questions

The West Indies

Inter-Governmental Conference, Trinidad

1.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what agreements have been reached at the inter-governmental talks in Trinidad about the future of the West Indies Federation; and whether he will make a statement.

The Inter-governmental Conference in Trinidad ended on Tuesday. I have not seen a full report of its conclusions, but I understand that agreement was reached on a wide range of matters. There are, however, certain outstanding questions which remain to be decided. I hope that the Constitutional Conference which opens at Lancaster House on 31st May will reach final agreement on all these questions and that it will be possible to agree a date for independence.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware how delighted are all those of us who take an interest in the Caribbean that there now seems to be every prospect of a Federation with Jamaica taking part in it? Could he say with regard to these talks, which have reached so much agreement, to what extent it seems likely that the Federal Government will be less powerful than was perhaps originally envisaged, and also to what extent any special concessions have been made to meet Jamaica's particular difficulties?

The fundamental argument in these territories, as the hon. Gentleman knows very well, is between those who feel that there should be a very tight form of Federation and those who feel that there should be a much looser form. What I find encouraging about the Inter-governmental Conference, which was expected to be very difficult, is that it has, on the whole, reached a considerable range of agreement. There are some matters on freedom of movement and of allocation of revenues that we shall have to discuss in London, but it is too early to be precise on the forms that the decisions will take.

Jamaican Sugar

5.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many tons of Jamaican sugar are included in the additional West Indian allocation of the United States sugar import market, arranged in April, 1961; what surplus production this is likely to leave in Jamaica; and what representations are being made by the United Kingdom in Washington that the surplus should be taken by the United States when the reserved figure of 1,200,000 tons is allocated to producer countries later in 1961.

A total of 31,349 short tons of Jamaican sugar is included in this allocation. This will leave about 70,000 short tons available for export this year in excess of all Jamaica's existing export quotas and United States allocations, although much more could readily be made available for the United States market if required. The United States authorities have been given full information about the amounts of sugar which the West Indies could supply in 1961 and in the long term.

Will Her Majesty's Government help by pressing in Washington that America should take as much as possible of the sugar as quickly as possible? Secondly, could Her Majesty's Government help in putting on further pressure in Washington to make sure that longer-term guarantees in respect of West Indian sugar are given instead of having this matter reach danger point every year?

We put forward the claims of many territories, not just of Jamaica but of the whole of the West Indies and such places as Mauritius and Fiji and countries in the Commonwealth, too. Representation is made on behalf of them all. Answering the second part of the supplementary question, the allocations which are made are temporary, and I think that the question of the permanent quotas will arise later when the American Sugar Act is amended.

Northern Rhodesia

Constitution

2.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made in the discussions on the new constitution for Northern Rhodesia.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) on 11th May.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House any idea when he expects to be able to make a statement on the results of these discussions and will he confirm that, although the Federal Prime Minister will be advised of the progress made, there is now no question of Sir Roy Welensky having to be consulted about these discussions?

On the first point, I gave what can only be a very rough guess last week. I should think that we should be able to make an announcement on these matters in the early days of June, in other words, very shortly after the House reassembles. On the second point, the hon. Gentleman is wrong. The Federal Government and the Federal Prime Minister have every right to be consulted. Indeed, it is laid down that they will be consulted, but they do not themselves take part in the discussions.

Is it not a fact that now that we are on the threshold of reaching agreement between Great Britain and the people of Northern Rhodesia, represented through their various political parties, it would be most regrettable if an outside influence were brought to bear, possibly vetoing the successful outcome of these talks?

There never has been any question of that, and in his own words—I paraphrase them, though they are as near to what he said as makes no difference—Sir Roy Welensky said, "I recognise that I am not a party to these talks but that the Federal Government have a full right to be consulted." They always have been consulted, and, of course, they will be.

Does my right hon. Friend realise how welcome will be the end of his first supplementary answer? Does he not agree that there could be nothing more stupid than to continue this malicious vendetta against Sir Roy Welensky, who has every right to be consulted?

Primary And Secondary Schools

10.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many primary and secondary schools, respectively, there are in Northern Rhodesia for Africans.

There are 1,543 lower primary schools, 460 upper primary schools and 26 secondary schools.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that Moscow Radio recently broadcast the statement that there were only eight schools for 3 million Africans in Northern Rhodesia? Will he do his best to see that his Answer receives maximum publicity?

African Schools (Disturbances)

13.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what were the findings of the Commission of Inquiry as to the causes of disturbances in certain African schools in Northern Rhodesia in 1959 and 1960; and to what extent the United National Independence Party was held responsible for influencing the disturbances.

The causes of the disturbances are considered in Chapter X of the Commission's Report, of which I have sent my hon. Friend a copy. The Commission exonerated the United National Independence Party of direct responsibility but was satisfied that the party's policy and the actions of some party members were indirectly responsible for the disturbances.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that Answer and for sending me a copy of the Report. Will he agree that the part played by the U.N.I.P. was about as bad as the part played by the Communist Party in strikes in this country?

I am not sure that I should like to make such a comparison without examining it a good deal more closely. This Report was laid before the Legislative Council last July and the Government have said that virtually all the recommendations will be accepted.

Nyasaland

Election

3.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when the Nyasaland election will be held; and what are the reasons for the delay.

There has been no delay. The procedures for the registration of voters have been going on smoothly, and, as I have already undertaken, the election will be held as soon as is practicable.

What does that mean? May we have the date of the election? The people of Nyasaland want to get on with the job of electing their own representatives in order to have someone to speak effectively in their name.

Of course I cannot give a date. If the hon. Member studies these matters, he will see that there are a considerable number of statutory processes to go through for which minimum times are allotted, and the length of time which they take depends on matters which are entirely unknown to me, such as the number of claims which may be registered against those who have put their names on the voters' roll. It is, therefore, not possible at present to give a date, but it will be as soon as practicable, and that is not very far off.

Employment

21.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what special steps are being taken to find employment in Nyasaland for the increasing number of those seeking work, in view of the increase in population due to the recent influx from Angola.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many refugees from Angola from Portuguese policies of colonial repression have sought asylum in Nyasaland over the last few weeks? Can he assure us that those who seek asylum will be given it and that their welfare will be looked after?

I do not know of any refugees. I should have thought that it was rather unlikely that there would be any, because, after all, the two territories are about 600 miles apart.

Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to have a look at the copy of the Malawi News of Nyasaland and I have here, which includes photographs of Angola refugees in Nyasaland?

Of course I will. I shall be glad to do that, but the hon. Member knows very well that there is a great distance between the territories. I have no information that any influx has taken place.

Kenya

Mr Motsamai Mpho

4.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what grounds Mr. Motsamai Mpho, a British-protected person from Bechuanaland, was refused permission at Nairobi to proceed as a delegate to the Pan-African Conference at Cairo, and was returned to Bechuanaland handcuffed and under police guard.

Mr. Mpho arrived in Nairobi on 20th March by Central African Airways. The East African Airways Corporation, however, declined to book him on to Cairo, his ultimate destination, because he had neither a passport nor a visa for the United Arab Republic. In these circumstances, Mr. Mpho had no claim to an in-transit pass, without which his entry into Kenya was illegal. He was therefore served with a Notice to a Prohibited Immigrant under the Kenya Immigration Regulations, 1957, and required to remain on board and return by the aircraft on which he arrived. He was only in Nairobi some 45 minutes and at no time there was he handcuffed or placed under police guard, nor was he handcuffed when he arrived in Bechuanaland.

Whatever the circumstances and whatever the technical excuse, is it not clear that this conference in Cairo was held with the good will of the Government of the United Arab Republic and that they would immediately have admitted him into that country, even if he had been without a visa? In view of the representative character of this conference, which was even attended by an observer from the Conservative Party, is it not a great mistake to have prevented a representative from Bechuanaland from attending?

No. I am bound to say that I do not agree with that. With respect to the hon. Member, I cannot accept that it is the merest detail to put on the Order Paper statements about people being handcuffed and under police guard where that is not so; I cannot accept that it is not a matter of great importance. It should not be done without the closest investigation by the hon. Member concerned. It seems to me quite clear that if somebody arrived with only a local travel document valid within the Protectorate, and with neither a passport nor a visa, then the action of both the airline and the Kenya Government was entirely correct.

Does not the Government of Bechuanaland have a certain responsibility here? Did this gentleman apply for a passport and for a visa in Bechuanaland and had he difficulties in getting them there?

I cannot answer that without notice, but I will gladly go into the matter. The only travel document which he had was a Protectorate Administration native's travelling pass, and clearly the East African Airways Corporation, in my view rightly, thought that that could not possibly be accepted as taking the place of both a passport and a visa for onward transit to Cairo.

On a point of order. In view of what the Minister said, am I entitled to make this personal statement—that a month ago I sent him a letter from Mr. Mpho including the statements which are made in the Question and asked him to make an inquiry. I have had no reply to that letter.

Public Meetings

8.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will propose to the Governor of Kenya that the ban on public meetings be lifted.

19.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the present restrictions on the holding of political meetings in Kenya; and what changes are proposed.

Any person wishing to hold a public meeting must first apply for a licence to the local district commissioner who, if he is satisfied that the meeting is not likely to prejudice the maintenance of public order, is required to issue the licence. Some time ago, district commissioners were advised to bear in mind, when considering applications, that there was a grave danger that public meetings might so exacerbate the already high political feelings that breaches of peace might occur. But with the formation of the new Government this danger seems less acute, and it is the hope that applications can now be granted much more freely.

Is the Secretary of State aware that only yesterday in the Legislative Council in Nairobi the Minister stated that the ban would be lifted and that I had, therefore, hoped to be able to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the change? If district commissioners still have power to prohibit meetings, will the utmost influence be used so that the African leaders may guide public opinion in Kenya against violence and against continued oath taking?

There is something of a risk either way, in allowing public meetings and in stopping them, in the present situation in Kenya. I am, of course, aware of what was said in the Legislative Council yesterday, and it is the fact that the Government have decided, with the agreement of all Ministers, consisting of people of all races, that this ban should virtually disappear and that public meetings should be permitted.

There will be a general welcome for the statement which the Minister has just made. Will he bear in mind, in the existing circumstances in Kenya and against the background of anxieties of the kind frequently expressed from the benches behind him, that in politics, sometimes, if one shows too much fear and distrust, one creates the very conditions which one fears and that, although there may be risks either way, there are sometimes important benefits to be gained by taking risks on the side of creating good will?

I do not dissent from that, provided that the hon. Gentleman is prepared to recognise the other side of the coin, that there are risks at present in having a more flexible policy in relation to public meetings. Either way, a risk has to be taken. The decision of the Government of Kenya is that the lesser risk of the two is, in effect, to allow public meetings.

Mr Jomo Kenyatta

11.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now make a further statement of his policy on the release of Jomo Kenyatta.

No, Sir; the Governor made the position in regard to Kenyatta's release very clear in his statement of 1st March.

Does not the Secretary of State know, particularly after his recent talks with Mr. Nyerere and others, how strong the feeling throughout the Continent is? Is he not aware that Mr. Kenyatta—as he is now officially described by the Government—denounced violence in much rounder terms than were used by that distinguished Commonwealth statesman Archbishop Makarios when he was in similar circumstances, and that public opinion, including white European settler opinion, in Kenya was, if reluctantly, reconciled to Mr. Kenyatta's release some months ago, when the Governor made a very unfortunate broadcast? Will the Secretary of State look round the Commonwealth, learn from history, and accelerate what is an inevitable process which can do nothing but help the Government in reaching a peaceful solution in Kenya?

I have always thought it a fallacy to compare Mau Mau with other even violent nationalist movements such as Eoka. There were elements in Mau Mau, as the House knows very well—though it may not wish to allocate responsibility—which set it quite aside from comparisons of that kind. Of course, all these matters were taken carefully into consideration by the Governor and myself before we reached this decision.

Agricultural Development, Masailand

12.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he is taking to promote agricultural development in Masailand.

Her Majesty's Government have made, and are making, considerable sums of money available under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act for the Kenya Government's agricultural development programme as a whole. I am asking the Governor whether he can provide details of those parts of the programme which relate specifically to the Masai areas, and I will write to the hon. Member when I have his reply.

I thank the Secretary of State for that Answer. Will he suggest that the Governor might have a word with the Paramount Chief of the Masai, who is particularly interested in extended help and advice in cattle raising? It was said at one time that the Masai were not very receptive to such guidance, but the Paramount Chief assured me the other day—no doubt, he said the same to the Secretary of State himself—that his people would benefit very much from extended advice if this could now be provided.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. The attitude of the Paramount Chief and, indeed, of the people of the Masai Territory is as he describes it. I will certainly bring the point he makes to the attention of the Governor.

Land Prices

14.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what was the nature of the consultations he had with Mr. Michael Blundell on the problem of land prices in Kenya since the general election in Kenya.

My discussions with Mr. Blundell, and, indeed, with the Ministerial delegation as a whole, ranged over the entire field of the country's development needs.

They included general discussion of projects which would have a bearing on land prices.

But this problem as such did not call for specific discussion at this juncture because we are concerned primarily with the total amount of finance that would be available for development in Kenya, and not with detailed projects.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many people in this country hope that the visit of the Under-Secretary of State to Kenya at this moment will lead to a rather more realistic approach to this serious problem?

I could not accept the last line or so of that supplementary question. It is certainly of value that the Under-Secretary of State is in Kenya at the present time, and I have asked him to look specifically at this point.

Law And Order

15.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a further statement about the preservation of law and order in Kenya in view of the murder of Mrs. Swanepoel on 14th May.

The Minister for Internal Affairs in Kenya made a full statement yesterday, and I am placing copies in the Library of the House.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are now two distinct organisations in Kenya, one called Nyahunyu and the other called the Land Freedom Army, composed of ex-Mau Mau detainees, which are engaged in stealing arms, training for violence and drawing up lists of people to be murdered? Are we to stand aside as we did with Mau Mau until these subversive organisations have power to spread their influence?

No, Sir. As the House will see from the Answer which I am making to a Written Question today, on a comparison between now and 1952, the number of police in Kenya is about twice as high as it was before the emergency started. The statement that the Minister of Internal Affairs in Kenya made yesterday puts the matter in perspective. It shows the growth in crime, not merely over the last month or so, but over the last few years—a phenomenon known to us in this country as well—and it shows quite clearly that the impact of crime is not directed against Europeans and Asians but that the overwhelming number of victims of the crimes are Africans. It is natural and wholly right that we are concerned, above everything else, with the safety of people of our own blood and who have come from these islands, but I am sure that we must see the problems of law and order in Kenya as a whole and not in racial terms.

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the Minister of Defence and Internal Security used these words yesterday in the Legislative Council in Kenya:

"There was no evidence that crimes of violence against Europeans and Asians had been committed for political or subversive reasons since the emergency. In every case that had been brought to court personal gain or a grievance was found to be the motive."

That is perfectly true, but again, with respect, the hon. Gentleman is falling into the mistake of taking one sentence out of a very carefully balanced survey of the situation at present. There is a grave situation in regard to law and order in Kenya. I have never under-estimated and I will never under-estimate it, but it is not confined to a particular type of attack.

Will my right hon. Friend agree that, in the statement which the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) quoted, the Minister of Defence referred to the distressing number of oath-taking ceremonies? Many of these ceremonies involve a murder oath. I had a reply from the Under-Secretary of State only on 20th April saying that there had been no prosecution in respect of any illegal society's activities this year. Since then there has been a number of murders. Is it not his duty to suppress the illegal societies which are, in fact, a revival of Mau Mau?

My right hon. Friend has quoted an immensely important passage from the Minister's statement which, again, with respect to both sides of the House, one must read as a whole and not take individual parts from it. Of course, it is true—there must be no question about this—that the Government in Kenya, fully supported by the Government in this country, are determined in the name of law and order to act against any form of illegality, whether it takes the form of oathing, crime, illegal society or otherwise. The Kenya Government will have the fullest support of Her Majesty's Government in this.

Detainees

18.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many persons still remain detained under the former Emergency Regulations in Kenya; how many of these were detained without a trial; and what is the longest period of time any of the latter have been detained, at the latest convenient date.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this information will be warmly welcomed, because, when this Question was asked before, there was a very large number of people detained. The very least that I can say is that the Question has served a useful purpose.

Aden Protectorate

Irrigation

6.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will state approximately the number of persons in the Aden Protectorates who have benefited directly from the Abiyan and other irrigation schemes; whether the Protectorate Federal Government has considered the further expansion of irrigation; and to what extent the growing of cotton and food crops has resulted in increased production owing to improved irrigation.

Some 40,000 people benefit in the two major irrigation areas of Abyan and Lahej. Plans are in train to expand the Abyan scheme. The Lahej area has been surveyed with a view to increasing the area under flood irrigation. Under these schemes cotton has increased by some 35,000 acres and other crops by some 8,000 acres. Some 120 market gardens around Aden have been developed by pumped irrigation during the last six years. Further development is planned.

May I ask the Minister whether the Federal Government initiated these schemes or whether they have done anything to expand them? Does he not agree that one of the chief hopes of increasing the per capita production in the Protectorate areas is by still further extending irrigation?

Yes, I agree. Both the local Government and Her Majesty's Government, through C.D. and W., have had a share in this. In such a barren area as this, one of the main essentials which we are trying to carry out is aerial mapping and survey in order that, as far as possible, we can see which are the resources which can be used.

Slavery

7.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies approximately how many persons in the Aden Protectorate are under some form of slavery; in which States this now exists; whether these persons are aware of the opportunity to secure manumission; and why few persons during the last fifteen years have sought and secured manumission.

Slavery has almost ceased to exist in the Aden Protectorate. This explains the few recent instances of manumission, the facilities for which are well known.

Arising out of that reply, does not the fact that manumission has been granted imply that slavery exists? Should there not be some further inquiry to see to what extent slavery remains and in which form? What approaches have been made to the various States and their rulers to get this institution entirely abolished, especially in view of the splendid work initiated by Mr. Ingrams some years ago?

Manumission is a certificate given on request to a person certifying that he is no longer a slave but a free man. It is given by members of the British Advisory Service in the Protectorates. I do not think that such an inquiry would be of any help. No certificates were given last year. The only reason I cannot say that slavery does not exist at all is that there may well be one or two people of slave origin who are still with families in the Protectorates. I do not think that we should track that down profitably by an inquiry.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that from 1948 I served for five years in the Aden Government? There is no question of any slavery at all in the Protectorate or the Colony. The hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen) is probably thinking of the odd case over the Saudi Arabian border.

There were no certificates last year and in 1959 there were only five. I cannot say absolutely that slavery does not exist, but I cannot think that an inquiry would enable us to be any better informed about the extent to which it exists.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that although the incidence may be diminishing, it is obvious from the statement which he has made that it exists, in spite of what was said by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Clark Hutchison)? In those circumstances, could not some special representation be made to the various rulers in order to remove the last remnants of this hideous practice?

I shall be glad to consult those responsible in the two Protectorates. Perhaps hon. Members would like to look at the figures for the last year or two. There was none last year; there were five in 1959; the 1958 figure is a corrupt group in my telegram and I cannot read it; there were three in 1957; there was none in 1956; and there was one in 1955. It can hardly be said to be significant.

Are not they the numbers of those who have applied to secure manumission? Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that, in his original reply, he used the expression, presumably on advice, that slavery had virtually ceased to exist? Is not this an admission by the Government that there is still some slavery there, and is it not complacency to allow slavery to go on in any circumstances in any Protectorate for which Her Majesty's Government are responsible? Will he investigate the matter?

I should be glad to investigate it if I honestly thought that the slightest fruit would come from it.

Without question, not only in this country but in the Aden Protectorate the whole of public opinion is entirely opposed to slavery. All I am saying is that there may well be here and there one or two people of slave origin remaining with families. They know perfectly well that they can tomorrow, if they wish, have a certificate that they are free men. In view of what has been said in the House, I will take up the points which have been made, but I frankly say that I do not think that it will be a very fruitful investigation.

Malta

Dockyard (Development Plan)

17.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his discussions concerning the development of the Malta dockyard are complete; and if he will now make a statement.

Agreement has now been reached between Her Majesty's Government and Bailey (Malta) Limited on the financing of the first and main phase of a revised and enlarged Development Plan for Malta dockyard.

The first phase of the plan, which the company hopes to complete during 1963, includes provision for a dock which will take tankers up to 85,000 tons deadweight, and include all the major works of conversion except the enlargement of No. 2 dock.

The preparatory clearing and diversion of services for the main dock alterations have been nearly completed and all the contract documents and plans for these main works are now finished, so that the company can now go to tender for the conversion of Nos. 4 and 5 docks, extension of Boiler Wharf and a tank cleaning farm and jetty. Towards the scheme for the first phase of this overall revised plan, which the company estimates will cost £8,060,000, Her Majesty's Government will contribute by way of loans £7¼ million. Her Majesty's Government have been able to make this offer because of the receipt of a satisfactory assurance from the company regarding the use of its own resources to meet the balance of the cost of phase I of the plan.

I warmly thank my right hon. Friend for that reply which, I assure him, will be very welcome in Malta, particularly to the many thousands of people who work in the dockyard. In view of the considerable amount of capital to be invested by Her Majesty's Government in this dockyard, and in view of the even larger sums of Maltese capital invested outside Malta, which I understand are something in excess of £40 million, will he give me an assurance that he will, in conjunction with Messrs. Bailey (Malta) Limited, devise some plan to encourage Maltese capital to be invested in the dockyard?

Secondly, in view of the fact that two docks will be out of action for most of the time this work is in progress, will he ensure that a large proportion of the direct labour force of the company is used on this work?

I should like to look at the specific points which my hon. Friend has made. The main point is that we have at last—I know that it has taken a long time—reached agreement on the financing of the main phase of the conversion of the Malta Dockyard, which is of enormous importance to the economy of Malta.

Rhodesia And Nyasaland

Education (African Children)

20.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what plans he has for the compulsory education of African children in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

The first task is to provide primary education for all the children who want it. Compulsory attendance will no doubt be considered by the Governments as progress is made towards that aim. It is already in force in certain areas of Northern Rhodesia, and there are plans to extend it.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider expediting the programme, because one of the most effective methods of eliminating the engagement of child labour in these territories is to ensure that children are adequately schooled? Will he assure the House that he will, to the best of his ability, expedite the fulfilment of the programme?

I do not think that it is for me to expedite the programme. I try to give what help I can. It is then for the Northern Rhodesian Government, which will, I am sure, bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman said, to allocate their priorities within the programme.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Forestry

23.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps are being taken by the Forestry Commission to acquire more land suitable for planting and so reduce the shortfall in its planned reserve of land.

The Forestry Commission is always looking for suitable land at a fair price for forestry. But with all the competing demands for land in this country, there is no easy solution for this problem.

May we take it that it will continue to acquire land when it becomes available in view of the disadvantages of having an inadequate reserve for the whole of the programme?

Yes, Sir. The disadvantages of having inadequate reserves are considerable. The Commission is about 60,000 acres down. It would like to have a reserve of about 390,000 acres. It is pressing on to get all the land it can to make good the deficiency. It is very important to the Commission.

Milk

24.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the negotiations between the Milk Marketing Board, the National Farmers' Union and his Department on the possible restriction of milk output.

Possible alternative price systems for milk are now being considered by a technical study group on which the farmers' unions, the five milk marketing boards and the three agricultural departments are represented. This group's report will be submitted to the Joint Committee set up by the unions and the boards, and, when they have considered it. I will be able to make a statement.

Will the right hon. Gentleman also undertake, at the same time as he is making these inquiries from the farmers' unions, to consider the possibility of greatly increasing the supply of dried milk from this country to under-developed countries on the same lines as is done by the United States and Canada?

European Economic Community

25.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what negotiations on agriculture he has held with the European Economic Community.

In view of the anxiety which is felt about our future relations with the Common Market or the European Community, will my right hon. Friend consider publishing a statement on the views, of the Ministry of Agriculture concerning the possibilities of our associating with the European Community?

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said, what is happening in this field, as in other fields, is a general study to see whether there is a basis on which we would be able to negotiate with the Common Market countries and, at the same time, preserve the vital interests of agriculture and, of course, the many interests of the Commonwealth and other countries which are interested in our food market.

In view of the many contradictory statements which have been made about this subject by Ministers, will the Minister of Agriculture undertake that, soon after we return after the Recess, he will make a full statement of the implications, not only to the agricultural community but to consumers, of our entering the Common Market?

I understand that it has been contemplated through the usual channels that there might be a debate in the House on agriculture soon after we return after the Whitsun Recess. That would seem to be an appropriate time.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that one is most disturbed that any abandonment of the 1947 or 1957 Acts might not only hurt the farmer and increase the price of food in this country, but also increase our competitive costs with the rest of the world?

Yes, Sir. Of course, integration with the Six in any form would involve quite considerable changes in the methods that we use for supporting the farmer and also in the cost of food in this country. But, of course, the pledges which the Government have given in this regard at the last election stand inviolate.

In view of the general interest in this matter, will the Minister consider circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a full account of his rowdy meeting with Conservative back benchers a night or two ago?

I read a report of that in one daily edition and it was one with which I did not agree.

Agriculture (Improvement Of Roads) Act, 1955

26.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many grants have been made under the Agriculture (Improvement of Roads) Act, 1955; what was the amount of grant paid up to the end of 1960 in Devon; and how many applications for grant aid have been turned down during the same period.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
(Mr. W. M. F. Vane)

Up to 31st March, 1961, grants have been paid towards the cost of 692 schemes in England and Wales. The grant paid in Devon up to the end of 1960 was £95,844. Sixty-eight applications for grant-aid had been turned down in England and Wales up to the end of 1960, one of which was in Devon.

Farmland, Somerset (Flooding)

29.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to relieve the farming land in the Long Sutton Machelney area from chronic flooding.

The Somerset River Board is the responsible authority, and is carrying out drainage improvement works in this area with grant-aid from the Department.

While I am grateful for that information, which I have known for a long time, may I ask whether my hon. Friend is aware that this problem, which has existed for the last eight or ten years and is getting worse, is beyond the resources of the river board, which has a great many other problems to deal with anyhow? In this case, a number of farmers are being deprived of their land year after year. The land is being ruined and it is not good enough to go on like this. Will my hon. Friend have a good look at the matter and accept that it is quite intolerable that people should have their land used as a receptacle for other people's drainage?

While I do not accept all that my hon. Friend says, we have done a good deal more than simply look at the matter. We are offering the board 80 per cent. grant for substantial work, which it is now undertaking, to help conditions in the area, and the board hopes to have one important work, a new pumping drain, in operation before the end of the summer. This will give a measure of immediate relief and it is the forerunner of other work to follow.

Will the hon. Gentleman look again at the Motion on the Order Paper signed by approximately a hundred hon. Members on the question of water conservation and flooding, and see whether he cannot produce a much more comprehensive plan to solve not only this Problem but others like it?

Trade And Commerce

Factory Sites, Bishop Auckland

30 and 31.

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) how many factory sites are known to him in, or within two miles of the villages of Cockfield, Woodlands, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Eggleston, Staindrop, Copley, and Butterknowle in the Bishop Auckland constituency;

(2) how many industrialists seeking factory sites have been shown sites in the villages of Cockfield, Woodlands, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Eggleston, Stain-drop, Copley, or Butterknowle since the passing of the Local Employment Act.

The Department is aware of one industrial site within the area specified, but has not shown it to any industrialist since 1st April, 1960.

Is not the Parliamentary Secretary aware that unemployment in the area of the Bishop Auckland exchange is two and half times the national average and that a far higher percentage of unemployment will be found in some of these villages? Cannot he take special steps both to survey the factory sites that are available and then to publicise them to industrialists? His attitude is far too complacent.

We will consider that. The hon. Member has, however, picked out merely a few villages in the area. There are three main industrial sites nearer to Bishop Auckland and they are shown to industrialists first, as they are more likely to be attracted by them.

These are the very areas where the people are out of work, and the transport facilities to get to other areas are not all that good. Will the hon. Gentleman seriously consider the problem of these people and do something about it?

We do take them into consideration and we shall also take into consideration what the hon. Member has said.

United Arab Republic

32 and 33.

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) in view of the competition from the European Common Market countries, what proposals he has received on trade to the United Arab Republic Government to hold or increase the traditional British export trade with Egypt and Syria; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what steps he has taken to arrange a trade and payments agreement with the United Arab Republic.

I have heard of various proposals for increasing our trade with the United Arab Republic. This is at present governed by the Financial and Commercial Agreement of 1959. Within its framework, the annual value of our total trade with the United Arab Republic has increased by 32 per cent. in 1960 and by a further 5 per cent. in the first three months of this year compared with the same period a year earlier.

Is it not time that we brought our payments negotiations up to date? If a small country like Austria can make a payment under treaty arrangements, why cannot we? How are British industrialists like the Rootes Group to establish factories in the United Arab Republic unless more attention is paid to helping them?

We pay a great deal of attention to increasing our trade with the United Arab Republic, and the Advisory Council for Middle East Trade helps me to study the problems. I think that when the hon. Member looks at the financial and commercial agreement, he will see that the arrangements we then made are very satisfactory.

Resale Price Maintenance

34.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will introduce legislation to repeal Section 25 of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1956.

My right hon. Friend will consider this point in the light of his inquiries into resale price maintenance generally.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of a case a few weeks ago in the High Court when the Addis Brush Company, of Hertford, obtained an injunction against a retailer for selling its brushes below the fixed retail price and that the defence of the retailer was that had he not done so, it would have shown him a profit of 87 per cent.? Is that the intention that the Government had in mind when they brought in Section 25, and what do they propose to do about it?

This is one of the aspects which my right hon. Friend will be considering together with all other considerations arising from his inquiries.

Non-Ferrous Metals (Export To Russia)

35.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will explain the reason for the fall in the export of non-ferrous metals to Russia in 1960 as compared with 1957, 1958 and 1959.

Soviet imports of non-ferrous metals are mainly copper. I understand that the Soviet Union is now importing this from other producing countries, including Rhodesia, rather than through the United Kingdom.

The right hon. Gentleman has not given the reason why that is being done. Is it not in the long run due to the fact that we are refusing to admit into this country any quantities of a certain number of Russian exports and that this process which has taken place in copper will continue to be repeated unless we reverse that policy? Is there any reason why we should not give Russia most-favoured-nation treatment, as Canada does, which is a method that works successfully?

I can only surmise at the reason of the Soviet authorities for not buying their copper from us. I think, however, that the reason is that the strategic control on copper has been removed and the Russians are now free to buy from whatever source they wish, whereas formerly they bought from us a large quantity of copper wire. The other points in the hon. Member's supplementary question do not have a bearing on the matter of copper. As regards most-favoured-nation treatment, we accord that to Russia in certain respects, and this will be one of the subjects discussed by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade during his visit to Moscow.

Polish Eggs

36.

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he received a communication from the National Farmers' Union asking him to ascertain the internal price of eggs in Poland; and what period elapsed between the receipt of this communication and his acceptance of the formal application for anti-dumping measures to be applied to the import of Polish eggs.

The Board of Trade was asked on 30th March to ascertain the internal price of eggs in Poland. The application for anti-dumping measures to be applied to the import of Polish and Roumanian eggs was received on 19th April and accepted for full investigation on the following day. Before a full investigation can be made, there must be some evidence not only of dumping but also of material injury to the affected industry.

Could my right hon. Friend give some idea of what went on between 30th March and 19th April? Is he aware that his reply indicates that it took twenty-seven days to come to a decision on the matter, by which time tens of thousands of Polish eggs had been dumped in this country?

I think that my hon. Friend ought to ask the National Farmers' Union what it was doing in that period, because that was the time between its request to us to ascertain the price and the date of the application. It would not be appropriate for him to add those days to the short period of nine days which we required for our investigation and decision.

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that there is nevertheless something very unsatisfactory about the anti-dumping procedure in connection with trade with Iron Curtain countries? Would not he admit that it is very difficult for producers to establish whether dumping is taking place or not in view of State trading and other conditions that exist in these countries? Will my right hon. Friend have an inquiry made into the whole anti-dumping system?

It is, of course, difficult for private individuals and organisations to establish these prices and that is why we give all the help we can. That is why the National Farmers' Union approached us on 31st March, to find out the internal price. As for anti-dumping legislation in general, I ask my hon. Friend to remember that we operate in accordance with a Statute passed by this House. While that may have certain defects in my hon. Friend's eyes, in our view it represents a reasonable compromise between conflicting interests.

Is it not remarkable that hon. Members opposite get hot under the collar about the importation of Polish eggs but not a word issues from their lips about the importation of American coal?

I think that my hon. Friends are perfectly right to make known the views of their constituents on an important matter in this House just as hon. Members opposite make known the views of their own constituents.

Industrial Building

37.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will state the rate of new industrial building for the years 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, and to the latest available date in 1961, in the northern, midland, and southern regions of England, giving each region separately.

As the Answer involves a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate them in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that the figures reveal that the rate of new industrial building has declined in the northern region over past years, and particularly in northeast England, whereas in other regions it has increased rapidly? Can he tell us what the Government intend to do or what policy they intend to pursue to bring about a more equal distribution of industry in the country?

No, Sir. The year 1957 was a period of high construction after which there was a dip in 1958. Since then there has been an increase in all three regions.

Following is the information:

The areas, in millions of square feet, covered by Industrial Development Certificates issued in the three standard regions were:

Standard Region19571958195919601961 Jan.-March
Northern7·32·31·54·21·0
Midland10·46·17·510·91·3
Southern3·82·94·26·61·2

European Common Market (Common Tariff Rates)

39.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in the course of his negotiations with representatives of the European Common Market, he has obtained information about the rates of import duty which those countries intend to impose as part of their common external tariff, on the principal foods and raw materials; and what these rates of duty are on beef, mutton, lamb, wheat, bacon, butter, cheese and tea, respectively.

All common tariff rates of import duty except for some tobacco and petroleum headings have now been published by the European Economic Community. I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the details for the eight foodstuffs in question.

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that the duties on the foodstuffs mentioned range from about 18 per cent. to 25 per cent. or 30 per cent., and that it would be impossible to impose these high food taxes on present tariff-free food imports into the United Kingdom without a serious effect on our cost of living, our standard of living and our industrial costs?

The rates actually vary from 12 per cent. to 25 per cent., but of course we recognise the importance of the effect that these duties would have, and this is one of the matters that we take fully into account in our consideration of the whole complex problem.

Would the right hon. Gentleman make it clear now that the Government would not in any circumstances impose these high rates of food taxes on imports?

I should not like to say anything now while there is going on in the House an important debate which deals largely with these problems.

Following is the information:

The common tariff rates asked for are as follows:

Per Cent.

beef; fresh, chilled or frozen (meat and offal)20
beef; sailed, in brine, dried or smoked (meat and offal)24
mutton and lamb; fresh, chilled or frozen:
(meat)20
(offal)12
mutton and lamb; salted, in brine, dried or smoked (meat and offal)24
wheat20
bacon; salted, in brine, dried or smoked25
otherwise20
butter24
cheese23
tea; in immediate containers of a net capacity of 3 kg. or less23
otherwise18

New Factories

38.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what percentage, measured by square feet, the total of new factory approvals of over 5,000 square feet in the London and South Eastern Region represented of total approvals in Great Britain in 1958, 1959, and 1960, respectively; and whether he will give similar figures for areas now classed as development districts under the Local Employment Act.

These percentages in respect of schemes mainly of over 5,000 square feet for 1958, 1959 and 1960 respectively for the London and South Eastern Region were 21, 18 and 12, and for the areas now classed as development districts 10, 15 and 20.

Although this shows some welcome decrease in factory development in London and the South Eastern Region, may I ask what the figures would look like if office developments were included?

That is an entirely different question. I am afraid that I could not answer it without notice.

Holidays

40.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will instruct the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the President of the Board of Trade to speed up their examination of the problems of spreading Bank Holidays and annual holidays more evenly throughout the year; and whether he will make a statement.

I have been asked to reply.

This is a very complicated problem in which many outside bodies are closely concerned. It would not be right to obtain a quick solution by disregarding the interests of these bodies.

But is the Home Secretary aware that in the East Midlands, particularly, and also in a great part of the North, quite unnecessary frustration is caused by the concentration of annual holidays round August Bank Holiday? Since I have raised this matter Session after Session by Question and on the Adjournment debate, is it not possible for the Government to give some indication of what the problems are that prevent any such solution?

The matter was dealt with in some detail by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State in answer to a debate on the Adjournment on 30th March in which he gave figures of the millions of employees involved and details of their terms of employment. This is a very complicated problem which will take time to solve.

But will the right hon. Gentleman also bear in mind that this problem is linked most intimately with the question of school holidays? While we are urging industrialists to show a greater flexibility of mind, would he not agree that we might apply similar tests to education authorities which tend to have all children away from school about the same time?

I beg to give notice that once again I shall attempt to raise this matter on the Adjournment.

Atomic Energy Project (History)

41.

asked the Prime Minister if he will now carry out the undertaking given by Her Majesty's Government to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, some years ago that an official British record should be published of nuclear research; if he will include in such a record a description of the contributions made by Professors Rutherford, Cockcroft, Hill, Fowler, Robert Watson-Watt, of the part played by Tube Alloys, Metropolitan Vickers at Manchester and Rhydymwyn-Mold, Imperial Chemical Industries, Sir Henry Tizard's Mission and of the importance of the black box; and if he will publish the minutes of the Maud Committee and papers containing the United States request to co-operate with the British.

I have been asked to reply.

The Atomic Energy Authority recently appointed an archivist and historian, one of whose main tasks will be to prepare a history of the United Kingdom atomic energy project. It is the Authority's desire and intention, subject to the public interest, that the history should be published, and the matters referred to by the hon. Member will no doubt be given due weight.

In relation to the minutes of the Maud Committee, I see no reason for varying the normal rule that public records are not made available until fifty years after they were originated.

Will the Home Secretary, first, convey to the Prime Minister my appreciation of the courteous letter he sent to me about his inability to be present? Will the right hon. Gentleman ask the responsible authority which is to compile this official report to see that credit is also given to the ordinary working men who played such a great part in difficult circumstances during the war and also to the gentleman who is now sitting in the Peers Gallery for the part which he played when France collapsed?

I will certainly convey to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister the hon. Member's appreciation of his letter, in relation to the preoccupations of an international character which are occupying the Prime Minister this afternoon. As to the rest of the hon. Member's supplementary question, I think that some of it would be out of order in taking cognisance of somebody who is not in our presence, but I am obliged to the hon. Member for those observations.

Commonwealth Trade

42.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement regarding his proposals for an Atlantic Free Trade Area, and for a quickened economic development within the Commonwealth; and what action is to be taken by Her Majesty's Government to assist an increase in Commonwealth trade which would contribute towards an accelerated increase in world trade.

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made no proposals for an Atlantic Free Trade Area but, as he has said before, we need to work for the largest area of free trade that we can create. As regards the Commonwealth, the best contribution that we can make towards stimulating trade and economic development is to maintain a high level of activity at home and to continue to work towards a multilateral trade and payments system over the widest possible area, as agreed by Commonwealth Governments at the Montreal Trade and Economic Conference in 1958.

While not trying to get the Home Secretary involved in this, because he must have his hands full with his own work, may I ask whether he will ask the Prime Minister to consider recent developments in relation to the Commonwealth and the unfortunate growing support for subordinating the future of our trade to the object of setting up a European Community? Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that some of us who are loyal to the Commonwealth, because many of our relatives were driven to Australia and Canada during the industrial depression, greatly deprecate recent developments? Will he ask the Prime Minister to give an undertaking that the Government will now use their influence with the whole of the Commonwealth to reverse the trends of economic development?

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in answer to a Question on 16th May, gave the conditions preliminary to the possibility of our entering into an arrangement with Europe. We are in touch with the Commonwealth on these vital matters, and I will certainly convey to my right hon. Friend the observations made by the hon. Gentleman.

House Of Commons Library (Estimates Committee's Report)

The hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) wishes to raise a matter with me.

I want to ask you, Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, whether you are aware——

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am not sure whether I can raise a point of order with you now about a Question which stands on the Order Paper, or whether I should wait until later.

I had better hear the hon. Member for Leeds, West first, without prejudice to the rights of the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton)—whatever they may be.

I wish to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether you are aware of the second Report of the Select Committee on Estimates, which is on the House of Commons Library? I ask whether you will bear in mind that this is a Department for which you are responsible and for which no Minister is responsible, whether that does not raise certain problems, and whether you are aware that there is a great deal of dissent in the House from that Report? I ask whether we can have an assurance that, before anything is done about that Report, the House will have a chance to discuss it.

Further, I ask whether, in your own good time, you will consider the question of propriety—as to whether the Estimates Committee should look at a Department of the Legislature which is responsible to you, bearing in mind that in the past you have always appointed specific Committees for this task, although it is true that the Library Estimates appear on the Civil Vote. Are you aware that some of us dislike the idea that the Estimates Committee should be directed to a Department for which you are responsible, and for which hon. Members have a great deal of concern? My specific point is that some of us feel that nothing should be done on this Report until the House can discuss it.

I am obliged to the hon. Member. I do not think that there is any impropriety about the Estimates Committee looking at what it chooses to look at. The material constitutional factor is that the appointments and salaries in relation to the salaried staff are a matter, not for the Speaker, but for the Commissioners for regulating the Offices of the House, a body of which the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day is a member. That clears the matter of any impropriety in this context.

With regard to implementation of the recommendations of the Report before the House has considered the matter, I do not think that that is possible in any way, because the first recommendation is that the House should consider the matter. It is very difficult to get beyond that point. I have the immediate matters of the Library under my personal consideration at the moment, and I do not wish to make any pronouncement now. One of the matters I shall have to take into account—I have not had the time to do it, as I have a lot in hand—is when and how the House will have an opportunity to consider that matter.

If I understand correctly, Sir, it is true that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is one of the Commissioners for regulating the Offices of the House, but I always understood that you, Mr. Speaker, presided over the Commission. It is a Commission over which the Treasury has no control at all, and that is why the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a member. I still return to the point that I think that matters of the Legislature, as against the Executive, are matters for the Legislature and are not for ad hoc Committees just to take up at whim or random. In matters like this, the House has always appointed Select Committees specifically to examine these things, and that is a practice which should be followed.

The hon. Gentleman is, perhaps, going a little beyond the range of a point of order. This is a matter which has appeared on the Votes, as he knows. I would not, prima facie, say that one was in a position to condemn the Estimates Committee because it chose to look at the way in which we spend our own money in one instance. I take note of the hon. Member's dislike of the practice.

May I have your guidance, Mr. Speaker, because the Estimates Committee wants to work as the House wishes it to work? We are a Standing Committee, not an ad hoc Committee, and we are ordered to examine such of the Estimates presented as we think right. In this case, the Library Estimates have gone up by nine times in amount in fifteen years, and we felt that it was in the interests of the House itself that such a very large increase in public expenditure should be examined. If we are not to do so, I would, naturally, like the House to let us know what Estimates it would rather we did not look into.

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. I do not think that we can discuss these interesting matters now. I have tried to indicate that, in my belief, in so far as this is a matter of order at all, there is no impropriety in what was done. Further than that, I do not wish to embroil the House at the moment.

This is a service which enables us to do better at our jobs, Mr. Speaker. The cost may have gone up nine times, but according to my memory of the service which we have had from the Library the quality of the service has improved far more in that time. Unless hon. Members get this service we cannot do our job. We do not use this procedure for the Kitchen Committee.

I want to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether it is a good thing, in your view, that this service should be looked at in this way by the Estimates Committee, when the other Departments that service the House are not looked at like this? This has caused an enormous ferment amongst the staff of the Library, leading to a number of useful people getting worried and saying that they want to give up the job. It does not seem to me that the services for this House can be treated as the public services are treated in respect of inquiries by the taxpayers' committees.

There are now two points here. One is that I do not think that it would be right for me to express any view save within the limit of what is required to rule upon order. Secondly, I do not think that we can discuss the merits or demerits of this matter now.

I am acutely conscious of the ferment, because the ferment involves heat and friction and difficulty, and I am put in the middle of it. There is not the slightest risk of my disregarding it. I propose to consider this matter, and I suggest that it would be a great mistake, if a particular Committee was performing a duty from the very highest motives, for people to feel aggrieved about it. We have to get the right answer in the interest of the House.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. What worries me is the effect of the Report on members of the staff. They do not know where they are. They are thoroughly upset and, unless some assurance is given, in a very short time we shall lose half-a-dozen of our best people.

Everybody so greatly appreciates the aid which the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Sir G. Benson) gives to me and has given to my predecessors that every word he utters in this context is of the greatest importance, but I do not think that we can discuss the matter now.

Questions To Ministers

I wish to raise a point of order relating to Question No. 46, Mr. Speaker.

Perhaps I can give the background to this matter briefly. Last week, I put a Question to the Board of Trade asking what help was to be given to a firm in Glenrothes, and the Under-Secretary replied that he had no powers to give help as that was not in a development district. That was completely untrue, as the official document issued by the Board of Trade indicates that Glenrothes is specifically named. However, as a result, a firm will probably have gone bankrupt in Glenrothes, because it was in urgent need of that help to which it was entitled under the terms of the Local Employment Act.

In the circumstances, I wonder whether you would be good enough, Mr. Speaker, to allow the Under-Secretary to answer the Question, because there is another firm, an American firm——

Order. It is necessary, to preserve our discipline about Questions, that such things should be allowed only when I have had a request from the Minister to answer the Question. That I have not had.

Business Of The House

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I will make a short business statement.

I am now able to let the House know that the subject for debate on Wednesday, 31st May, that is, the 15th allotted Supply day, is to be Apprenticeship and Training for Industry.

Business Of The House (Supply)

Ordered,

That this day Business other than the Business of Supply may be taken before Ten o'clock.—[Mr. R. A. Butler.]

Orders Of The Day

Supply

[14TH ALLOTTED DAY]

Considered in Committee.

[SIR GORDON TOUCHE in the Chair]

Civil Estimates, 1961–62

Class Ii

Vote 1 Foreign Service

Motion made, and Question proposed,

That a sum, not exceeding £10,624,800, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1962, for the salaries and expenses of the Department of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, including Her Majesty's Missions and Consulates abroad, and the salary of a Minister of State. [£8,250,000 has been voted on account.]

Whereupon Motion made, and Question, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again—[ Mr. Redmayne.]— put and agreed to.

Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.

Foreign Affairs

Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [ 17th May]

That this House supports the efforts of Her Majesty's Government to strengthen the unity of the free world and thus to create, in cooperation with the Commonwealth and with their allies, greater opportunities for the improvement of relations between East and West and for the promotion of conditions of peace and order throughout the world in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.—[Mr. Heath.]

Which Amendment was, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:

"in view of the dangers to world peace which have recently arisen in areas of political instability, particularly Cuba, Laos, the Congo and Angola, regrets the failure of Her Majesty's Government to cancel the visit of H.M.S. Leopard to Angola, and calls upon all Governments to base their foreign policies on the Charter of the United Nations, to seek the peaceful settlement of international disputes, and to promote positive co-operation between the Communist and Western Powers as the only means of ending the cold war and halting the arms race".—[Mr. Healey.]

Question again proposed, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.

3.43 p.m.

I start by emphasising some of the things which my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) said in his admirable speech yesterday afternoon. By chance, I heard the Prime Minister's speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to which a number of hon. Members have referred. Like others in his audience then, I had not the slightest inkling, when he had finished, of what the Government's policy might be.

This debate has by no means cleared it up, and it is essential that the House should have another discussion, in the early future, on the problems of Europe, E.F.T.A. and the Common Market. I hope that the Government will take up my hon. Friend's suggestion and will send a message of good wishes from the House to the negotiators at Evian who are now trying to settle the long and terrible Algerian war.

I hope that the Government will listen to my hon. Friend's appeal for a larger contribution from our country to the Indian Five-Year Plan. India still needs £80 million. If the Indian experiment in democracy should fail, it would be a disaster to us all. If it failed by our refusal to give the help for which she asks, it would be a mockery of the Commonwealth partnership of which we boast.

Angola. Africa today is seething with new passions, new hopes, new ambition and, alas, with hatreds which are very old. There may be dark and very bloody chapters in its history close ahead. The only chance that they might be averted lies in the policy of racial partnership for which our nation stands. In many places in Africa today that policy hangs in the balance. What white men do in one place may disastrously affect what black men do in others.

That is why we deplore the sending of a warship to Luanda and the projected visit of the Foreign Secretary to Dr. Salazar to celebrate his assumption of dictatorial power. We think that black men may all too easily conclude that that is a gesture of approval for what Dr. Salazar is doing in Angola, and if they do, we, like Africa, may pay a heavy price.

I want to add a little to what my hon. Friend and other hon. Members said about Cuba. I was in Washington when Cuba was invaded by anti-Castro refugees. The main facts as I learned there are not disputed. The enterprise was organised and planned and executed under the aegis of the C.I.A. who trained the refugees. The C.I.A. gave Batista men positions of command and arranged the take-off places in Guatemala and elsewhere and helped to find the ships and arms. It told the President, against all the evidence, that the people of Cuba would rise in welcome and would sweep Castro from power.

The truth was and is, as British witnesses have recently attested, that Castro has widespread popular support and that many thousands of Cubans would die in his support. I think that American opinion has now begun to understand that that is true. I think that Mr. Walter Lippmann and other Liberals have made it plain that the invasion and its preparation by the C.I.A. on American soil was a violation of United States domestic legislation, of a treaty between the United States and Cuba, of an inter-American convention of 1928, of Article 15 of the Charter of the Organisation of American States, the O.A.S., signed in 1948, of Article 1 of the N.A.T.O. Pact, and Article 2, Sections (3) and (4), of the Charter of the United Nations. That is a veritable holocaust of American national law and international obligations.

When Britain and France struck at Nasser over Suez, in 1926—[HON. MEMBERS: "1956."]—1956—President Eisenhower used the words for which his name will live in history:
"We cannot and we will not condone aggression, no matter who the attacker, no matter who the victim."
It is essential in the interests of Anglo-American good understanding that the true friends of the United States should repeat those words today.

There are other things which should be said. First, the Monroe Doctrine does not justify the unilateral use of force. It is subordinate to the Inter-American Convention, which I have mentioned, against the preparation of sponsored civil war, and by Article 103 it is subordinate to the overriding obligations of the Charter of the United Nations.

Secondly, no dispute between American States can be transferred from the U.N. to the O.A.S., unless all the parties so agree. The Lord Privy Seal confirmed the other day that that is true. I was in the U.N. Assembly for the last debates on Cuba. I regret that the British delegation made such efforts to canvass votes for a reference of the matter to the O.A.S. I think that it should have learned the lesson of Guatemala, in 1954. It was that event which made the Latin American people spit at Vice-President Nixon on his ill-fated good will tour. Much worse, it was this precedent which made the C.I.A. believe that it could carry through a similar conspiracy in 1961.

Thirdly, we must keep in true perspective the Russian threat in Cuba. True, the Russians have bought Cuban sugar. They have given Castro loans and arms; they have done precisely what we have done in Yugoslavia since Tito quarrelled with the Kremlin in 1947.

True, Cuba is only 90 miles from the territory of the United States. But consider what the United States has done in Turkey. It has provided 3,000 million dollars, very much of it in military aid, since 1948. Turkey has a lengthy common frontier with the Soviet Union. It is full of American bomber and missile bases. They are close to the Caucasian oilfields, the Black Sea ports, and other vital points. Turkey has a dictatorial military régime.

I believe that Cuba can never be a real military danger to the United States, but perhaps its fears may bring home to the American people what the Russians feel about the N.A.T.O. bases by which they are surrounded on every hand.

Fourthly, the Cuban venture was urged on President Kennedy by the C.I.A., with the powerful support of the United States Chiefs of Staff. The fact that in a great military country they could mount an illegal conspiracy of that kind and could secure permission to carry it out surely shows the dangers of the present struggle in the world for military power. How can we uphold the Charter, and strive faithfully for the rule of law, if legal obligations are thrust aside like this? Like my hon. Friend, I wish that the British delegation had said these things in the Assembly a month ago, as Mr. Dulles and President Eisenhower said them in 1956. Perhaps it will serve a useful purpose if those who opposed the Suez venture say them now.

What is the main lesson of this Cuban story? Surely that there might never have been a crisis but for the fears and tensions which the arms race has produced. I believe that the same is true of Laos and the Congo. The arms race is not the only cause of tension, of course it is not. But would any of the current crises have happened if the arms race had not been going on? I will spare the House a lengthy argument on that point.

I believe that in Cuba, Laos and the Congo the difficulties have arisen very largely, if not entirely, because of fears that these territories might be used as centres for military power and infiltration. The same anxiety now besets us, as my hon. Friend said yesterday afternoon, about Persia, South Korea, other Latin American countries, and elsewhere.

I could adduce a lot of evidence to support that view, but I believe that it is shared in the highest quarters. Mr. James Reston, who sometimes knows what Presidents are thinking, tells us that President Kennedy has now come to the conclusion that what he calls
"the great turning point of history today"
is not Cuba, or Laos, but nuclear power.

The Commonwealth Prime Ministers said in March that disarmament was the most important question facing the world today—four of them Conservatives, and six from uncommitted nations. Mr. Khrushchev has been saying for years that disarmament is "the question of questions" on which all else depends. It is this consensus of opinion on the major problem of today which gives such high significance to the declaration of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers on disarmament last month.

The Prime Ministers broke loose from all the talk about "partial" measures, about limiting war, and about arms control with which we have been obsessed in recent years. In the United States it has become a kind of fashionable "don's delight". The Prime Ministers finished off those theories when they wrote these words:
"In view of the slaughter and destruction experienced in so-called 'conventional' wars, and of the difficulty of preventing a conventional war, once started, from developing into a nuclear war, our aim must be nothing less than the complete abolition of the means of waging war of any kind."
In other words, war of any kind is an absurd, a monstrous, anachronism in a world in which the barriers of time and space have been destroyed by scientists. We can afford no more wars, neither limited, nor peripheral, nor percentage, nor wars, so often talked of, fought with our tactical nuclear armoury alone. Not only talked of, but prepared and rehearsed.

Last September, N.A.T.O. had an exercise in Schleswig Holstein, called "Holdfast". Whenever Red or Blue force got into trouble, it made a nuclear strike. More than fifty bombs were used. I wonder what would have remained of that small province if it had been war.

The Commonwealth Prime Ministers have called for the ending of all wars by the abolition of national armaments. They said:
"All national armed forces and armaments must be reduced to the levels agreed to be necessary for internal security."
This is not a policy for a far-off tomorrow. The Prime Ministers declared that a
"favourable opportunity was now at hand for a fresh initiative towards a settlement."
They said that an agreement for general and complete disarmament should be initiated as soon as possible.
"Once started, the process of disarmament should be continued without interruption until it is completed…. Disarmament should be carried out as rapidly as possible in progressive stages, within specified periods of time."
There must be verification, inspection and control at every stage.
"At the appropriate stage, a substantial and adequately armed military force should be established, to prevent aggression and enforce the observance of the disarmament agreement."
This force must be under an international authority
"created in association with the U.N."
This is a revolutionary programme which will completely change the whole basis and conduct of international affairs—a revolutionary programme appropriate to the revolutionary age in which we live. I believe it to be an event of profound importance that the Prime Ministers—the leaders of 650 million people; more than the combined populations of Russia and America—should have declared that nothing less than this can save mankind.

But we must face the question: is it simply a declaration, or is it business? Can we hope that Mr. Khrushchev, when he speaks of peaceful co-existence, really means something that we should recognise as peace? My hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney), in his very able speech yesterday afternoon, answered with a resounding "No". He said that Ernest Bevin shared his view. I worked with Ernest Bevin in the Foreign Office for eighteen months, and I saw him every day for three more years while I was along the passage in the C.R.O. Ernest Bevin said to me a hundred times, "I will never give up. Some day they are bound to change." It is one of the tragic mis-timings of which history is so full that Ernest Bevin died before Joseph Stalin, and did not remain alive to see Mr. Khrushchev come to power.

I ask my hon. Friend whether President Kennedy was wrong to say, in his message on the state of the Union, that we must increase our support of the United Nations as an instrument to end the cold war instead of an arena in which to fight it. I do not dissent from anything that was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East about the Kremlin; it has a long way still to go in understanding what co-existence means. But no one will deny that Mr. Khrushchev has made great changes since the days of Stalin, both inside Russia and in his conduct of international affairs.

I will not deal in detail with his record from the time of the Korean truce until now.

The right hon. Member is putting forward a very interesting proposition which we must take into careful consideration. From his past work with Ernest Bevin, did he ever come to the conclusion that the Soviet Union would accept a supranational authority at any time?

In the days of Stalin we never came to any very useful conclusions. Stalin was intent on carrying out an international cold war. But I submit that Mr. Khrushchev, whatever wrong he may have done, has made great changes, and that perhaps we had better negotiate with him while we have him, lest worse befalls.

I shall not deal with Mr. Khrushchev's record from the Korean truce until now, but I recall that after his visit to Camp David he went straight to Peking and told the Chinese—who did not want to hear it—that the Americans were not imperialists and that President Eisenhower wanted disarmament and peace. I recall that he made a veritable crusade through the territories of China's neighbours, saying the same thing. I recall that the former Foreign Secretary—now the Chancellor of the Exchequer—told us in February of last year that there had been a great relaxation of the cold war and that it was due to the personality of Mr. Khrushchev. The former Foreign Secretary often told us of his conviction that the Russians would keep the treaties which they signed. The U.2 incident and the way it was handled were a smashing blow to Mr. Khrushchev's policy of peace and disarmament, and to his position in the Communist bloc.

The Chinese, who still believe in the inevitability of war, are now certainly exerting very heavy pressure on him. The struggle in the Communist conference in Moscow in November—I was at another conference at the time and I heard the echoes—was very bitter. I believe that that pressure, the U.2 incident, and what happened in the Congo, together with the harsh memories of long ago, all combined to make Mr. Khrushchev put forward his unacceptable proposal about the Secretariat of the United Nations. I want to face the question of his tripartite system, and of what is called his triple veto, and to suggest how the problem may be solved.

I say at once that Mr. Khrushchev's attacks upon the Secretary-General have deeply offended us all. We can never accept his plan for a triumvirate to head the Secretariat; it would destroy the whole conception of the international loyalty of the Secretariat, enshrined in Article 100 of the Charter, on which the whole functioning of the United Nations now depends. Mr. Khrushchev is proposing an amendment of the Charter—an amendment which I am certain he can never carry, and which we cannot accept if we are ever to get the kind of co-existence which he says he wants.

Secondly, we must ask ourselves why he is putting this amendment forward. Not many of us have asked this question. He explained his reasons in some detail in his speech to the Assembly last September, when he said that both East and West had agreed that in a disarmed world there must be an international force. But in the Congo there was already an international force; it had been placed under the command of a single man—the Secretary-General; the Secretary-General had made decisions with which the Communists and many neutrals disagreed; this showed the danger of leaving the control of an international force to any single man. It was a system to which he could never agree.

If we recall the way in which the West treated Soviet Russia between the wars—and I lived through them with Dr. Nansen, of Norway—from our intervention in support of the Czarist generals, in Russia's civil war, right through to the Abyssinian and Spanish crises and up to the time of Munich, it is easy to understand the fears which Mr. Khrushchev feels. Between the wars the capitalist countries all too often showed the deep hostility to the Soviet Union which Karl Marx had taught the Communists that they would.

Let us forget all that. Let us look at Mr. Khrushchev's proposal on its merits. Does any one of us think that it would be a good plan to place an international force, in a disarmed world, under the sole control of an international official, however wise? Certainly, the present Secretary-General would not say that. He has repeatedly complained that the Assembly has failed to set up a committee to assist him in the Congo—to share the vast responsibilities which he bears.

I believe that an international force should be controlled like this: there should be a commander-in-chief, with two deputies, all chosen from middle and smaller Powers. The commander-in-chief should be directly responsible to a very strong standing commission of the Assembly of the United Nations. The commission should give the commander-in-chief all his political directions, and if the commission disagreed on controversial points it should submit them instantly for decision to the full Assembly.

I believe that on those lines, if Mr. Khrushchev gave up his attacks on the Secretary-General, his preoccupation with the international force could be reasonably met. I believe, though I will not recite the details, that an analogous arrangement might be possible for the inspection of a ban on nuclear tests.

I wish to add one other thing about the conference on nuclear tests. We all ardently desire a test ban treaty, but, no doubt, with every month the Chinese pressure on Mr. Khrushchev not to sign a treaty is growing stronger. I believe that if Mr. Kennedy's fourteen points had been put forward a year ago, we might have had a quick success. But in spite of the present situation, I hope that we shall go on making every effort to bring Mr. Khrushchev round. But I hope also that we shall not allow the test negotiations to hold up a start in negotiations on real disarmament.

I found, when I was in the United States, that two very high authorities, that must be nameless, shared my view that the establishment of an inspection system for a test ban, taken by itself, without disarmament, was by far the hardest single part of a disarmament system. They agreed that with general disarmament and general inspection many of the difficulties which now impede a settlement would disappear. They agreed that a test ban inspection system would be costly and would take years, perhaps four years, to bring into operation.

I view with grave alarm four more years of the present arms race. It is a very long and very dangerous period. Herman Kahn, whose work on thermonuclear war is so much discussed, tells us, with the authority of the Rand Corporation behind him, that in the next four years we shall have another total revolution in the weapons system and in the general machinery of war. Will the Government look back to 1955, when there were no inter-continental missiles and no thermo-nuclear warheads, and remember how much easier it would have been to make a treaty then than it is today? Every difficulty about a test ban conference is a reason not for holding back on wider negotiations, but for pressing forward in them with all our power.

Just before he entered on his new office, Dr. Wiesner, M.I.T., President Kennedy's chief science adviser, said that we could not afford to leave disarmament until later. He said that science and technology were moving too fast. He was discussing the problem with fellow scientists engaged in military research. He said:
"Each of us has hundreds of thousands of people working under us on the development of weapons. You cannot control this and bring it into a tractable form by fooling around with minor things."
How can the Government get on with real disarmament? I have said that the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' declaration is an event of the most profound importance, and I believe that to be true. But it is still only words on paper. The bombers are still taking off with their nuclear loads. The missiles are being tested and put into hardened sites. The submarines, so deadly to Britain and Europe, are being multiplied. The Minister of Defence is still planning his weapons for five, seven and ten years ahead. How are we to get some action that will save us from the waste and danger that all this must involve?

The real difficulty of disarmament is not the technical complexity of the treaty clauses. They are relatively simple, as I have so often said. The real difficulty is getting a political decision to disarm. But it is also true, as Mr. Foster Dulles once said in the Assembly, that technical solutions, the drafting of model treaty clauses, a paper showing in detail how the thing could actually be done, may greatly help to get the political decision. It would make it all practical and real. Perhaps this was the Prime Minister's idea when he proposed an international committee of experts to study how inspection of general disarmament would work. On that basis, I am afraid that his proposal is predestined to defeat. The Russians will never accept it if the Government confine it to inspection alone. Let them widen it to include disarmament as well, and let them give the U.N. Committee of Experts a British draft on which to work.

I would guarantee—I speak from long experience going back to the disarmament of Germany by the Treaty of Versailles—that given the right instructions, Whitehall could prepare a scheme, first stage, second stage, third stage, Army, Navy, Air Force, conventional weapon reduction, manpower reduction, abolition of mass destruction weapons, abolition of the means of delivery—all the lot.

Whitehall could prepare a scheme in time for August next. It would be a draft and nothing more. No one would be bound to any detail, not even ourselves. Everyone could make the reservations and amendments he desired. But, at long last, it would get us down to business. It would save us from another tide of contradictory words and slogans. It would give at least a hope of a relatively early practical result.

If we want to be realists about the world in which we live we all have to face a profound adjustment in our thinking. Disarmament is not a distant dream. As the Commonwealth Prime Ministers asserted, it is an urgent necessity of today. It is the first step to what many hon. Members on both sides of the House most sincerely desire—world government. I do not believe in catch phrases that disguise the problems to be solved. I do not believe in the efficacy of paper constitutions if the will to work them is not there. But consider how disarmament would advance us towards an effective world authority in the United Nations.

By Article 2 of the Charter—here I follow my hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice)—we have given up the right to use or threaten force to settle international disputes. A great slice of national sovereignty has gone. By disarmament treaty we should give up the right of each Government to decide what armed forces it would maintain. Another great segment, and a decisive segment, of national sovereignty would then be gone. The logical result of giving up the arbitrament of force would be to let the International Court of Justice have obligatory jurisdiction in all our international disputes. Another segment of sovereignty would be gone.

Disarmament would release the men and funds required to fight the real enemies of us all—ignorance, poverty and disease, and the needless hardships that still affect so great a number of our fellow men. It is thus that a world authority may, by treaty and by custom, come about. It is thus that we may make the world society of friendship, mutual help and understanding that for two generations has been promised and which the rising generation now so ardently and so generously desires.

4.20 p.m.

I begin by adding my congratulations to those which have already been offered by a number of hon. Members to my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) on his excellent maiden speech yesterday. We all listened to it with interest and we shall look forward to his further contributions to our debates.

We have also listened with interest and respect, as we always do, to the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker). We all acknowledge his sincerity and keen interest in these problems. I shall seek to return during my speech to one or two of the points he raised. At this stage, I wish only to say how glad I was to note the particular reference he made to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' declaration on disarmament, a very important document. The right hon. Member read various passages. I would remind him and the House of the final words in that declaration, because I think that they put the matter into context:
"Therefore, while striving for the abolition of armaments, all nations must actively endeavour to reduce tension by helping to remove other causes of friction and suspicion."
That is the wider aspect in which I think that this must be considered.

The hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) complained about the length of time spent by my right hon. Friend on our relationship with Western Europe. I agree that when we discuss foreign affairs the variety of subjects is immense and that it is difficult to get a cohesive debate. I must remind the hon. Member, however, that our relationship with Western Europe has been a basic element in our foreign policy certainly since the Battle of Hastings, if not before.

I should like to make clear the point I made on this. Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that it would have been greatly for the convenience of both sides of the House if the Government had indicated their intention to have this subject thoroughly discussed? If they did not wish to put down a Motion on it, or to allocate a day for it to be debated, they could have told the Opposition that they wished to allocate one of these two days to this subject. By smuggling it into a general debate under cover of a Motion which does not refer to Europe, the right hon. Gentleman succeeded in raising the issue without giving any chance whatever to focus the debate.

I think that the hon. Member might allow me to develop my speech before he embarks on a large intervention.

I remind the hon. Gentleman that the greater unity of Western Europe must play a very important part in strengthening
"the unity of the free world"
which are exactly the words in out Motion. It is quite reasonable that this should have been introduced. Indeed, in spite of what the hon. Member has said, I think that it was quite clear, from the speeches which followed on his side of the House, that many hon. Members were anxious to take part in a debate on this matter at this stage. I am sorry if he feels he was inconvenienced, but there was certainly no intention——

That certainly was not shown by the way in which the debate continued.

I want to devote most of my speech to other matters, but before I do so I want to deal briefly with one specific aspect of our discussions with the Six which was raised by one or two hon. Members, and particularly by my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Sir A. Hurd), namely, the position of British agriculture in this problem.

Quite clearly, joining the Six or, indeed, a close association with them which embraced agriculture would mean considerable changes in our system of support in this country. On the other hand, if we are to get a fair comparison, we should consider how things are likely to develop if we remain outside the Six while they develop their intended policies in this sphere.

By the very nature of our present policies, Britain tends to be the residual market to which world food surpluses gravitate at the present time. It follows, therefore, that if production in the Six were to increase, foodstuffs they had hitherto been importing would tend to be diverted to our market and any surpluses that arose within the Six would incline towards us, with a resulting pressure on our market and on the cost of Exchequer support. It is important that this should be realised so that it may be seen that the comparison is not really between our position within the Six and our position as it is now, but between our position in the Six and our position as it would be outside the Six after their joint agricultural policy had begun to take effect. This is an extremely important distinction.

On the other hand, if we were able to make some arrangement with the Six whereby we were able to contemplate, over a period of years, some harmonisation of agricultural policy which involved bringing our method of agricultural support and that practised on the Continent more into line, we could no longer be looked upon as an external residual market but as part of the Community.

Is it the policy of the Government to object to cheaper food for this country because of the cost of Exchequer subsidy to the farmers?

No, I am trying to put the picture in relation to what the change would be. One has to draw the balance between our position now and our position in the Community, and I am trying to develop the point.

The maintenance of fair prices to producers in this country, as in the Six, would be a matter of concern to the Community as a whole. It follows from this that decisions affecting these prices will be taken collectively. This, of course, is not peculiar to agriculture, but is inherent in the whole idea of the Common Market and applies across the board.

Let us not forget that we are not the only country determined to safeguard its agricultural interests. It is significant that every one of the countries of the Six has a much larger proportion of its population involved in agriculture than we have and, politically speaking, this strengthens rather than weakens agriculture's power favourably to influence decisions taken by the commission or the council on farming matters. Added to this is the intention, written into the Treaty of Rome, to safeguard and protect the standard of living of those engaged in agriculture in the Community.

Of course, there would be certain commodity problems, but, bearing in mind the fact that the Community as a whole has not yet taken any firm decisions on agriculture, if we went in we should be in a strong position to influence any decisions on these matters in a way that would be helpful to our farming community. Furthermore, when one looks at the high cost of production in some parts of the Six, one is bound to ask: if the countries involved are able to contemplate membership of the Six, need we necessarily feel that such an approach is beyond our power? I was very interested to read, in this connection, a recent pamphlet produced by the National Farmers' Union dealing with this subject. I thought it a valuable contribution to our general thinking on this matter, but I was left with the impression that it posed the question too much in terms of black or white, that is, accession to the Treaty of Rome as it stands as opposed to maintaining our present position. Quite clearly, if we were to join or link up we would want to safeguard our own producers, and indeed our Commonwealth also, and a special arrangement in relation to this would be necessary.

Furthermore, a link-up with the Community would presumably mean adoption of the common external tariff for most commodities against other countries outside the Six, the Commonwealth or E.F.T.A. This in itself would inevitably reduce the pressure on our market in certain commodities and I do not think that this was fully taken account of in the production to which I have referred.

Is my hon. Friend aware that what disturbs us at the moment is not so much the nature of the alterations to the 1947 and 1957 Acts, but that by joining a common external tariff we would increase costs of production and have dearer food in this country?

That is an aspect which, of course, has to be considered and it is an essential part of the policy of the Community which would have to be watched carefully. Undoubtedly, very big issues would be involved for our farming community if we were to link up with the Six, just as they would be for the rest of the Community as consumers. Undoubtedly, some changes in emphasis in our production policy might follow, but there is no reason to assume that, in total, our farmers would stand to suffer under a system which would be worked out between the Six and ourselves. Indeed, it is very difficult to explain how Western Germany, with its high-cost production, can accept membership of the Six in the agricultural field if Britain cannot.

British farmers have a right to a full and fair measure of support. In this respect, they have the Government's pledges, which would still stand. The real question is whether, in fact, their long-term objectives could not be as well safeguarded within the Community as without. I have dealt with this matter in some detail, because of the interest shown by my hon. Friends, but my right hon. Friend will be dealing with other matters——

On a point of order. I have no doubt that the hon. Member's speech would be very appropriate at a meeting of the Agriculture Group of the Conservative Party, but is it really in order, when we are debating the Motion and Amendment on the Order Paper, to discuss details of the National Farmers' Union statements?

I have just taken the Chair, and so far I have heard nothing that would not be in order on the Motion and Amendment which we are now debating. I shall pay full attention to what is said.

As we have just had some blinding flashes of the obvious, which many people have been urging on the Government for many years about the situation in agriculture and the Six, can the Government tell us whether they now propose to get into the Six and negotiate about the future of agriculture, so that the matters which the Minister has been mentioning might be taken into account before the Six reach their final conclusion about their agricultural policies?

On a point of order. Before the question is answered, may I put this point to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker? On the footing that this discussion of the Common Market was relevant to the Motion moved yesterday, there has since been moved an Amendment, and the debate is about the issues raised in the Amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Is this relevant to any of the issues raised in the Amendment?

If the hon. Member will allow the debate to continue for a while, I will pay full attention to what is being said.

Further to that point of order. We are quite willing to allow the debate to continue, but I hope that, while you are thinking about it, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, you will take into account the feeling which is growing among a number of us that this is becoming almost a farce—this tremendous concentration on an aspect which is not mentioned in either the Motion or the Amendment, to the exclusion of everything else. It is beginning to look as though the Government are quite determined that there shall not be a foreign affairs debate at this time.

I think it is reasonable to allow the Minister to continue with his speech. I will listen to what he says, and if it seems to me that it is my duty to interrupt him, then, of course, I must do so.

I am sorry that hon. Members opposite feel so impatient about this. These matters were referred to, and I was seeking to reply to points raised in the debate yesterday. In any case, I had already clearly indicated, before hon. Members got up to interrupt, that I was leaving this matter and was seeking to get on to other matters which they wanted to be discussed. Therefore, it is rather unfortunate that they have delayed my return to them.

In reply to the point raised by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), I would say to him that I am sorry that he was not here to hear exactly what my right hon. Friend said yesterday, because he dealt with it in great detail. No doubt, the hon. Member can read it in HANSARD.

If I may now turn from Europe, I should like to deal with the question of nuclear tests, on which we had a most interesting contribution from the right hon. Member for Derby, South this afternoon. After an immense amount of patient negotiation, all three parties at Geneva had agreed at the end of last year on the main shape of the control system and its organisation, and, in particular, on the concept of genuinely international staffing and a single neutral administrator. But, against this background, when the conference reopened on 21st March, the Soviet delegate put forward his proposal to replace the single administrator, to whom he had previously agreed, by a three-man council representing the West, the Communist bloc, and the neutrals, able only to act when all three representatives were in agreement.

Such a provision would paralyse the workings of the whole agreement. He put this forward before he had heard the new proposals of the United States and ourselves, although it was generally known that we had been working very hard at a review of our positions to speed the conclusion of a Treaty. We had agreed on proposals which went very far to meet previous Soviet objections. These were put to the Soviet delegate after his speech on the same day. Subsequently, they were explained in detail, and on 18th April the United Kingdom and United States delegates tabled a complete draft treaty incorporating these proposals, together with the treaty articles—17 in all—and the preamble and annexe, on which the conference had already agreed.

We are prepared to sign this treaty at once, but it is not a "take-it-or-leave-it" draft. It is a picture of how we view the treaty, and we have told the Soviet delegate repeatedly that the document is open to negotiations, and we are very ready to consider any positive response from him. But, so far, there has been none.

Here, I should like to explain what was involved in the new Western Proposals. When the conference reconvened on 21st March, all three Governments had already agreed in principle to the idea of a phased treaty. By this, there would have been a verified ban for all time on those tests which could be detected by existing methods. Small tests, which might escape detection by being conducted underground, would have been subject to a temporary and unverified ban. This would have depended on voluntary and unilaterally declared abstention while a research programme was carried out to improve the capabilities of the control system in this field.

As to the way the research programme should be carried out, the Soviet Government accepted the idea of carrying out experimental nuclear explosions, but they were not satisfied with the safeguards which were proposed for ensuring that these explosions were not used to gain information of military value. To meet this objection, therefore, the United States Government proposed, on 21st March, to allow Soviet scientists to inspect the internal details of the American nuclear devices which it was intended should be used for seismic research. This concession would, of course, be subject to the approval of Congress, since United States law is involved.

This, I suggest, was an important concession. Another one related to the moratorium. It had been agreed that there must be a considerable period during which a research programme on detecting underground explosions could be carried out, and it was proposed that there should be a moratorium on underground weapon tests during this period. Initially, the Russians said that such a research programme would take four to five years, whereas the Western side claimed that it could be carried out satisfactorily in two years.

We and the Americans suggested a period of twenty-seven months, but, to try to meet the Soviet point of view, we have now proposed that the moratorium should last for three years, starting from the signature of the treaty, on the basis that this will allow ample time for the necessary research to be carried out. The Soviet Union has so far rejected this offer, although it has produced no scientific arguments to show that the research programme could not be completed in this period.

Both these concessions—the research programme and the moratorium—were important and substantial. But in addition, we proposed that, if the other features of the control system were agreed, the Soviet side should have equality of representation with the Western side on the Nuclear Tests Control Commission which is to direct the work of the control organisation. Inspection of devices in the research programme, the programme itself, the moratorium, and equality of representation on the Commission—these are the main positive proposals which we and the Americans have made.

In addition, we have made a number of lesser but still important points. We have agreed to reduce the number of control posts on Soviet territory from 21 to 19. We are willing to grant the Russians a veto on the budget as a whole. We agree to doubling the quota of inspections in the Western countries; that is to say, that the United States and Britain will each allow the same number of inspections in their territory as in the Soviet Union. We have also made concessions with regard to the peaceful uses of atomic energy and a complete ban on high altitude tests.

I do not think that I need to go into further detail to show the very real efforts which we have been making to meet the Russian point of view in our search for agreement. There is, however, one further point to which I should like to refer before I leave this subject, and on which I find myself in very broad agreement with what the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) said yesterday. This is the question of French nuclear weapons tests.

The House will recall that when the Conference first met in October, 1958, only three Powers—the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union—had tested nuclear weapons. They were, therefore, the only Powers qualified at that time to negotiate. Her Majesty's Government continue to believe that far the best course is to conclude an agreement as soon as possible between the present negotiators, considering how far we have got in our arrangements, and then open such an agreement to accession by France and all other countries. The French have, in any case, indicated that for their part they have no wish to take part in the conference.

The Soviet delegate knows that there is a treaty text already agreed in Geneva by which the parties to the treaty would undertake
"to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in, the carrying out of nuclear weapons test explosions anywhere."
The Soviet delegate knows that the United States and the United Kingdom Governments, at a time when they have temporarily and voluntarily suspended their own testing in order to further the negotiations, are fully observing the undertaking I have just quoted. Yet he suggests that we and the United States are deriving advantage from the French tests. I suggest that this is a ludicrous misrepresentation which cannot but cast doubt on the sincerity of Soviet desires to conclude an agreement.

The French tests cannot possibly be significant for British and American nuclear weapons development. Indeed, it could legitimately be deduced that France has tested for precisely the opposite reason, namely, that the United States and the United Kingdom have not given her the information about nuclear weapons which would enable her to dispense with tests. So long as there is no effectively safeguarded treaty to stop nuclear weapons testing, to which other countries can adhere, the Soviet Government should not be altogether surprised that other countries wish to test. If, therefore, they are so apprehensive of French tests they should rapidly make constructive proposals which will make the conclusion of the present treaty possible.

Is it, nevertheless, the view of the Government that the treaty should be signed and that Soviet adherence to the treaty should continue even though the French tests continue, or will the hon. Gentleman go so far as to say that the actual operation of the treaty would be dependent on the French tests ceasing?

I am just coming on to the effect the treaty, once it is signed, could have on the further developing countries, not only France. When a treaty is signed, then by all means let the three of us approach France and China, and any other countries in the world which are likely to be coming forward to the testing stage, and seek their adherence to a controlled ban on nuclear tests. That is what we have to do—get a concrete treaty in being and then try to get the adherence of others.

The hon. Gentleman does not quite answer my question. During the period when the accession of France to the treaty is being sought, do the Government regard the treaty as binding on the Soviet Union?

We would certainly hope that the treaty would be absolutely binding on all three parties. We have no wish to see nuclear testing start again by the major Powers. I emphasise that it would be our hope and intention that there would be no question of tests by the three, otherwise there is no purpose in their signing the treaty.

This is a very important issue. I understand that Mr. Dean raised it during the negotiations at Geneva. Is it not the case that the American Government are seeking to include in the treaty a provision by which its members will not be bound by their obligations necessarily if certain other Powers begin to test? For example, does the hon. Gentleman think that the American Government would consider themselves bound if it were found that a large number of tests were taking place in China?

No. That is exactly the point. Of course, they would not consider themselves bound in those circumstances. The intention is to try to get the treaty and then get the adherence of France and China. If these other countries were not willing to join, it would clearly be extremely difficult to maintain the treaty in force. That is no reason for not trying to get the treaty in force first. One must take this a stage at a time. As the whole House will agree, the important thing is to try to get the treaty into effect now.

In view of the latest developments. I should like to make it quite plain that Her Majesty's Government are gravely concerned at the completely negative and destructive attitude adopted by the Russian delegate since the conference reconvened, of which there is further evidence on the tape at lunchtime today in the reports of this morning's meeting. If this indicates that they are determined to wreck this conference, with all that that could entail, they will incur, and rightly incur, the condemnation of the whole world. In such an atmosphere the prospects for full disarmament discussions would be dismal indeed.

I should like to say, at this point, how very much we welcome, as I am sure the whole House welcomes, the reports, which have already been referred to, that a meeting between President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev is likely in the near future. Obviously, there could be a possibility, if such a meeting takes place, of clearing the air, which could lead to improving the atmosphere for future international negotiations in this, as in all other, fields. I am sure that we all hope very much that the meeting will take place.

Mr. Khrushchev has said that the Soviet Government are making serious preparations for their coming talks with the United States Government on disarmament. It is as well to bear in mind the developments leading up to these talks. First, we must go back to the breakdown of the previous disarmament negotiations last summer. As is known, the Russians walked out of the Ten-Power negotiations at a time when the West was about to present new and constructive proposals which took into account points made by the Soviet Government in the course of the negotiations.

It was a great disappointment to us that the Soviet Government should have chosen to walk out at that stage, particularly when they were aware—it was well known at the time—that the West was about to make new proposals. There was never any opportunity to negotiate or discuss with the Soviet Government the disarmament plan which the United States delegate tabled on the day when the talks broke up.

Our first object thereafter was to bring about the resumption of substantive negotiations. The United Nations Disarmament Commission, consisting of all the members of the United Nations, was convened for that purpose in August. The question was then referred to the General Assembly. During the course of the Assembly's proceedings my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made what we considered to be a practical and constructive proposal for bringing about fruitful negotiations. He put forward the idea that, after the pattern of the successful discussions of experts which preceded the present Nuclear Tests Conference, there should be meetings of experts from both sides to consider and make joint recommendations on feasible methods of ensuring compliance with and verification of various kinds of disarmament measures. Unfortunately, this idea did not find favour with the Soviet Government at the time. But we are not without hope that some procedure on these lines may be adopted when disarmament negotiations are resumed. Various other proposals were put forward at the General Assembly, but up to the time of its Christmas adjournment no agreement had been reached on how to proceed.

The position then changed with the change of Administration in the United States. The new Administration there made it known that they were carrying out an extensive review of United States disarmament policies as well as the position reached at the Nuclear Tests Conference, about which I was speaking a little while ago. Naturally, they gave priority to the nuclear test discussions because the conference was current, and the disarmament review would necessarily take time.

A further development was the Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers in London, to which the right hon. Gentleman rightly drew attention and to which I have already made a passing reference. The conference agreed this notable declaration on disarmament, which should form, I hope, the basis of our policy in this field in the future.

Against this background the United States and Soviet Governments found it possible to agree at the resumed session of the General Assembly to continue exchanges of views during June and July
"on questions relating to disarmament and to the resumption of negotiations in an appropriate body whose composition is to be agreed upon."
We fully support the agreement between the United States and Soviet Governments to have these discussions, about which, of course, we were consulted beforehand. Indeed, the agreement received the unanimous support of the United Nations General Assembly.

The object of these coming talks between the United States and Soviet Governments is to find a basis for the resumption of multilateral negotiations in the whole field of disarmament and, in particular, a practical and acceptable forum for fruitful negotiations. The United States Government have stated that they will be ready for substantive negotiations at the end of July, and it is our earnest wish that these negotiations will materialise as a result of the talks between the statesmen so that we may yet again give expression to our striving for general disarmament under effective international control.

That, of course, is the great problem, and I notice here, again, that this is one little bit of the Commonwealth Prime Minister's declaration that the right hon. Gentleman did not read out. The Prime Ministers made it quite clear, in paragraph 8 of their declaration, that disarmament without inspection would be as unacceptable as inspection without disarmament; the two must go together. This is where we get discouraged by what is happening at Geneva in relation to nuclear tests. Unless we can get agreement to inspection on small things, what hope is there of it on large——

I tried to argue that inspection for tests alone is a much more complicated and difficult problem than general inspection, and I believe that that cannot be contested.

Whatever view one holds on this, there has to be willingness to have inspection, and that is what we have not yet really seen——

Again, with deference, Mr. Khrushchev has constantly made it plain over the last five years that he is ready for full inspection if we have disarmament. His interruption of the Prime Minister's speech in the General Assembly last year was to say, "If you will accept our approach to disarmament, we accept your inspection."