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Lords Chamber

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 10 November 1977

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House Of Lords

Thursday, 10th November, 1977.

The House met at three of the clock: The LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.

PrayersRead by the Lord Bishop of Derby.

Air Transport: Strike Effects

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for mitigating the serious effects on the travelling public such as those recently experienced during the strike by assistant air traffic controllers.

My Lords, in any situation in the future the Government, as always, will consider the circumstances and take such steps as seem necessary and appropriate. As situations can vary so widely, the Government feel that it would serve no useful purpose to publicise possible responses to each of them.

My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that I am not asking that publicity should be given to the plans, but that I am seeking an assurance, on behalf of the House, that plans are being made? I point this out because now, after some 10 weeks and with delay to millions of air travellers, many of whom—perhaps half—are travelling on important business engagements, it is becoming very difficult indeed to give an image that Britain is efficient and a good country in which to invest. The sooner this situation is put right, the better. Will the noble Lord bear in mind that if troops can be used to back up the essential fire services, then it may be possible to use the Royal Air Force Reservists to back up air traffic control on the most essential services?

My Lords, I can assure the noble Lord that all lessons arising from the recent dispute have been noted, and obviously the conclusions will be drawn by the Government. On the point of using military forces, I should say that there was one isolated case at West Drayton where the RAF was used for very special reasons, but I would urge the noble Lord to think of the very great dangers in these matters of introducing the military other than as a last resort and in very essential circumstances. Important though air traffic is, there is, I suggest to the noble Lord, a difference between the Fire Service and air traffic.

My Lords, does my noble friend agree that, while we should like to think that the Government are looking at this problem, it is one which perhaps the Conservative Party could deal with domestically, as I understand that the chairman of the strike committee involved in this dispute is, in fact, the trade union organiser on behalf of the Conservative Party?

My Lords, I had noted that report to which my noble friend draws attention. I am not sure that we need take any real notice of it, or draw any very specific political conclusions from it, unless of course the gentlemen comes to be appointed as shop steward in the Conservative Central Office. That would be an interesting situation.

My Lords, can the noble Lord confirm that the computer which was at the centre of the assistant air traffic controllers' dispute is a common-use computer for both the Ministry of Defence and the civil air transport organisations, and is he satisfied that all the facilities provided by that computer remained available to the Ministry of Defence throughout the dispute?

My Lords, the incident to which I referred in answer to the noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, arose because the generators which supply the Air Defence Data Centre also supply the London Air Traffic Control Centre, so there is a connection between the two services. But I will examine more closely the point which the noble Lord has asked me about and write to him more fully.

My Lords, would my noble friend agree that, having regard to all the difficulties with which the airlines and the airport authorities were faced, they did a remarkably good job during this period?

Certainly, my Lords; the Civil Aviation Authority, in conjunction with the airlines, reduced the number of flights, and I think that they are to be commended for having kept services going to the extent of 75 per cent. during that very difficult time.

My Lords, will the noble Lord give the assurance that there has been no reduction whatever in the standards of safety set up by the airports?

Yes, my Lords; air safety is not a matter which Her Majesty's Government, the Civil Aviation Authority, or the national air traffic service would ever be willing to put at risk; and indeed the actions that were taken had the question of air safety very much in mind.

My Lords, would the noble Lord agree that despite delays—and I experienced a delay of 24 hours in a four-day period of delays—the incredible good will of the travelling public, and not least of our foreign visitors, was really amazing? They sat in conditions at airports which were, I imagine, very similar to the black hole of Calcutta, due to gross overcrowding, which cannot be avoided on those occasions. The good will was quite amazing, but one only hopes that this situation will not occur again, because we cannot go on testing our visitors with conditions of that kind.

My Lords, I am glad to hear what the noble Lord has said about the general atmosphere, and I hope that he himself kept his temper during those 24 hours.

My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that one of the outcomes of the strike was a heavy pressure on railway sleeper services, and would he urge the railway authorities to do their best to increase the provision of sleepers when traffic increases in the remarkable way that it did on this occasion?

My Lords, I will pass on that point to the authorities concerned. I do not suppose that it is easy at short notice to step up that kind of facility, but this is a point which should be borne in mind.

My Lords, in view of the continued emphasis on this matter, I think we ought to draw attention to the fact that other nations, on the Continent and elsewhere in the world, are having air traffic control problems all the wretched time.

Yes, indeed, my Lords; and we should remember that the difficulties during that period were not due solely to the dispute within our own service, because at the same time there were difficulties in France, in Spain and in Canada, and there was a cumulative effect from the one service to the other. So it was not just British caused; it was trouble, as the noble Lord points out, in other countries as well.

The Neutron Bomb And Nato

3.13 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their attitude to the incorporation of the neutron bomb in the equipment of NATO.

My Lords, consultations on whether the United States should provide enhanced radiation warheads for deployment in Europe are now taking place in NATO, where all the implications are being considered. NATO has not yet reached a firm view on this question; neither have we.

My Lords, could the Minister confirm that the Pentagon, through the Defence Minister of the United States, Harold Brown, has urged NATO to adopt this weapon, and that President Carter is likely to base his endorsement of it on the NATO decision? In view of the fact that this is the climax of human suicide and that Mr. Maulding, who happens to be my Member of Parliament—and I hope, therefore, that the Conservatives will support my case—has said that this is the ultimate insult that man can offer to the human race or to God, will the Government do their utmost to oppose the adoption of this weapon?

My Lords, all weapons are terrible things, and this is just a variant of weapons which, I am afraid, are equally terrible. But, as I said, no firm view has been reached on its use, either by NATO or by Her Majesty's Government.

My Lords, is there any reason to suppose that the neutron bomb, if employed in the same circumstances, would annihilate substantially more human beings than an ordinary atomic bomb?

No, my Lords; nuclear weapons are all weapons of mass destruction.

My Lords, is not the difference that it will destroy all life while it will allow property and buildings still to stand?

My Lords, could the noble Lord say whether there have been any further tests of tactical nuclear weapons on the central front in NATO as a result of the possible advent of the neutron bomb?

Hong Kong: Police Officers' Amnesty

3.16 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their views on the statement made by the Governor of Hong Kong on 5th November relating to an amnesty for police officers in Hong Kong.

My Lords, this was a matter for judgment by the Governor, and Her Majesty's Government fully support his decision to grant a limited amnesty and his subsequent refusal to extend it in any way.

My Lords, does this mean that the Independent Commission Against Corruption has now ceased as an effective agency against corruption, and has it not undermined British authority so that the law cannot be effective in the courts?

My Lords, we have the highest regard and admiration for the way in which the ICAC has been conducted and for the very able and dedicated leadership of Mr. Jack Cater, who was appointed by our excellent Governor, Sir Murray MacLehose. Their procedures are of course related to court procedures.

My Lords, I apologise for speaking again but I did withdraw a Question of my own to enable this one to be put today. May I ask the Minister whether he is aware that there is a widespread view in Hong Kong, illustrated in letters which I have seen from responsible persons, that this is a surrender to police pressure, including violence near to mutiny, and that it will be a blow to the drive against corruption? Could he confirm that the Independent Commission Against Corruption, headed bravely by Mr. Cater, is investigating 38 corruption syndicates, of which 26 are alleged to be in the police service, and that this decision will mean that most of these investigations will not take place?

My Lords, I cannot share the view expressed by my noble friend in the first part of his question. My right honourable friend and I are convinced that the Governor exercised the right judgment and took the right decisions in a very difficult and urgent situation. As to the persistence of syndicated corruption, I am glad to be able to assure the House that on the evidence before us, while corrupt individuals may remain, there is no syndicated corruption still active within the public service in Hong Kong.

My Lords, would my noble friend not agree that it is exceedingly difficult to pass judgment on a complex local situation from a distance of 14,000 miles, and would it not be highly advisable to reiterate that absolute confidence reposes in our Governor of Hong Kong, who has already a most outstandingly successful record in that Colony?

My Lords, I am very glad indeed to agree entirely with my noble friend's remarks. I agree with everything he has said. There is no question of our full support and confidence in Sir Murray MacLehose as an outstandingly able Governor.

My Lords, could my noble friend confirm that the Governor's decision, which regretfully had to be taken immediately after the difficulties at the Anti-corruption Bureau, was taken after consultation with Mr. Cater? I was delighted at the tribute my noble friend paid to him. Would my noble friend also agree that the need for this body to remain in being is not only for the pursuit of those who have been corrupted, but to bring a greater degree of understanding and education to the people of Hong Kong in respect of the evils of corruption?

My Lords, my understanding is that such consultation within the government of Hong Kong took place even under the pressure of rapidly moving events. I agree with the second part of my noble friend's supplementary question and I look to a future of even greater progress in this field, possibly as a result of the tests, as well as tensions, which these incidents have imposed not only on the Government of Hong Kong but on the solidarity of the public of Hong Kong.

My Lords, is my noble friend aware that there is no question about the integrity and courage of the two men concerned, the Governor and Mr. Jack Cater? Will he give the House an assurance the ICAC will continue its work under the chairmanship of Mr. Jack Cater?

Yes, my Lords; I expect that Mr. Cater, who rendered such splendid service on the appointment of the Governor, will continue as Commissioner against corruption. He has been in the position for three very active and productive years. I expect that he will continue, and I hope that he will do so.

My Lords, will the noble Lord and Her Majesty's Government not agree, in connection with these November amnesties, that there is an older offence related to 5th November which now needs putting under amnesty in the sense of forgetfulness, in view of the fact that there have now been more people killed and injured in celebrating it than would have happened if the deed had been successful?

Gun Barrel Proof Bill Hl

3.23 p.m.

My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to make provision to enable the United Kingdom to accede to a Convention for the Reciprocal Recognition of Proof Marks of Small Arms done at Brussels on 1st July 1969; to amend the Gun Barrel Proof Act 1868; to extend that Act and the Gun Barrel Proof Act 1950 to Scotland and Northern Ireland; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 1a .—( Lord Winterbottom.)

On Question, Bill read 1a , and to be printed.

Medical Bill Hl

My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Wells-Pestell, I beg to introduce a Bill to make provision for the constitution of the General Medical Council, for changes to be made in the Medical Acts in the event of the termination of the Agreement of 1927 with the Irish Free State with respect to the registration and control of medical practitioners, for new committees of the General Medical Council to be established to exercise functions with respect to medical education and the professional conduct and fitness to practise of medical practitioners, for the correction of erroneous registrations, and for purposes connected with those matters. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 1a .—( Lord Strabolgi.)

On Question, Bill read 1a , and to be printed.

Education (Northern Ireland) Bill Hl

My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to facilitate the establishment in Northern Ireland of schools to be attended by pupils of different religious affiliations or cultural traditions. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 1a .—( Lord Dunleath.)

On Question, Bill read 1a , and to be printed.

Bill Of Rights

My Lords, I beg to move the first Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following Lords be named of the Committee ordered to be appointed on Tuesday last, to consider whether a Bill of Rights is desirable and, if so, what form it should take, viz.:

  • Allen of Abbeydale, L. (Chairman)
  • Blake, L.
  • Boston of Faversham, L.
  • Foot, L.
  • Gaitskell, B.
  • Gordon-Walker, L.
  • Jellicoe, E.
  • Lloyd of Hampstead, L.
  • O'Hagan, L.
  • Redcliffe-Maud, L.
  • Wade, L.

That the Committee have power to appoint Specialist Advisers;

That the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee from time to time be printed and, if the Committee think fit, delivered out;

That the Proceedings of the Select Committee on a Bill of Rights in the last Session of Parliament be referred to the Committee;

That the Committee do meet at half-past three o'clock on Monday the 14th of November.—( Lord Aberdare.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Deputy Chairmen Of Committees

My Lords, I beg to move the second Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following Lords be appointed to the panel of Lords to act as Deputy Chairmen of Committees for this session:—

  • Airedale, L.
  • Alport, L.
  • Amherst of Hackney, L.
  • Cathcart, E.
  • Champion, L.
  • Derwent, L.
  • Douglas of Barloch, L.
  • Henley, L.
  • Hood, V.
  • Jacques, L.
  • Listowel, E.
  • Maybray-King, L.
  • Nugent of Guildford, L.
  • Segal, L.
  • Shannon, E.
  • Strang, L.
  • Wootton of Abinger, B.

—( Lord Aberdare.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Procedure Of The House

3.27 p.m.

My Lords, I beg to move the third Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. Perhaps I may say a brief word about this report in case any noble Lord has not read it; although I hope that that is not the case. In the first place, the Committee considered some recommendations made by the Select Committee on Practice and Procedure, among them that the clocks in this Chamber which time your Lordships' speeches should be used during, the Report stages of Public Bills; that your Lordships' attention should be specifically drawn to the fact that Standing Order No. 27, which restricts the right to speak more than once in debate, applies to speeches on Report; and that arguments fully deployed in Committee should not be repeated at length on Report.

The only other point that I should like specifically to draw to the attention of your Lordships is that the Committee strongly deprecates the practice of late tabling of Amendments. It points out that Amendments which are tabled late are, by the time they are printed and circulated, almost as inconvenient to the House as Manuscript Amendments. It hopes that your Lordships will do your best to table Amendments as early as possible at the appropriate stage of a Bill.

Moved, That the Second Report of the Select Committee of last Session (HL 274) be agreed to.—( Lord Aberdare.)

My Lords, may I make one observation on the strictures of the Procedure Committee about the late tabling of Amendments? The Committee may have been aiming some of its barbs at me—and properly. I tabled Amendments rather late at the end of last Session; but the difficulty was caused by the fact that the Government on that occasion chose to take the stages of the Bill almost on consecutive days. I am thinking of the Price Commission Bill which my noble friend Lord Mansfield and I dealt with from this Dispatch Box. I believe I recall that the Report stage was on the next Sitting Day but one to the Committee stage; and we had no alternative but to table our Amendments on the day prior to the Report stage. I hope that the Procedure Committee was appraised of those difficulties, and I hope that the Government will appreciate the problems which we on this side of the House face when the procedure for major Public Bills is telescoped in that way.

My Lords, I can assure the noble Lord that the Procedure Committee was deprecating just as much the late tabling of Government Amendments as those from anybody else. It was simply that, in general, this was a situation that was undesirable.

My Lords, may I make one point in relation to the statement which the noble Lord has made? It is that in this House, as there is no Speaker, it is most important that the Leader of the House or his Deputy, or the Leader of the Opposition or his Deputy on certain occasions, should draw it to the attention of Members when they go against the suggestions, proposals and wishes of the Procedure Committee and the Standing Orders of the House.

It is somewhat difficult when one is in the Chair and knows that the Orders of the House are not being carried out; and there is nothing that the Deputy Speaker can do about it. One hopes that this difficulty may be resolved by action from either Front Bench.

My Lords, is it not the case that responsibility does not rest only with the Front Benches? I remember that when I first came to this House there were numerous Back-Benchers who would be very alert to discern breaches of order. Lord Saltoun was one; and I sometimes wish that he were here and more active.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Address In Reply To Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech

3.30 p.m.

Debate resumed on the Motion moved on Thursday last by Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede—namely, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as follows:

"Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."

My Lords, today we shall debate the foreign affairs and defence aspects of the gracious Speech. My noble friend, who speaks for the Ministry of Defence and who will wind up the debate, will naturally deal in some detail with defence questions; but as they are to a large extent inseparable from foreign policy—not least with regard to disarmament—I will also try to cover both areas in my own speech.

This debate is an opportunity for me to set out the Government's views on matters which seem to me to be of the greatest interest. It is also an opportunity to hear your Lordships' views on particular aspects of foreign and Commonwealth policy to which perhaps we should be giving more attention. In any case, I should like to try to set them against the background of fundamental aims of British policy. We must constantly keep these aims in sight, avoiding on the one hand the temptation to apply them to circumstances that are irrevocably passed and, on the other hand, resisting a tendency to underestimate our capabilities and opportunities in the present and the likely future.

As your Lordships are well aware, Britain can have considerable influence on events beyond our shores. This is only partly a result of history. We should not lightly discard the opportunities it offers. There are times when more is expected of this country than we could carry out with our present resources, if we tried to act on our own. It is well therefore that we have increasingly realised that our influence, if it is to be effective, must be exerted through groups of nations. This means through the many international organisations of which we are important members: the United Nations, where we are a permanent member of the Security Council; the IMF/World Bank family, where we hold one of the executive directorships; the Commonwealth, which not only has survived but constantly renews itself; the North Atlantic Alliance, to which alone among European nations we make a contribution in the conventional, tactical nuclear and strategic fields; and, most important of all in the present context, the European Community, as part of which we are not only best able to promote our own interests—economic and political—but also to contribute more effectively to the creation of the kind of world in which we should like our own children to live.

I have spoken first of our place, our role, in the world in order to give proof, if proof is required, that we need not float helplessly on the waters of history. We can, as a country, and particularly as a member of the international bodies that I have described, influence the course of events and not merely suffer their consequences. But first we need a direction in which to steer.

In the broadest terms, our aims are threefold: to maintain our security, to promote our prosperity, and to do what we can to lessen injustice wherever we see it. These aims have to be pursued together. Without security, prosperity would be worthless. Without prosperity, the means of security could become an unacceptable economic burden. A properly functioning economy is thus itself a precondition of security. And without proper regard for justice in the world as well as at home, foreign policy can cut itself off from the popular support which, in a democracy, it must have. Given these links, there is no single inevitable starting point for a discussion of our foreign policy. But economic problems are perhaps uppermost just now in our minds, and I should therefore like to direct my attention first of all to the world economy and world trade.

The dependence of the British economy on the economic health of the rest of the world is not new—we need only to go as far back as the world-wide depression of the 'thirties and its effect on the living standards of this country as well as other countries. Nor is it new that a country's external economic policies have effects on others. What is new is the increasing recognition in recent years by the leaders of the Western industrialised democracies that their internal domestic policies have an unavoidable effect on the economies of the rest of the world.

For Britain, with our particularly large dependence on imports and on the exports to finance them, the international dimension is very important indeed. No one country can solve all its own problems if other countries are failing to tackle theirs. That is why the leaders of the seven most important industrialised democracies met in May at Downing Street to concentrate their attention on the need for action to combat world recession. Since then, expansion has been slower in coming than many had hoped.

As a result, there are still enormous world-wide problems of unemployment and resources lying idle. As the gracious Speech made clear, the Government will continue to take part in international efforts to remedy this. In the meantime, the improvement in our own economic situation has enabled us to make the moves in the right direction announced last month by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in another place.

But if progress is disappointingly slow, it is very striking that the deep pessimism which was widespread a year ago about the economic and even political stability of this and other countries has faded. In our own case, North Sea oil, and the speed with which it is being brought ashore, has helped to create a more hopeful view of our own underlying strength. No doubt the pessimism was in the first place exaggerated. But more fundamentally, I think, the pessimists did not anticipate the extent to which Western Governments, recognising their interdependence, would be able to take measures they would not otherwise have taken in order to help the wider international community. The contrast with the 'thirties, I suggest, is truly striking.

I would not, however, wish to leave your Lordships with the impression that, because the worst has not happened, all is for the best. On the contrary, the measures taken by countries with strong economies and large trade surpluses to create international demand are still not adequate to the size of the problem. If this is allowed to continue, not only will our common prosperity be frustrated but the stability of our democratic societies may be threatened. In the shorter term high unemployment increases the pressure for protectionism, threatening through a process of retaliation and emulation to shut doors to imports which are a necessary part of international economic recovery.

The Government are pledged to work within the European Community for a successful and balanced conclusion of the multilateral trade negotiations. One very important result of an increase in world trade, and of world economic activity generally, will be an increase in the resources available to be shared by the industrialised with the developing countries. So far as the aid programme is concerned, the Government have committed themselves to increasing aid flows effectively and substantially, subject to the progress of our economic recovery; we will continue to make special efforts to help the poorest countries and the poorest people within them, and to achieve a better distribution of the world's resources between richer and poorer nations. This is part of the fundamental goal of world justice in the wider sense. It is an important element in the North-South dialogue, whose results, whether successful or unsuccessful, will affect our prosperity and even our security in years to come. The Government are playing a full part in trying to ensure that the dialogue achieves constructive results, and that it promotes increasing co-operation between the developed and developing countries in the search for a more equitable world order. Once again, we are able to do this far more effectively through the European Community. The next stage is to work for a successful conclusion to the Common Fund Conference now in session. This will not be achieved without a good deal of flexibility, an abundance of good will and the right motivation. But it is important that a common European Community position has been reached, according fully with the Community's constructive approach to the whole North-South dialogue.

I have spoken first of economic matters, but this does not imply that security is of less importance. The Government remain wholly committed to the ultimate aim of complete disarmament, but there cannot be any measure of disarmament without security. We are therefore wholly committed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as the most effective means of ensuring the collective security of the West. The Government were pleased to act as host at the NATO Summit in London in May. We are particularly pleased with the clear support which President Carter and his Administration have given to the Alliance, and President Carter's presence at the NATO Summit was an obvious and welcome sign of his personal involvement and interest.

The Government also fully support the initiatives which the President launched at the NATO Summit, and which were followed up at the consequent meeting of NATO Defence Ministers, for improving the overall Alliance posture to meet the needs of the 1980s. We welcome these initiatives, as they focus on the priority areas for improving NATO's defences and for dealing with the adverse trend in the NATO-Warsaw Pact military balance. We are therefore playing a full and constructive part in the development of these initiatives, which are being handled in two stages. For the short term, the major NATO commanders have put forward proposals for each nation to make improvements by the end of 1978 in the key areas of anti-armour, war reserves, and readiness and reinforcement. The proposals addressed to us are realistic and reasonable. Noble Lords will be pleased to learn that we have been able to accept the majority of them and to make valuable improvements covering all three Services in each of these areas. NATO has in fact welcomed our response as a most constructive and positive one. For the longer term, NATO has established a series of task forces to look forward into the 1980s in the critical areas. The studies are proceeding well and we are playing an important part in them.

The Government remain determined to maintain modern and effective forces at the service of the Alliance, commensurate with our economic position. We welcome the fact that the Alliance accept that our proposals for achieving the savings of £267 million in the Defence Budget for 1978–79 will keep to the minimum the effect on the United Kingdom's front-line contribution to NATO and its essential support. We note the concern the Alliance have expressed about cuts and this factor, together with other relevant considerations, will be taken fully into account by the Government when setting the level of the Defence Budget for the succeeding years. We are, however, pulling our weight in the Alliance; and this is shown not only by the size and extent of our contribution but also by the fact that we spend a higher proportion of our Defence Budget on equipment than any other member of the Alliance, and that the 5 per cent. of our GDP which we spend on defence is well above the European average.

The Government are equally committed to the other main gaol of NATO. That is the development, through détente, of a more productive relationship with the East. A fundamental strand in these relations is the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks—SALT—between the United States and the Soviet Union. We welcome the indications of progress on SALT II, and I should like at this point to pay tribute to President Carter's determination to consult as fully as possible within the Alliance on matters of concern to us all. In talking of progress in SALT, I must also point to the lack of movement in the Vienna talks on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions—MBFR. A successful further limitation in strategic nuclear weapons will only increase the attention we are bound to pay to the growing imbalance in conventional forces in Eastern and Western Europe. This imbalance will have to be redressed if the MBFR talks are to achieve their agreed objective of contributing to a more stable relationship and to the strengthening of peace and security in Europe.

Arms control and disarmament are not, of course, the only factors in East-West relations. Another important part of the fabric is the set of issues covered by the follow-up to the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. When the CSCE Final Act was signed two years ago in Helsinki it was regarded by some as a capitulation to the Soviet Union; but subsequent events, and indeed a glance at the Final Act itself, show that the West fully held its own. Western countries, including the United Kingdom, are playing a full part in the exchange of views on the implementation of the Final Act now going on in Belgrade.

We are making our points firmly and clearly, but without souring the atmosphere. We are contributing not to polemics but to constructive discussion, aimed at learning from the past lessons which will promote a better performance in tile future. Underlying our approach is the belief that if détente is to be consolidated in the years ahead, it must be based on greater understanding and contact between peoples as well as Governments. Co-operation and security are between individuals as well as corporations. Human rights are for human beings, and progress along the lines set out in the Final Act, while it is likely to be slow, must be seen to be happening. But it is of great importance, if détente is to be an enduring reality, that the people of the world should see that there is an advance, however slow, from year to year in the extension of the basic rights of individuals in every part of the world.

Although the CSE is concerned with security as well as co-operation, it is not itself a forum for multilateral disarmament negotiations. As I said to the First Committee of the United Nations Thirty-Second General Assembly last week, we accept that as a nuclear weapons State we have a special responsibility in the arms control field. We stressed that a particularly serious problem for the future security of the world is how to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons. Our ultimate goal is a world free of nuclear weapons, and an important stage on that road would be a permanent ban on all nuclear explosions. This would be of particular value in helping to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The Government are therefore particularly pleased to have started negotiations on a comprehensive test ban with the Governments of the United States and the Soviet Union. We are working to achieve a multilateral treaty of unlimited duration, banning all nuclear explosions, and with effective provision for verification. We warmly welcome the priority which President Brezhnev gave to this subject in his recent speech, and regard his expression of willingness to reach agreement on a moratorium to cover peaceful nuclear explosions as a major step forward. We hope that as many States as possible, both nuclear and non-nuclear, would adhere to a comprehensive test ban treaty, strengthening significantly the Non-Proliferation Treaty which more than 100 States have already ratified.

The Government also have in mind our commitment under this Treaty to the further development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The finite nature of the world's oil resources, and the probability that in the years ahead the demands we make on them will force up the price levels, point to the need for an increased contribution by nuclear means to the supply of energy. The challenge before us which the Government intend to lend all their efforts to meet, is to develop nuclear energy within a framework of strengthened non-proliferation policies. Through our chairmanship of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, we are working to ensure that sales of nuclear materials and equipment are governed by international disciplines and safeguards. We also wish to open the group to a wider membership. We welcome the progress made at the organising Conference on International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation, held in Washington last month on President Carter's initiative. We intend to take part in all the Working Groups that are being set up, particularly on the important subject of reprocessing, where we are co-chairmen with Japan.

We are also active in other fields of disarmament. Still in the nuclear field, my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, during his very successful recent visit to Moscow, concluded an Anglo-Soviet agreement on the prevention of accidental nuclear war. In the non-nuclear field, we look forward to further discussion in Geneva on the banning of chemical weapons. The British draft convention, which we tabled last year, has indeed provided a very useful focus for attention. We have advocated that the United Nations should consider a universal reduction of military budgets, and international action to limit the transfer of conventional weapons. We also intend to make a positive contribution to the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament, which will take place in May and June next year.

I have gone into some detail on the subject of arms control and disarmament, because it is a field where detail counts. It is not enough to approach it with the litany of idealism; it is even more necessary to apply to it informed technical knowledge. And Britain, through its eminent experts in the related scientific and technological fields, is making an immense contribution to the necessary study of the ways and means of achieving disarmament. Everybody is in favour of beating swords into ploughshares as a general principle, but once particular applications are suggested there is no lack of arguments why nothing can yet be done. The Government are determined to continue to work for disarmament with patience and with persistence, and, as I said, to apply to this question not only the moral force which should underlie this kind of work, but also the informed knowledge, the dedication of scholarship as well as of philosophy, in order to achieve advances on this road.

Still in the field of defence, I must mention briefly the action being taken by the Government in the fight against international terrorism—in a very real way a war against the world, particularly in regard to hijacking. The Government are determined to play their part in ridding the world of this threat to civilisation. The help that we gave to the German Government during the Lufthansa hijacking is evidence of that determination. The international mood may now be more hostile to hijacking and to harbouring hijackers than it has been for some time. We are working hard at the United Nations to turn this mood into effective action, and we are taking steps to ratify the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. Meanwhile, discussions and examinations are taking place among members of the Nine in Brussels about possible practical measures against terrorism, and the Government will continue to play a full part in work on the security of civil aviation in the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the European Civil Aviation Conference.

This is an urgent matter and time is short. Time is also short in the Middle East. The next step in the search for a just and lasting settlement to the Arab-Israeli dispute is the reconvening of the Geneva Conference. While recognising the pre-eminent role and responsibility of the United States, we are ready to do everything in our power to help. The Prime Minister of Israel will be visiting London later this month and we look forward to discussions with him. At the heart of the dispute are two conditions which must be met, and they are worth repeating. One is Israel's right to exist within secure and defined boundaries, recognised by her neighbours and buttressed by external guarantees. The second is that a just solution must be found to the Palestinian problem, involving a homeland for the Palestinian people.

Equally pressing, of course, is the problem of Rhodesia. I have no doubt that your Lordships will be debating Rhodesia in some detail next week, but perhaps it would be helpful if at this stage I summarised current developments. I need not remind the House that our aim is to set up an independent Rhodesia—Zimbabwe—under majority rule next year, with a minimum of further bloodshed. Our proposals, published on 1st September, which have the full support of the United States Administration, set out what we believe is the best way of achieving this aim. The noble and gallant Lord, Lord Carver, and General Prem Chand, the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, have embarked on the first round of their talks in Africa: to discuss with all the parties the military and associated arrangements that are necessary to bring about the transition to majority rule. Your Lordships will, I am sure, agree that nobody more suitable for this formidable task of persuasion could be found than the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Carver. Despite the difficulties which undoubtedly lie ahead, it is legitimate to hope that, having come so far now, reason will prevail.

In Namibia, too, progress has been made which would have looked surprising to many of us six months ago. I wish I could say the same of South Africa itself. The actions of the South African Government on 19th October indicate that they are moving away from rather than towards the kind of policy which could bring peace and stability to their country and contribute to both in an area wider than their own country. I fear that, if they persist on their present course, the future is gloomy indeed. It is the responsibility of the international community to bring the South Africans to see where their true interests lie, and I trust that the world-wide outcry in response to their latest repressive measures will have given them pause for consideration. We must be careful, of course, not to push them into greater obduracy. We must use our economic ties with South Africa as a means of promoting our objectives. The code of conduct of the Nine is an important move in this direction. We shall act with Europe to endeavour to persuade South Africa to adopt, even at this hour, safer and saner measures.

Another problem with important implications for Britain, not least from the point of view of the security of the Alliance, is Cyprus. Over three years have passed since the division of the island following the brief deposition at that time of Archbishop Makarios. Despite many efforts, particularly those of the present Prime Minister who, as I recall, twice came very near to solving this problem in its earlier stages, we are not much closer to a solution which will be acceptable to the two communities. But a just and lasting solution must be found in the interests of the people of Cyprus and of the positions of Turkey and Greece within NATO. We shall not relent in our efforts to help to bring this about.

In these efforts we shall also be working very closely with our partners in the Nine, as with the United States. Indeed, the continuing growth of effective political co-operation among the members of the European Community is one of the most gratifying developments in the years since our accession, and it is strongly in our interests that it should continue. It is by no means the only success story. I spoke earlier of the common policies developed by the European Community over the North-South dialogue and international trade. In helping to work out these policies, as indeed in all areas of the Community's work, we make a contribution which is positive, wholehearted and realistic.

This must be the pattern of our future relationship within the Community, putting behind us the debates of the past about the merits of membership and concentrating on the elaboration of common policies from which all, including Britain, will benefit. This is the Government's approach. Like many other Member States, we naturally want changes to be made in certain Community policies. We place particular emphasis on improving the Common Agricultural Policy and on securing a Common Fisheries Policy which takes due account of the British contribution to the common fisheries pool. To achieve these improvements we need to convince our partners of their merits. We have no wish to attack the basic principles and institutions of the Community. On the contrary, we wish it to develop along lines which will be in the interests of all of us. And "all of us" includes Britain.

Enlargement is one such development. Perhaps one of the greatest tributes to the Community is the importance which the non-member countries of Southern Europe attach to membership. This will set the seal on their commitment to democracy. For us, while recognising the economic and organisational problems which enlargement to 12 will involve, the need to buttress the democracies in the applicant countries and, through them, to strengthen democracy in Europe as a whole is the paramount consideration.

If my time were as unlimited as your Lordships' patience, I should go on to examine other important facets of our foreign policy. What I have tried to do is once more to set our aims as clearly as possible before the House—aims which I am confident are shared by the vast majority of the people of this country, however much we may differ from time to time about the best means of achieving those aims. No doubt I have left out all mention of very important areas and very pressing problems but, like many more distinguished predecessors of mine at this Box, I have resisted the temptation to attempt a tour d'horizon. I find that a single phrase about everything is less informative than a few good paragraphs about a number of things, leaving the House, in the debate, to raise important questions which, in this opening speech, I have deliberately not mentioned. I hope that I have made it clear that the Government, in pursuing Britain's foreign policy objectives, also serve the wider causes of international peace, of the needs of the poorer nations and of human rights and freedom everywhere. My Lords, we shall continue unremittingly to serve those causes.

4.10 p.m.

My Lords, few people are better at spicing up what is a somewhat meagre fare, for those of us who are interested in the problems of the security of our country, than the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts. We find few crumbs of comfort for those who are concerned with our security. We are warm-hearted people and we are thankful for small mercies, and we are glad that the mouthings and machinations of the Marxist Left have been resisted in the gracious Speech. I was tempted at one time to say that some of the remarks about the commitment to détente, disarmament and the prevention of spread of nuclear weapons and the full contribution to the works of the NATO Alliance were possibly platitudes and perhaps even hypocritical. However, it is good to hear the noble Lord repeating those commitments as they are set out in the second paragraph of the gracious Speech.

If I may use a rather unattractive contemporary jargon phrase, the trouble is that the Government consistently refuse to "put their money where their mouth is", and that is something which has not been overlooked by our allies. I was not totally convinced by the noble Lord saying that our allies accept the need for our cuts of £200 million on top of all the other cuts we have made. Indeed, I shall have to remind him that many of us believe that Britain's contribution to NATO has been gravely damaged by the present Government. If he will not take it from me, I hope perhaps he might take it from the Secretary-General of NATO. Dr. Luns, who felt obliged to rebuke this country about the cumulative effect of Labour's cuts on our contribution to NATO, pointing out that even by the standards that the Government themselves have set we have gone below the minimum levels of safety. Dr. Luns said—and I think it has been quoted before in this House—
"It is particularly disturbing that these negative developments coincide with a sharpened awareness of the Alliance of the unremitting effort made by the Warsaw Pact to improve its offensive posture and of the implications of this for our future security".
Indeed, the noble Lord himself mentioned that precise problem.

We believe that the Government have, on their own admission, cut into the bone and we fear that the body may be permanently maimed. It is all very well to talk about constructive dialogue with our allies and consultation with them when we make these cuts, but I suggest it is a poor kind of consultation which says to somebody, "Will you have a choice between losing an arm, a leg or an eye?" The fact is that at the end of the day the body is maimed.

We have got away by pleading poverty. We can do this for a certain amount of time, but it becomes more difficult when we are claiming at the same time that we are gradually climbing out of the mire, fuelled by our fortunate discoveries of oil in the North Sea. If we are to enter a period of resurgence, surely we must demonstrate our seriousness of purpose and our devotion to protecting the values for which we stand.

This surely would assist us in our negotiations with the USSR, to which the noble Lord has referred. We have to remember that any hope of détente must depend upon negotiating from a position of strength. I accept that the noble Lord might not be prepared to support all the words of Sir Winston Churchill, but I would remind him that in Sir Winston's famous Fulton speech, speaking of the Russians—and I do not think things have changed very much—he said:
"There is nothing they admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness".
Today we are a middle-ranking nation; we no longer have an empire and, as the noble Lord has properly said, we rely on a group defence system to ensure our continued freedom. I entirely join with him in saying that it was reassuring that President Carter, in his first appearance at the North Atlantic Council, reaffirmed his commitment to NATO. He said:
"We will continue to make the Alliance the heart of our foreign policy. We will remain a reliable and faithful ally—we will join with you to strengthen the Alliance, politically, economically and militarily".
But he also said:
"The collective deterrent strength of our Alliance is effective. But it will only remain so if we work to improve it. The United States is prepared to make a major effort to this end … in the expectation that our allies will do the same".
Sometimes one is asked whether we feel threatened by the USSR. In defence debates in this House, we have often asked what need a land power has for a massive modern navy such as Admiral Gushikov has built up over the last 15 years. I hope I shall not be accused of being paranoic, which is what we so often accuse the Russians of being, if I say that I think we are entitled to feel threatened if we look at what is going on in the Indian Ocean at the present time. Even if this country is to be energy independent in the next year or two—and let us be thankful for it—this will not be true in any way of any of our allies in Europe. Indeed, their dependence will get greater; Germany is something like 80 per cent. dependent at the present time on material coming round the Cape of Good Hope through the Indian Ocean.

The Soviet presence in the Indian Ocean is there and is effective in adding muscle to the diplomatic offensive they have been mounting there. Look what is happening now in the Horn of Africa. I do not think any of us can ever remember a more brutally cynical example of selling arms to both sides than we have seen in the Somali-Ethiopian conflict. In all seriousness, my Lords, how can we be expected, with the best will in the world, to believe in Soviet protestations of peaceful intentions when they behave in the way they are behaving there?

The noble Lord referred to South Africa. I have found it difficult to understand what has occurred in the Security Council. Only three days after the Security Council vetoed a Resolution we find ourselves committed to a total and permanent arms ban. I shall not argue with the noble Lord in expressing the revulsion we all feel and which has been expressed, notably by my noble Leader Lord Carrington, towards the way the régime in South Africa is behaving. It is worth saying in passing that, at the same time, this pales into insignificance when compared with the behaviour of some other Governments I could mention, and there is not very much sign that Helsinki is doing much to improve that situation. But I have to say that I personally accept double standards; I think that they are the reality. I think we are entitled to judge our friends more rigorously than those we regard as our opponents. The point is that we hope we can influence the policies of those who still share with us many political ideals.

My concerns about South African sanctions are threefold. First, they seem to play into the hands of the USSR, and I fear that anything in Africa that is good for the USSR is bad for the West. I am very sorry to see that the noble Lord, Lord George-Brown, has taken his name off the list because I believe that he had been going to add the considerable authority of his voice by saying, very much more eloquently than I can, something to this effect.

Secondly, will sanctions be practical and effective in South Africa? Sanctions do not have a very good record. If they are not effective, the United Nations will lose face, and some people might say that it has not got a great deal of face to lose anyway. Thirdly, this kind of outside pressure has a nasty habit of obeying what another of my noble friends has called "Ferrers' Law", which is to say that anything you do has exactly the opposite effect to what you intended. By analogy, I think one might say that our efforts after the Declaration of Independence by Rhodesia have probably done more to consolidate Mr. Smith and to emasculate the potential opposition, which might have been more easy to deal with, than almost any other single step which has been taken. I am not saying that in a spirit of criticism: I am merely saying it in a spirit of recognition of the realities. I do not intend to say anything more about Southern Rhodesia because we shall have a full debate on this on Monday. But I shall be sorry if we sever the many links and common interests we have with South Africa as a result of what will happen if we try to impose the sanctions which are now being proposed.

While we are in that continent, I should like to ask one question in connection with economic aid, which is referred to in the gracious Speech and to which the noble Lord referred. The Government should not, I think, under-rate the sense of outrage which many people in this country have felt at the news that their money is being handed out to the régime in Mozambique. Here is a country which is harbouring and directing a major terrorist campaign against what many of us still regard as a friendly country. What, therefore, I ask, are the criteria for giving loans of this kind? We call them loans, but I should think that the chance of them being repaid is a pretty slim one. So why and how do we choose those to whom we are going to hand out these gifts, which is what I believe they are? We used to hear the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, talking from the Dispatch Box about "sacro-egoismo". I was never quite sure what it meant or, indeed, what language it was in, but I think he meant that the Government were motivated by enlightened self-interest. He was actually talking about negotiations with the oil companies, but it does not really matter. I should like to suggest that this is a perfectly respectable policy to follow when we are dispensing aid. We have plenty of friends who would repay us with support and gratitude and warm feeling. I doubt very much if we shall get any such rewards from handing out money to Mozambique.

The question of aid to those who are well disposed towards us was brought home to me by a recent visit, when I and a number of other noble Lords were guests of the Moroccan Government. It is a heart-warming, but regrettably rather rare, experience these days to find a country which sincerely and passionately wants to strengthen its links with this country. They, too, may wish to do this for reasons of self-interests, but I do not think they are any the worse for that. One particular lesson we learned from this trip is, I think, of wider interest. Here is a friendly country which wishes to strengthen its cultural links and in particular wishes to expand the facilities for learning the English language. So here is one instance, I believe, where the work of the British Council could well be expanded rather than contracted. Here again, I need not pursue this point, because my old friend, the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, tells me that he is going to raise this point in the Cross-Bench debate on 23rd November when we shall have a full opportunity to discuss the Berrill Report.

I must avoid following the noble Lord into a tour d'horizon, but I hope that for one moment I may nip across the Atlantic to a colony which, unlike a number of other colonies has always paid for itself—well, we have not got very many, but we have one or two and most of them are very expensive. I am referring to the Falkland Islands. I believe one of the noble Lords behind me is going to refer to this later on in the debate. Here we have 2,000 ruggedly independent British citizens who are in a very nervous state that they are going to be sold down the river. Nobody, even one of my other noble friends, could possibly describe the Argentine Government as an outstandingly liberal, democratic, tolerant régime. I should like to ask the Government whether we accepted without demur the statement put out by the Argentine Foreign Office which included at the end the remarkable statement:
"These negotiations are framed within the Resolutions of the United Nations according to which attention is to be paid to the interests of the Islanders and not to their wishes or consent".
Do we accept that, and, if not, have we complained?—because it is a fact that there are economic developments waiting to go forward in that part of the world; there is an ample harvest of seaweed which is badly needed by a prosperous company in this country, there are prospects of offshore oil resources in those turbulent oceans, and there are enormous potentials for fish.

Here, I can welcome unequivocally statements in the noble Lord's speech and in the gracious Speech, if by "seeking reform of the Common Fisheries Policy" they mean that we shall stand firm in pointing out to our allies in the EEC that we are now in a different ball game from that which we negotiated when we originally entered. Do they mean that we shall point out that we have lost out more in our distant waters as a result of the 200-mile limit than almost any other nation, but that, potentially, we have control over larger resources around the Continent of Europe than any of our other partners and must protect our industry by insisting that we have a fair share of them? I hope very much that is what is meant by that comment in the Queen's Speech.

I personally felt that we were foolish to involve ourselves in a legal wrangle with the Icelanders when it was perfectly clear that in the end the actions which they were taking would be legalised and that we should have to learn to live with them. Now, as far as we are concerned, the boot is potentially somewhat on the other foot.

We should note with approval the firm line which the Minister is taking in his negotiations with the EEC. I wish that we could say the same about fishery protection which is an issue that I am somewhat inclined to bang on about, for which I apologise. Can it really be true that we are to order two more of these trawlers—£3 million worth of last war-designed, antiquated, single screw, 16 knot trawlers which cannot carry a helicopter? If we do that shall we not be perpetrating a mistake and missing an opportunity? If that is a means of propping up the Hall Russell part of British Shipbuilders, I sincerely think that we are missing an opportunity of establishing an industry which would be of great value to all the nations of the world who will have the problem of policing their 200-mile zones.

We have a design in this country which has been proven and sold to the Mexican Government with great success, great speed and for much less money. The larger version of this vessel has been offered to us in this country but it has so far been turned down. I now hear that this ship is to be built with German assistance in a Danish yard for use by the Danes. Would not this be a marvellous opportunity for the British shipbuilding industry to establish a new type of vessel with enormous export potential which will be needed by every nation which has a sea coast?

My Lords, once again I have come back to the defence issues with which I began my speech. Recently, we were privileged to hear a high ranking British officer in NATO say that Britain was neglecting her maritime strategy, pointing out that, historically, we have succeeded whenever we have paid attention to our traditional maritime role. I have explained why I believe that to be true today. Many of us believe that that is not the only aspect of defence which we are neglecting, but it is, perhaps, the most serious. I sincerely hope that this country is about to emerge from its industrial and financial doldrums. Our friends in NATO will be looking to us for some tangible evidence that we intend to play our full part in our collective defence. If we fail to do that, I cannot see how we can claim our place in the international councils where, I agree with the noble Lord, we have a great deal to offer.

4.35 p.m.

My Lords, as this debate is, by tradition, in the nature of a broad survey or, as the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts—who I understand has had to leave us for a moment to deal with Foreign Office business—observed, a tour d'horizon, I propose to confine myself to a few remarks of a very general nature.

First of all, defence. Here I repeat what I said on 27th July last, namely, that the really important thing now is the way in which the doctrine of flexible response, as it is called, which is, of course, sensible enough as a doctrine, is actually being carried out in practice by NATO. That raises, among other things, not only the continuing desirability of constructing some "credible" conventional forward defence in Germany, and particularly in the North German plain, based on the production in common, if possible, of the latest type of modern defensive weapons, but also our attitude towards the neutron bomb, a subject which was raised during Question Time today, and above all perhaps, our attitude towards the Cruise missile, both as a theatre weapon and in relation to the possible replacement of our own strategic nuclear force—a decision which I am assured by all the experts cannot be delayed for more than about two years from now, in view of the time required to get it constructed if necessary.

On none of those matters is the Government's policy at all clear. It may be that they have a policy, but it certainly has not been revealed to us. Certainly the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, did not provide any clue in his reply to my Unstarred Question at the end of last July. He merely suggested that we should have a debate on these very important issues in the autumn—a suggestion echoed by the noble Lord, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal. Indeed, if the noble Lord would listen for a moment, he echoed the suggestion that we should have an early debate. So far I have not heard of any arrangements for such a debate, but I trust that we shall have one before Christmas. Let me, therefore, in anticipation of it, say a few words about the importance of the Cruise missile.

On the face of it that weapon seems very well suited to European purposes. It is very small, adaptable, mobile, cheap and difficult to intercept. I believe that rivals have recently queried that last capability, but nevertheless I think that it is very difficult to intercept. Nor should it be beyond the technical capacity of Western European industry to produce. It can, of course, be fitted with either a nuclear or conventional warhead. Deployed in large numbers in Western Germany it could, therefore, suitably take the place of a number of fighter bombers based on vulnerable airfields and certainly of many of the existing rather vulnerable tactical nuclear weapons. Maybe, for certain purposes, the guidance would, in the absence of the United States, have to depend on some European satellite. However, there seems no reason to suppose that the Americans, even in 10 years' time, would not wish the Europeans to defend themselves. So I suggest that they could if necessary, supply the remedy for this particular deficiency.

Apart from such tactical use, the Cruise missile undoubtedly could, in default of general disarmament, also have a strategic role. For with its very adequate range it could, if necessary, be launched at distant targets not only from the ground, well behind the lines, but from submarines, thus replacing the existing British, and indeed French, underwater deterrents which will, as I have said, be becoming obsolescent in a few years from now.

Therefore, it is with some concern that we hear that President Carter may be preparing to accept limitations on the Cruise missile, which might affect its European rôle, in return for some Soviet concession on the number and capacity of other strategic nuclear weapons, or even possibly, although it is doubtful, in return for some real advance, however unlikely, in the negotiations at Geneva.

What, therefore, I should like to ask the Government—though I imagine that their only reply will, as usual, be to the effect that this is a very delicate matter which can be approached with profit only in a general debate that may never happen—is whether they agree that the Cruise missile has certain marked advantages from the point of European defence, and whether they are satisfied that President Carter will take them into consideration before accepting any limitations on the Cruise missile in the course of his SALT talks with the Russians.

The only other point I should like to raise in connection with defence is respectfully to inquire what has happened to the European Programme Group which, as we all know, was set up with a flourish of trumpets some two years ago with the avowed object of considering the production in common of certain modern armaments by the European members of the North Atlantic Alliance, including the French. Has this body produced anything in the way of a report or reports, and have such reports been considered by the respective Ministers of Defence? If that is not the intention, what is the European Programme Group supposed to be doing? Cannot we be told? Is it true, as is suggested by some, that it has dropped into third gear because of political developments in France? I really think that we are now entitled to some answers to these very pertinent questions.

On foreign affairs, it will not, I am sure, surprise noble Lords if I concentrate on something which, whatever the nation in its present mood may think, is the most important of all our problems, namely, the future of the European Community. From SALT we are excluded. On MBFR progress after all can result only from some basic agreement between the super Powers. In NATO such influence as we have—and this point was dealt with by the noble Lord, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal—has no doubt been diminished by the recent cuts, and it may be that it will be further diminished by prospective cuts, though I think that the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, said that these prospective further cuts may not be applied. I do not know whether I correctly interpreted his meaning, but perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, will tell us whether that is so when he winds up the debate, because it is a very important matter.

In Belgrade few seem to think that any real progress is likely or even possible, whatever our hopes may be. A year ago I said that in default of some real progress in Vienna, the whole enormous document that was signed in Helsinki two and a half years ago would not, in the long run, be worth the paper on which it was written. I still believe that that is so. In the Middle East our influence, at any rate on the Arab-Israeli confrontation, is almost non-existent. The North-South dialogue is, of course, all-important, but it is only as a member of the Community that we can there carry any particular weight. I believe that that point was brought out by the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts.

Rhodesia is a pain in the neck, and anyhow we are discussing it next Monday. Only in the construction of Europe can we now, as a nation, play any notable or decisive role in the general progress of events. Yet in spite of the rather complacent remarks by the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts—and I say this in only a slightly critical spirit—it is a role which the Government seem determined not to play. On Europe, their whole attitude is negative and defensive. Certainly we are in the Community now and, as they admit, it would be pretty disastrous to get out, even though a large number of their supporters would like nothing better. But from what they say our chief, and indeed our sole objective at least, if I may go on the letter from the Prime Minister addressed a month or two ago to the National Executive of the Labour Party—seems to be to see to it, first, that specifically British interests are, if possible, furthered by membership and, secondly, that our complete freedom of action is in no way curtailed.

The idea that the interests of the entire group of nine nation States, including our own, could be promoted by joint action is foreign to governmental thinking. For if we ever begin to contemplate a Community that might possibly be a power for good in the world—and, incidentally, by its mere existence raise the standard of living of all participants, to say nothing of developing nations—we shall be in some danger of losing some small parcel of our famous "sovereignty", and, horror of horrors, be advancing towards a dreaded federation, involving Eurobeer, butter mountains, uncontrollable juggernauts, the spy in the cab and the harmonisation of cheese. That is apparently what they think. In other words, the Government have not even begun to realise something that is necessarily inherent in continued Community membership, namely, a steady advance towards some kind of political union. I repeat, this is necessarily inherent in the whole conception.

Admittedly, such progress could result in some increasingly centralised and bureaucratic régime, but it could equally well be a democratic entity of a novel type. If they do not like this prospect, there are two alternatives. First, they can get out, which is possible if the House of Commons so decides, perhaps as a result of a new referendum, but which would certainly result in the achievement of some kind of directed or "siege" economy in this country. The other alternative would be to make the Community work properly by advancing gradually down the road indicated by Mr. Tindemans and, indeed, of late by Mr. Roy Jenkins, with, for instance, his proposals for some advance in the monetary sphere, this process being powerfully assisted by a directly elected European Assembly whose importance both the major Parties have consistently played down in order not to alarm the more stupid of their own supporters or to provide ammunition for their own Left Wing advocates of a nationally directed economy.

Anyhow, to maintain, as the Government now seem to do, that we must stay in the Community as a sort of brake, preventing it from working properly, is an untenable proposition and a dangerous one at that. I am sure that if the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, was present he would immediately protest against this statement. I just hear him protesting, "Oh, look, no, we have said that our objective would rather be to reform the Community so as to ensure its efficient working. In particular we propose to reform the Common Agricultural Policy." That is all very well. Many people, not only ourselves, would like to reform the CAP, though this can be done only by patient negotiation.

But if the Government want, above all, to make progress on this particular front, as they say they do—and after all the CAP is not by any means wholly bad from our point of view—then I can tell them one thing as a result of my four-year membership of the European Assembly and the present nominated Parliament. I am sure that an elected Assembly would be most likely to have a majority pledged to some kind of desirable reform of the CAP, which might be of great assistance to Governments, such as our own, that are, above all, desirous of achieving it. That is yet another argument for not allowing our internal political battles to prevent the elections taking place in this country at the appointed time in 1978.

In saying all that—and I am reaching the end of my few remarks—I know well enough that maybe 100 Labour Members of the House of Commons are resolved to delay these elections for as long as they can, in the possibly justified hope that even a postponement may result in their abandonment and eventually in the collapse of the whole European idea. But I trust that, even if it may result in some tension inside the Party, the Government will, during the coming few months, be able to rally the other two-thirds of their supporters to vote for their own Bill, by engendering a little enthusiasm for the concept of some ultimate political entity—which will, of course, never be the same thing as an old fashioned federation—and by abandoning their purely defensive and negative attitude towards the growth of and development towards the political union of the European Community.

But I would also hope that the Tory Opposition will bring themselves not only to vote for the very necessary guillotine—inevitable if the timetable is to be respected—but also to allow themselves the freedom to vote in accordance with their consciences on the Bill as a whole. For surely this is something which transcends ordinary Party politics? When the whole future of the nation is so obviously at stake it is, one would have thought, up to each Member of Parliament, divided in the two major Parties as they certainly are, both on questions of principle and on questions of tactics, to stand up and be counted.

My Lords, would the noble Lord kindly say whether his Party still support the statement made by Mr. Jeremy Thorpe in another place, when he said that proportional representation was more important than being ready for direct elections?

My Lords, I cannot exactly recall what Mr. Jeremy Thorpe did say. I am not sure that I would necessarily agree with him on that. It may be his view. He is entitled to it. It may be that he thinks that way, I do not know.

The essential thing is that the elections to the European Parliament should be held on the appointed date. If they are not, we shall certainly be entering into a very dangerous period and hopes of countering the effects—this is a point too—of the present recession, and notably of reducing the numbers of juvenile unemployed perhaps on the lines suggested by the Commission, by concerted European action, will receive a very serious setback and possibly—along with the whole European idea—will be ultimately consigned to the dustbin by devoted national civil servants.

If the British people still do not realise the effects on their standard of living of such dire events it is high time they did, and it is a thousand pities that the Government do not tell them. At the least we may hope that, when the crisis comes over the vote on the Government's Bill, those Members of all Parties who are genuine Europeans—and there are quite a few of them—will abandon their pathetic low profile and make vigorous propaganda for the cause in which they believe and which they have so largely allowed, I am afraid, to go by default. If they do, quite a number of waverers will probably conclude that they have had the best of the argument, and let us hope that they will act accordingly.

4.53 p.m.

My Lords, it is a tradition of your Lordships' House that disagreement with a colleague should not in any form erode one's respect for the person concerned. That may sound like an ominous, even sinister, introduction to a speech but such is not my intention.

My Lords, on the contrary, I am about to lavish praise on my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts for having developed the Government's foreign policy, which sounded in language, in form, and in general policy familiar to me. Indeed, I heard a speech of a similar character as far back as 1911. It so happened that the late Sir Winston Churchill, when he was President of the Board of Trade, was generous enough to appoint me as a representative of the Scottish workers on one of the first Trade Boards. This required me to leave my habitat in Glasgow and come to London several times in the course of the two years during which I remained a member of that body. I used to occupy my spare time when in London by visiting the other place—those common people down the corridor. I listened to the debates. They were most interesting. I can even recall having heard Sir Charles Dilke addressing the House on the subject of the Adjournment. I never could understand why they required to have a debate on an adjournment. You should just mention the adjournment and then terminate the proceedings. However, I learned more about it subsequently.

I am bound to say that my noble friend, who has had such vast experience of foreign affairs since coming to your Lordships' House, and who has become a favourite with his colleagues, made what I thought a rather disappointing speech. In fact I am bound to say—I cannot get any other words at the moment for I have not been consulting a dictionary—that his speech seemed to me to be completely divorced from reality. To take an example, he referred to Mr. Brezhnev, who bosses the show in the USSR and who actually declared, in the course of a recent speech, that the USSR was now prepared to agree to abolish nuclear tests. My noble fiend regarded that as quite an achievement, as progress. The Russians, having tested everything under the sun, over the sun, above and around the sun, the moon and the stars also, do not require to trouble any more about tests. They have tested almost everything, so we have nothing to thank Mr. Brezhnev for. We do not regard what he said as a welcome gift at all, or in any form as a contribution to disarmament.

I am bound to say on this subject of disarmament, on which my noble friend almost focused attention, that I have listened to speeches on disarmament for about 70 years or so. I can recall the speeches that were made when, long before that organisation was established, it was proposed to invent a kind of League of Nations. The same language was used —"peace and security", "prosperity for people depends upon disarmament". In order to prove it, we had a Great War. Incidentally, it is just as well that I should mention that we were completely unprepared for it. If I may offer a word of advice, never be unprepared for any action that you propose to take. Think it out carefully; consider the consequences also.

We were completely unprepared for it. Indeed, even in the Second World War, in spite of the admonitions of Sir Winston Churchill in those memorable speeches to which we listened in the other place, we were also unprepared, and, if I may say so with respect to my noble friend and the Government, we are still unprepared.

What ought we to be focusing attention on? Foreign affairs? That impels me to make this observation: my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts might very well have been elevated to a higher and more exalted position. I think that we could have afforded to have a Foreign Secretary in your Lordships' House, and I should have been delighted if my noble friend had been so elevated. But it did not happen. However, we have, if not a Foreign Secretary, then an ex-Foreign Secretary in this House. He is to follow me in today's debate, and I want to say, if I may, without any attempt at exaggerated language, that he was one of the best Foreign Secretaries of this century. He is the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel.

It might be an excellent idea if our own Foreign Secretary—I would not say this of my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts—who is new and a bit of an apprentice, entered into some consultation with the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel. It might prevent him from indulging in language which is very familiar, such as the patter like "the cat sits on the mat" and all that copy book stuff. Quite frankly, I am becoming a little bored by it, and I do not want to hear any more of it. Apparently somebody does not want to hear any more of me. I will bear that with my customary fortitude.

If we want realism, I should say we had it the other day, on television. There was that massive demonstration of mighty military strength and, in addition, the carefully chosen words of the Commander in Chief from the rostrum:
"If anybody outside this country considers aggression, we will give a very good account of ourselves".
Of course they could! But Russia does not need to go to war; it gets all it wants without conflict. We must face that inescapable fact. What have we got on our side? We have NATO, and NATO is not as weak as is sometimes suggested. Far from that being the case, it is potentially very strong; it could become stronger.

I noted the observations of the noble Lord, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, who quoted from a speech which we heard last night from the General in command of the Northern Flank of NATO. It was a remarkable speech, which demonstrated to us two matters which are of the utmost importance. One is that the people of the Scandinavian countries, particularly Norway and Denmark, are intensely interested in defence because they are concerned about their security, and because they are in the neighbourhood of the USSR, which is to their disadvantage. And anything could happen. Moreover, it is of the utmost importance that we should apply ourselves more effectively to maritime needs in that area. Perhaps that is more important than building up our numerical strength in military manpower.

That brings me to a matter which has become quite an important topic recently; namely, the improvement in the conditions of our people in the Services. I had something to do with this myself when I happened to be Minister of Defence, when I was able, with the assistance of the Cabinet of the day, to increase not only emoluments but pensions. I was glad to do it to the tune of £55 million, which was quite a lot of money at that time. What is the actual position? Our estimates for 1977–78 are in the region of £;6,000 million. That is a lot of money. The people in the Services deserve to have their emoluments increased; of course they do. There can be no question about that in my mind, or, I hope, in the minds of any of my colleagues. The services ought to be on as high, or as decent, a level as those engaged in industry. This applies in particular to those now engaged in active service—for such it is—in Ulster, encountering dangers almost every minute of the day.

But if we are to increase emoluments, to what extent can we go? Even if we brought them up to the level that is associated with the Government's decision on a 10 per cent, increase, that would mean probably £400 million or £500 million, and if we brought them up to the level existing in industry in general—not even among the skilled workers, but among the unskilled receiving from £40 to £60 a week—it would mean probably at least £500 million. And the question is: can we afford it?

I wish we could; and if we could, we ought to do it, without any hesitation. But what is the alternative? I am going to suggest the alternative. I am sorry to have to do this. I regard it as realism. There is no nonsense about this. It will not please everybody; I cannot expect that it would. But I am going to say it, nevertheless. Here I want to refer to my noble friend Lord Brockway. His convictions are genuine—we understand that—although I disagree with most of them, particularly those views he holds on the subject of defence and of foreign affairs. But they are his opinions, and I respect them because of himself, and not because of his opinions. It is quite possible to occupy a position of that kind. He asked a Question today as to whether the Government, or the United States, or the allies in general had in contemplation the production of a neutron bomb. It was obvious that he was opposed to it, and it seemed to me that the member of the Government who replied was also opposed to it: the matter was being discussed. It was the usual reply that we get. We are told, for instance, that it is "under consideration"; or "under review"; or "under constant review". But I do not want it to be under constant review. I am going to say now what I am sure will not please everybody; it cannot possibly please everybody.

I want the neutron bomb, and I shall tell your Lordships why. If we are to deter Russia from taking action—and Russia could take conventional action at any moment, which we could not resist for long; make no mistake about it. I am sorry about it, but we could not resist it for long—we would have to use tactical nuclear weapons such as they are, such as exist, such as we could obtain from the United States of America, upon whom we depend to a very large extent for our security. And let us make no mistake about that. We would have to do that. If we have to deter Russia from taking any action, the stronger we are the better, and as we cannot be stronger in conventional matters, we must be strong in nuclear affairs.

I cannot draw any other conclusion, after witnessing on the television the other day the massive demonstration and being aware that many of the weapons were not exposed to the public, not even to the Russian people themselves. By the way, I take note of what my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts said: that we cannot leave matters always to Governments and politicians; we have to consider what the people want. The people—where? In Russia? Have the people in Russia any say at all? Incidentally, we are almost approaching that situation in this country—almost afraid to express opinions because they happen to be disagreeable to the Government, or even to the Opposition, or those in authority in Opposition. That is the situation. Therefore, if we are to promote security, if we are to deter aggression, we have got to be strong. Strong in what—conventional weapons? We know we cannot be, not even with the aid of the United States of America. After all is said and done, if there were a conflict in Europe or on the Northern flank—and it is more likely to happen on the Northern flank than in mid-Europe—are we to understand that we should have the capacity and mobility to transport vast numbers of men to Europe in order to assist in that situation? It is impossible; it cannot be done. It would probably be too little and, in any event, too late. We cannot afford it. So, whether we like it or not—and I do not like it—we have to face the need for developing our nuclear strength; and when questions are asked in your Lord-ships' House and outside, and in the other place, about abandoning the Polaris missile submarines with their potential missile strength, I deplore it. It is too little. We need more of that—much more of that.

Then I come to what I regard as just as important a point as the one that I have just sought to develop: it is about manpower. It is a remarkable fact (I should have thought that this would be well known, but apparently it is not) that, out of the £6,000 million-odd that we estimate that we shall spend on defence in the current year—we are being asked to spend more, but we are told we cannot afford it, for our economy does not permit of it, which may be quite true—half is spent on personnel and less than half is spent on equipment. How are we to remedy that defect? The obvious remedy is to introduce conscription, as they have in Europe. My noble friend Lord Gladwyn—I can call him a friend as the Liberal/Labour pact is still in operation (it has been a bit emasculated, almost eroded, but it is still there; let us leave it at that) and therefore I can quarrel with my noble friend if he does not mind—talked about proportional representation and direct elections. My Lords, these are no longer realistic issues at all. The realistic issue is: can we promote our security? Have we the strength to do it? That is plain enough.

My Lords, will the noble Lord allow me to interrupt him? I have been following the noble Lord's argument with great attention. As I understand it, his thesis is that a defence against the Warsaw Pact forces, if it were ever necessary to defend ourselves with conventional weapons only, would be impossible; the Russians would win. Therefore, the only way to protect ourselves is to have recourse to the nuclear bomb. That is his thesis. If so, then why should we have any conventional defence at all?

My Lords, that calls for an ambassadorial answer, and I am not going to answer it. I am putting the point in relation to Europe, and all the benefit that derives from being associated with Europe. We have had the referendum. Whether there was a bit of arm-twisting or whether there was a bit of chicanery, I do not know, but we have had it. Europe is there, and we are members of Europe; let it pass. But what about the military strength of Europe? That is the question to which my noble friend should occasionally address himself. I say the same to the noble Baroness opposite, who was worried about whether we were going to be bothered by proportional representation. Let me tell her something. You are going to get proportional representation, whether you like it or not, one of these days. After all, it is the essence of democracy if it is properly and wisely used.

Now I come back to my point. In Europe they have conscription, and it does not cost as much as it is costing us. I say we should have conscription. I will tell your Lordships what we want. We want more reserves and, in saying that, I come back to a subject upon which I have ventured to address your Lordships' House on many occasions. I am not satisfied with the number that we have. We have not reached our target of 10,000 in the TAVR. We have got about 6,000. That is not enough. We were told last night by somebody who understands the problem and who comes from an area where they do understand the problem that everybody in the country aged from 16 to 60 or 65, or even 93, as in my particular case, should be intensely interested in defence because we must have something in order to deter aggression, and we will not deter it by indulging in a lot of nonsensical talk, through the United Nations or any other international organisation, of détente and all the rest of it. We have been doing that for the last 70 years, and we have failed. We are still talking about disarmament, and we shall go on talking about disarmament; but it may be that one of these fine days there will be a conflict, and where shall we be then?

That is the conclusion I draw, my Lords. I do not expect everybody to agree with me, but that is how I feel about it. I know that my own Party could almost expel me for indulging in utterances of this kind—not that that would matter now. They do not need me. I expel them, so they had better be careful. I will leave it at that. These are things in which I believe and in which my Front Bench should also believe. I say to my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts, with all his capacity, capabilities, ability and understanding of foreign affairs, that he has forgotten to deal with the real issue. Have we built up a deterrent which will keep the Russians from playing any more tricks? This is what your Lordships' House should be considering, but we are not.

May I add one further word? About two years ago we initiated (I had something to do with it) an All-Party Defence Study Group, and we have had some excellent meetings. We have even had people from Russia to talk to us. I was told we would never get anybody from Russia to come to talk to us, but we managed to get them; and one of these days we will get them from China, even, and from Japan, to come and talk to us. I want the House to agree to something, if it will. I want recognition—not for me, but for the group. We are an unofficial group. We are sometimes even in the invidious position of having some of our Members, who are very generous, out of pocket in order to entertain guests who come to us to speak. That sort of thing ought not to happen. As in the other place, where they have an official committee, so we ought to have an official committee backed by the Ministry of Defence—and I want my noble friend Lord Winterbottom to answer that question, even if I am not here to listen to his answer. I will read it tomorrow. I ask for that. In other words, I am asking for recognition, and I assure Members of your Lordships' House that I am not asking for a closed shop. We do not debar anybody from coming to our meetings. We do not even ask them for a contribution. All we ask is that the Ministry of Defence should recognise us as a group which is doing its best to arouse an interest in defence in order that we may be able to say, with truth and with realism, that we are doing our best to promote our security.

5.19 p.m.

My Lords, for many years—more than the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, or I would care to remember—we have faced each other across the Floors of Parliament in debate, officially on opposite sides but usually, I am bound to say, in matters of foreign affairs and defence, in agreement. But today I am particularly happy to follow the noble Lord because he has given to your Lordships the most convincing evidence that he has once more returned to robust health. He has displayed the same humour, the same audacity, the same courage, the same originality as before his temporary illness. I do not envy anyone who tries to abolish the noble Lord. Happily, he is beyond reform.

My Lords, may I return the kind compliment that he made to me by following his theme that there is nothing more important to the life of Britain and the Western democracies than the relative strengths between the Warsaw Pact and the NATO Alliance. During the 1950s and 1960s, the West relied for its defence on the deterrent; and it worked. It was composed of a rough balance of strength on the ground on the Eastern frontier of West Germany, a modest naval programme of building and an overwhelming nuclear power. That, during those years of the Cold War, and afterwards in the war that was less cold, kept the peace. There were those who argued that the thin trip wire was enough because it was, in fact, the nuclear bomb which would deter. Noble Lords will remember that, from that doctrine of the trip wire, we gradually came to what was known as "flexible response" which was designed to give some elbow room before the use of nuclear weapons; and, by and large, everybody seemed rather happier to live with that.

A year or so ago, as the noble Lord and my noble friend Lord Strathcona have recalled, the NATO Alliance agreed that the discrepancy between the Forces of the Warsaw Pact and of the NATO Alliance were such that the Alliance ought to add to the military budget at the rate of 3 per cent. per year. At roughly the same time, the Inter-Party Parliamentary Committee here agreed that NATO was becoming dangerously under-manned and under-equipped. With the exception of the United States, after that resolution of the Alliance nothing was done; while the Soviets constantly increased their rearmament. The West virtually marked time with the exception of the improvement of some of our defensive weapons—valuable but not, in a conflict, decisive. The result, because of the fact that NATO was unwilling to rearm, was that we virtually returned to the trip wire policy; but it is a trip wire in a very different military scenario.

If we take the tactical nuclear weapon, the intermediate nuclear missile or the inter-continental ballistic missile, East and West are now roughly in balance in each category and in all nuclear weapons. Even if there was a complete ban today—and the noble Lord is right, of course—there would be a complete overkill both in the hands of the United States and in the hands of the Soviet Union. But the balance now in nuclear strength is very different from what it was in the years I have described. The interesting point is this: it is the Russians who, in these new circumstances of nuclear equality, have decided to go all out for superiority in conventional arms; in quantity of manpower, in quantity of tanks and armour and at sea, of course, concentrating upon the submarine.

Why, my Lords? I believe the Russian reasoning to be as follows. They have argued that with parity in nuclear weapons the deterrent has become less credible, that nations are unlikely to commit mutual suicide, the only options now being available being three stages of escalating annihilation. They have concluded that it is very likely that this will be unacceptable; but they do not rule out war. They know that war might happen by mistake. In their own jargon, they say it might come through a revanchist Germany and they know that in pursuit of their own political ends, they might wish to blackmail, and war could result.

The Russian Communist ethic in relation to the use of force was lately described by the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as follows:
"We do not desire to use force but we cannot allow the lack of it to stand in the way of our political aims."
The Berlin wall, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Angola, and Ethiopia—they are such political aims; and a country of Western Europe could be a political aim. Therefore, the Soviet Union, having concluded that war is possible, are proceeding to put themselves in the best position to win it, and to win it quickly, before the nuclear holocaust could start.

Where does that reasoning lead them? It leads them directly to the Warsaw Pact and NATO front, where the allies are apparently unwilling to match the Russian effort either in divisions or equipment; and it leads them straight to the Northern approaches to the Atlantic where the NATO anti-submarine interception defences are too thin by far to secure it. NATO chiefs themselves describe the Russian rearmament as far in excess of anything needed for self-defence. It is. We saw some of it at the 60th anniversary only the other day. It is formidable strength, far in excess of anything necessary for self-defence.

My submission to the Government is this. I am not so concerned as is the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, about nuclear strength. We have it. No disarmament agreement is going to reduce it below the level of overkill. He can be quite satisfied about that. My submission is that it is now imperative to add to the NATO Forces according to the agreed plan for an annual increase for a number of years of 3 per cent. in expenditure. I will not attempt to quantify the additions. The number of divisions: possibly three, in addition to what there are now. The number of extra tanks: our tank production is high. Some of our customers might have to wait but we could at least equip ourselves. Aircraft and helicopters with missiles to intercept and kill submarines: it is within our capacity to produce them. I am not asking for anything extravagant. Because the defensive weapon now has the superiority—and I think the military will agree—over the offensive, I do not think anything more marginal than what I have proposed is necessary—and that is not for Britain but for the whole of the Atlantic alliance. It is within the capacity, undoubtedly, of the allies if we have the will.

I could not quite follow the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, this afternoon in whether he is saying that some of the cuts we intend to make are not going to be made or whether there are some additional things in terms of defensive weapons that are going to be done. At least I make this appeal to Her Majesty's Government: I hope they will abandon the position, which has always been untenable, that because some of our allies spend a smaller proportion of their gross national product on defence than we do, therefore we should move down to their level. I ask the Government to do exactly the opposite; to take the lead, to put some additional strength into NATO and then ask our allies to come up to the level which we and the United States have assumed. Unless we do that we lay ourselves wide open to political blackmail by force.

Of course we must pursue détente; it is not in the nature of the democracies to do otherwise. But the Government need not fear that the Russians will find reinforcement of our Forces inconsistent with détente. Of course they will not. They are nothing if not realists, and my noble friend quoted Sir Winston Churchill. The Russians will not alter their policy one jot because we re-arm, but it might deter them from a military adventure if we do, and we have to remove the temptation from the Russian High Command to try an offensive on land in Europe. I trust therefore that the British Government and our allies and partners will realise that we do not have much time in hand.

As I cannot be here on Monday I hope the House will forgive me if I comment on Southern Africa. I am glad that the Government vetoed economic sanctions against South Africa and I find all the Foreign Secretary's arguments in that respect valid. Sanctions against South Africa would harden obstinacy and the victims would be the whites and blacks who are working for evolutionary change. I am bound to say, however, that I wish the South African Government would be less insensitive because they make it almost impossible, even for their friends, to help them.

If I were present on Monday I would vote for the Rhodesian Order, and I will explain why. I do not know what will happen to sanctions in 1978—I hope we can get rid of them—but this I do know: that it is impossible to remove them in the middle of active negotiations for a constitutional settlement in Rhodesia. This is not the moment to do it. I now expect in Rhodesia a pause while a Government appraisal is made of Lord Carver's mission. I am sure the Government wish for an honourable settlement and of course I accept all that the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, said today in that respect. But if it is to be achieved, I suggest that in three respects the British approach will need to be changed and modified.

First—and this can be done only by the Foreign Secretary himself—he must convince the Europeans in Rhodesia and the followers of Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole that the reported statement that British policy in Rhodesia is the same as Russian policy does not reflect his real point of view. It cannot do so. The Soviet's policy in Rhodesia is exactly the same as it is in Ethiopia, which was described by my noble friend Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal; that is, to foment tribal war and create anarchy in that area if they can. That is not our policy. Our policy is a matter of justice and a matter of finding an agreement internal to Rhodesia which all Rhodesians can support and sustain.

Secondly, I am convinced it is necessary to scrap the original proposal that the new Zimbabwe security forces should be based on the guerrilla fighters. The essence of a police force is loyalty to the civic power. The essence of an army is loyalty to the Head of State and the Government, of whatever State that is. The guerillas operating in Mozambique are loyal to no one and to nothing, unless it be the destructive and anarchic philosophy of their Cuban and Russian sponsors. On that basis I am sure the Rhodesian security force must go and be replaced by another.

Thirdly, the constitutional settlement—I am glad to see that Dr. Owen said this in the House of Commons yesterday—cannot be imposed from without. Too much influence in the early stages of negotiation has been given to outsiders; it is understandable to consult the frontline Presidents because if there is to be a cease-fire they could, if they would, underwrite it. But the Presidents themselves must really not be tempted to interfere in the Constitution-making inside Rhodesia. That is no help to anybody. The Europeans and the followers of the Bishop and Mr. Sithole are emphatic that any settlement reached must be contrived by Rhodesians, in Rhodesia, for Rhodesians, and they are right. If the Government will in the next round of talks modify their approach in these ways I believe that a chance of settlement remains and, like all noble Lords, I profoundly hope that it comes.

5.36 p.m.

My Lords, it is with extreme regret that, due to a long-standing engagement, I shall be unable to remain until the end of the debate. I ask for the dispensation of the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, and I assure noble Lords that my leaving early in no way implies discourtesy to your Lordships' Chamber. I shall read the report of the rest of the debate in Hansard with great interest. I reiterate what the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, said about the House of Lords' Defence Study Group which is something that can only do good.

Is it not extraordinary that on rereading the defence debates of 1975 and 1976, and the last one, in May of this year, what many noble Lords and I said then would be equally effective this afternoon? Alas! however, there is one difference on each occasion and this difference occurs with monotonous regularity. It is in regard to conventional forces. It is that we are continually getting weaker while the potential enemy is getting progressively stronger so that the gap becomes wider. This situation cannot continue for ever, otherwise—this has been said umpteen times—we shall find ourselves in the very near future completely defenceless and impotent. I feel, however, that if we continue talking in this Chamber and stating this fact perhaps it may be like water on a stone and some effect will eventually transpire.

In the last few weeks we have on many occasions been told that the economic situation is improving, and on 12th May last Lord Winterbottom hoped that the economy would improve and that therefore we should have more freedom of movement; and this afternoon the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, confirmed this. I hope that when Lord Winter-bottom replies to the debate he will be able to say not only that the present cuts will be restored but that when we have the next Defence Budget it can even be increased.

Anybody who saw the "Panorama" programme on defence the other day must realise the near desperate situation that not only we are in but the whole of the NATO Alliance. It is positively terrifying and frightening to think that the Egyptians would not let Her Majesty's submarine "Dreadnought" through the Suez Canal recently and that we could do nothing about it. Perhaps it is because I have a suspicious nature, but I do not believe that the reason given was the right one—that there might be a danger of radioactive leakage. One noble Lord who is present today and myself have both been in a nuclear submarine and we have not been radioactivated.

I leave noble Lords to make out what they will about the Suez Canal and I turn briefly to the subject of the nuclear deterrent. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, who alas is not in his place at the moment, last Tuesday wanted an assurance from Her Majesty's Government that we would not replace our Polaris force in the 1990s, and I have no doubt that he will state his case again when he speaks today. However, like the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, I am afraid that I must disagree with him entirely. It will take 13 years to replace the present force, which means that we have at the moment the barest two years in which to decide what to do, so in reality the early 1990s are only so far away as 1980. There are two forces supposedly open to us: the first one would be a new force of at least five nuclear powered submarines, each carrying 16 ballistic missiles with multiple independently-targeted re-entry vehicles, or up to 17 nuclear powered submarines carrying at least 24 air-breathing cruise missiles.

Whichever method we choose, the choosing cannot be taken lightly because if NATO and we still exist, our very being and livelihood will still depend on this. We have to have a deterrent because, alas the world is a very imperfect place. The noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, said that he would love to see everybody disarm—and so would I if everybody did it. But I was also happy to hear him say that we must never disarm if there is any possible danger to our security. So when our present Polaris fleet is obsolete, we must have a replacement force ready, a replacement that will be an even greater and stronger deterrent than the present one due to countervailing technical defence improvements produced by the Warsaw Pact countries.

We must find the money for this replacement however expensive it may be, and I feel very strongly that it should be an all-Party decision, irrespective of whatever type of Government we may have in the next few years. I await with much interest to know what Lord Winter-bottom's thoughts are on these points that I have raised this afternoon, particularly in view of the fact that we have to keep up our NATO commitments, as set out in the gracious Speech, without which not only our survival but that of the entire civilised Western World would be in extreme jeopardy. It is interesting to know that now or, if not, in the near future, Germany will be the No. 2 country in NATO instead of us, and it is interesting to know that the Germans have a very old proverb. I quoted this in the last defence debate. It is as follows:
Defence is not everything, but everything without defence is nothing.

5.42 p.m.

My Lords, Her Majesty's Government's resolve to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and the improvement of relations between the United Kingdom and all the countries in the area, prompts me to welcome the impending high-level contacts between the British and the present Israeli Government. I hope that the Foreign Secretary may shortly meet Mr. Moshe Dayan, his opposite number in Jerusalem, having failed to see him both during his recent trip to the Arab Middle East and at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. I look forward with real hope to the meeting, 10 days hence, in London between the Prime Minister and Mr. Begin. Mr. Begin heads a broadly based Coalition Government of moderate as well as fundamental forces, and enjoys, to an increasing extent, the support and sympathies of world Jewry.

These talks may, I trust, not only help to allay some serious misconceptions of Israel's basic as well as current attitudes, but perhaps go a long way towards reasserting that policy of real evenhandedness to which the gracious Speech implicitly refers. To put it candidly, there seems to be a feeling in Whitehall, Westminster, as well as Brussels, that Israel may be perhaps too intransigent; that she may be dragging her feet; spurning tentative advances; engaging in procedural wrangles; shirking the issue of refugees, the interests and rights—inalienable and legitimate—of the Palestinians; rejecting the notion of a Palestinian homeland, let alone a West Bank State. But by refusing to take risks for peace, by over-reacting to provocation and succumbing to her security complex, Israel is in danger of treading, as it were, that sombre Biblical road from Samson's Pillar, through Fortress Masada, to the Armageddon Terminal.

My submission is that the evidence is very different: Israel wants peace, normal relations with all her neighbours. She no more wants to have rockets fall on her soil than she wants to retaliate on the soil of others. She wants to go to Geneva and talk to the Arabs jointly, severally and bilaterally. Mr. Begin and Mr. Dayan have said that they would be prepared to make sweeping concessions and I believe them. Of course Israeli society suffers from a complex, a trauma of security, and puts its whole trust in self-reliance. But then, my Lords, is that so surprising? The trauma of strangulation at birth dates back to that day in 1948 when five Arab neighbours fell upon her and left her to mourn more than 30,000 casualties. Thirty thousand out of a population of 600,000! It is as if the British people had to lament nearly 3 million casualties.

And self-reliance? Israel has known the worth of international guarantees. She was forsaken by the United Nations; by three Powers whose guarantee proved worthless. She has been pressed to accept the guarantees of four Powers and now there has been some talk of nine Powers. The eminent American politician, George Ball, who happens to be in London today, has eloquently argued for a guarantee by two Powers, "to save her from herself"! And others have suggested an outright defensive alliance with one Power. Perhaps, eventually, Israel might want to take up the one or the other of these guarantees; but only as a collateral. Fundamentally she feels that she must be allowed to defend her own secure borders with her own Armed Forces.

Secure borders are, and must be of paramount importance. It is often said by all kinds of people, including some moderate Arabs, that in the age of rocketry and missiles, the old concept of boundaries is obsolete. It is true that long-range rockets can be launched from hundreds of miles away against sensitive targets; but this can only be done in a fully-fledged state of war by regular Armed Forces. Such is the latest state of weaponry that any Arab irregular soldier, guerrilla, terrorist, call him what you will, needs only a day's training to launch a portable, Russian-made missile to any target within a hundred miles, and if he operates from the West Bank near the 1967 borders he could seriously impede military and civilian air and land traffic and wreak havoc with human lives.

Consider some brutal facts, my Lords: the distance between Kefar Sava—a substantial, growing town in central Israel—and the Arab village of Kalkilya is only four miles. The distance between Netanya on the coast, and the Arab centre of Tulkarem on the West Bank, is 11 miles. And the distance between the old Jordanian border and the centre of Tel Aviv is 13 miles. Imagine our unknown Arab warrior, poised for action at a spot close to the border at the nearest point to the centre of Tel Aviv. He has an embarrassment of choices: he could pinpoint and destroy the following targets: 350 schools; 1,500 kindergartens; 53 hospitals and over 900 synagogues.

What government in their senses would allow the lives of their citizens to be in such daily and nightly jeopardy? Hence Israel's insistence on the most stringent safeguards involving inspection rights and demilitarisation of the West Bank. President Sadat, perhaps the most moderate of Arab leaders, recently endorsed the idea of demilitarisation, provided that it was symmetrical. What is symmetry in this context, my Lords? The Arab confrontation States have a vast hinterland from where armies and air forces could launch attacks, regroup and relaunch second and third strikes. If President Sadat's proposal were taken literally, the Israelis would have to withdraw to a line somewhere mid-sea between Haifa and Cyprus.

If procedural wrangling means the refusal to sit down with the PLO leader-ship, it is not because the Israelis are a stiff-necked people but because it is an existential, visceral issue. However divided the PLO leaders may be, whether they are pragmatists or dogmatists, their common purpose is enshrined in the Palestinian covenant pledged to erase the Jewish State.

The pragmatists would settle for the interim solution of a sovereign Arab West Bank and Gaza as a springboard for future subversion and attack. The dogmatists or rejectionists are at least more honest and persist in their three noes: No to recognition, no to negotiation, no to peace. Of course, there is plenty of evidence of this or that PLO representative making conciliatory noises in guarded public statements abroad or in debonair asides in confidential talks with trusting visitors. But, among themselves and talking to their home front, there is no evidence of any stirrings for peace or compromise—I would say to the noble Earl opposite: I am sorry, but I do not agree with your views.

The Israelis are within their rights to reject the PLO as an official partner at the Geneva Conference table. I might recall that on the occasion of the second Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement, signed on 1st September 1975, the United States gave a specific undertaking regarding the reconvening of a future Middle East Peace Conference and United States policy towards the PLO. The document which was signed in Jerusalem by Secretary of State Kissinger and Foreign Minister Allon avers that America will not recognise or negotiate with the PLO as long as it refuses Israel's right to exist and to accept the Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. In addition, the United States promised to consult fully and seek to concert its policy and strategy on this issue with the Government of Israel at a Geneva-based conference. Israel's position is further protected by the understanding that,
"participation at a subsequent phase of the Conference of any additional State, group or organisation will require the agreement of all initial participants".
The Israelis are certainly profoundly aware of the refugees; so is world Jewry. Indeed, they know their plight today is as grave as ever. Only the other day the United Nations' flour ration for the camps was halved due to lack of funds. For 30 years, the mighty Arab nation, endowed with untold wealth and a territory equalling the whole of the Europe and the whole of Australasia put together, has failed and consistently refused to resettle the refugee population, which has swollen—

My Lords, would the noble Lord give way? Is it not true that the refugee problem was created by the bombing and gunning of these people from their homes by Jewish settlers and it is not the Arabs who should redress the evil which has been done to the Palestinians but the Polish, the Russian and the German immigrants into Palestine?

My Lords, I could not disagree more fundamentally with the noble Earl. I am in favour of bilateral talks and should be happy to discuss this with him face-to face, because I could give him weighty evidence that he is wholly wrong. I must admit that it is very difficult for any Jew to understand this state of affairs. It is difficult to imagine a similar situation befalling his community. Assuming that one day the Soviets were to allow all Jews to leave the country in one gigantic exodus, can you imagine the leaders of Israel or the Jewish communities abroad saying to the Russian Jews: "No, you must not leave. You must stay and, if need be, suffer because as long as you stay you are a living symbol of Soviet inhumanity"? That is exactly what has happened.

As for the central, crucial Palestinian issue, let me say that like so much else in the Middle East the political vocabulary is very highly charged. Take such words as "rights of the refugees", "inalienable rights", "legitimate rights", "Palestinian Homeland" and "West Bank State". Who but a barbarous racist, on first hearing, could object to those terms of humanitarian or political aspirations of a suffering people? But to the fine-tuned ears of the Israelis these words do not really mean what they say.

The Israelis, having now lived for 30 years with a war of words, know what are words of war and what are signals of compromise. In the mouths of Mr. Arafat and the moderate pragmatists they might mean a roll-back to 1967. But the phrase "legitimate rights" is a rider which, as it is undefined, could mean any amount of sweeping claims for dispossession, only opening the door to further claims. To other, slightly more exacting, pragmatists, it means a roll-back to the 1947 frontiers. Only the other day, on 29th September Mr. Zuhair Muhsin, head of the Syrian-backed Sa'iqa faction of the PLO and member of the PLO Central Committee, when stating that he was in favour of going to Geneva as part of a joint Arab delegation, added:
"The partition Resolution of 1947 is the minimal basis for what might be accepted as a final solution to the Palestinian problem … Any talk of secure boundaries should be rejected, since we can say that the secure boundaries of the proposed Palestinian State should extend as far as Jaffa".
For the dogmatists, the roll-back would end in the Mediterranean Sea. That concept is known as "the Secular Democratic State of Palestine", which is not so much a programme as a pogrom; for at its best it excludes all but first-generation Jews and at its worst it might well be a massacre. Where should the Palestinian refugees go? Where should they build their home? Surely, in the Arab world and more specifically in the historic Greater Palestine of the former British Mandate, on both sides of the Jordan. In that vast land, stretching from some agreed point on the West Bank to the Saudi frontier, that vast territory was somewhat arbitrarily partitioned in 1920 to compensate the Hashemites for the loss of one throne and the broken promise of another, and was once again partitioned in 1947.

A West Bank State, to which Israel so resolutely objects, could neither absorb the vast mass of refugees economically nor be a constructive force politically. It is bound to be a springboard for irredentist thrusts, a likely breeding ground of extremism, inviting intervention of mischievous Great Powers or scheming neighbours. On the other hand, a Palestinian entity loosely allied to Jordan or absorbed in an even larger unit would be much more realistic. There would be room for security safeguards and flexible arrangements.

There is a precedent for the more rigid conception of self-determination being subordinated to the wider interests of regional peace. When the Allied victors of the First World War re-drew the map of Europe to form successor States to the Habsburg Empire, they grouped the Southern Slays—the Serbs, Slovenes and Croats—together and also welded the Western Slays—Czechs, Slovaks and Ruthenes—into a federal State; for it was quite clear that giving full sovereignty to each of those components would have meant instant chaos, outside intervention and even war.

There are many conflicting views about a West Bank State throughout the world. There is much passion but even more ignorance. Among many voices of warning is that of Dr. Henry Kissinger, surely not a man given to extremist views. Last week he came out strongly against a West Bank State. There are indeed a great many thoughtful Arabs who, if they were free to talk, would add their own voices of doubt.

The issue, which I feel I must not shirk and which I know has caused great irritation and dismay, is that of Jewish settlements on the West Bank. I am not here to defend or to denounce but to try to delineate the problem in perspective. The political vacuum, through absence of genuine peace negotiations in the West Bank and Gaza, must tempt those who are active and seek a momentum for change. So far, fewer than 6,000 people have started skeletal settlements. It is not easy for a Government that has its mandate from a large body of fundamentalist, religious Jews to prevent some zealots from settling near the ancient shrines of Judaism. The settlements have caused controversy both inside and outside Israel. But there are those who see a distinction between the spiritual land of Israel and the State of Israel; and when Mr. Moshe Dayan says that these settlements will not stand in the way of a negotiated peace I believe him implicitly. Why, ultimately, should Jews not settle as law-abiding citizens of either an Arab entity or a Jewish-Arab condominion, just as many Arabs already live as citizens in the Israeli heartland?

It may be said that General Sharon has made many more sweeping claims, but I submit that some of his views are as typical of the Israeli consensus for Central Government policy as are, for instance, those of the Secretary of State for Energy or the Shadow Minister of Employment in relation to the central policies of their respective Parties. It is obvious that these topics will be discussed between Mr. Begin and our Prime Minister, a discussion which I hope will find an echo in Britain's foreign policy in the coming months. Great Britain has a triple role to play in the Middle East. In her own right she has a vast experience of the area and cannot evade some of the burdens of historical responsibility. As an Atlantic Power, her voice still carries weight with the United States, who remains the unquestioned main "champion" of Middle East peace. In Europe, she has a vital part to play as the Nine become increasingly influential in the area.

In my view, the Nine have lately shown a tendency to step away from America where Israel is concerned. Taken over a long period, the Dutch, the Danes, the Germans and the Luxembourgers have shown real understanding of Israel's concerns. Others have vacillated between indifference and outright hostility. Britain has steered a fair and middle course, although she has at times, perhaps, been dazzled by the stylish self-assertiveness of French diplomacy. Let us not be dazzled! There is much to admire in contemporary France, but I would rather vie with her inspiring technocrats, whose models reach far into the 21st century, than emulate her diplomats whose mentors are the purpled and grey eminences of the 17th.

What can we do? To advance the cause of peace, we should do all we can to cleanse the political atmosphere. We should stand up forcefully against economic boycott. We should denounce more courageously the vicious ostracism in fields of cultural and social endeavour by supposedly non-political bodies, such as UNESCO and the ILO. We should use our influence with Arabs, as well as Israelis, to speed up the processes that lead to negotiation, and persuade the parties that, as they are ordained to live cheek by jowl, they should learn to treat face to face. We should appeal to the enlightened self-interest of the two races. Though the road to peace may be long and arduous, the distance from peace to prosperity—real prosperity—would be brisk and brief. Firmness, tempered with real understanding, is the hallmark of genuine even-handedness, a worthy posture for Britain restored to her trational role of broker, honest broker, in the Middle East.

6.2 p.m.

My Lords, it is a very pleasant coincidence that this year, as last year, I have the privilege of speaking immediately after the noble Lord, Lord Weidenfeld. But I apologise to him in that I shall not follow him, because when one tries to choose subjects for this debate, which should be as general as possible, one has to leave out some things and I am afraid that, through lack of up-to-date knowledge, I have omitted any intention to discuss the situation in the Middle East.

I was interested to note that in his speech supporting the humble Address the noble Lord, Lord Parry, said that he had not welcomed anything in a long time so much as the international dimension of the gracious Speech. Of course, I agree with him. But I have at once to add that I found, with great respect, that the gracious Speech was really a little bland about the international situation that we have lived through in this year and are still living through. Of course, all the intentions are virtuous, just as all the efforts which were described to us by the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, today are well-intentioned and, indeed, well-directed.

But as I thought over the year which has just passed, I could not but think of it as a year of strains and I would even call it a year of brinks. By that I do not mean brinkmanship. I mean, more, situations which appear to offer a real danger, some real explosion. There was a brink situation in the Middle East, or more than one. There has been a brink situation in North-East Africa. There is developing something of a brink situation in West Africa, over the former Spanish colonies. There was a small brink situation in Central America, and I attach importance to expressing my admiration at the efficient and economical way in which that brink was crossed and eliminated, through the action taken by Her Majesty's Government in agreement with the people of Belize. There is a brink situation in Southern Africa. So that while, indeed, we had what could technically be called a peaceful year, it was not a restful year and to that extent it seems to me, with great respect, that the gracious Speech opened itself to criticism.

I shall not, however, be criticising it specifically, except in the matter of one word which those of your Lordships who know me may already have anticipated. The matters that I have also ruled out include the whole technical subject of defence, except that I would make one point—the curious hesitation of great Powers and small, on the edge of a brink, to stop; the Russians not to go further in North-East Africa, the guerrillas not to go further so far in Southern Africa. There seems to be, on many occasions, a hesitation just at the critical moment. The very fine speech of the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, made me wonder whether, at this transient moment at least, the awful nature of the next war, if it ever broke out, causes people to pause. That does not involve me in saying that we must indefinitely keep a vast stock in the world of totally destructive weapons. But perhaps they have this transient virtue, and I fear that we shall have to wait a long time for general and complete disarmament, to use the Russian expression, because I am quite sure that it will not be achieved until a régime of the world is established in which it is agreed between all nations that everybody shall have the right to look at what everybody else is doing. I do not see any kind of verification, short of that, which will give the world the assurance that it needs.

What I propose very briefly to refer to are the following matters. I wish to say something on the European Community, on Germany, and terrorism, on the Soviet Union, and then, finally, on ourselves and what people think of us, because that in itself is important to foreign policy. On the European Community, I think that still in this country people do not quite realise how much in Europe living in the Community, working in it and travelling in it is simply regarded now as the normal way of life. It is not just an organisation which argues, and has bureaucrats and spends a lot of money. It is a part of the world to which you belong, and you go from one to another part of it and do business as though frontiers were not there.

Therefore, those of us who have the chance of learning this—I myself spend at least two months of each year somewhere in Europe—were much reassured by the long letter which the Prime Minister wrote to the Labour Party. I read it again thoroughly today just to make sure that I felt that way, and I did. I think that the chief sentence is that which refers to the Government pursuing " a policy of reform consistent with wholehearted membership". That seems to me to be a good balance. But if I might reassume a former capacity, and advise the Government very gently, I would just add this. We have to go on remembering that, although we forget it ourselves, other people do not forget that we are, in their way of thinking, a Johnny-come-lately. We did come late, although it was not entirely our fault. But this means that, whenever we talk about " reforming " the EEC, it would be advisable to look after our language. To put this argument a little more bluntly, when you are negotiating at a political level with other countries, you have two alternatives if there is a difficult negotiation. You can either state your case very loud to the point of abruptness, and gain splendid applause at home, or you can state it rather more smoothly and probably arrive at a more enduring and better tempered agreement. That is the price which good diplomacy has to pay for its goodness.

Having spoken about the Community at large, perhaps I may say just a word about our relationship with Federal Germany. For over 30 years, we have conducted our relations with Germany quite wisely, but with the head. When I saw the television picture of the Prime Minister's arrival in Bonn just after the victory over the kidnappers and the superb way in which the Prime Minister, Mr. Callaghan, conveyed his greetings to Chancellor Schmidt, it occurred to me that perhaps from now on we, as a nation, could persuade ourselves to deal with Federal Germany not only with the head, but also just a little with the heart. I think the time has now come to get out of our mental Colditz and to remember that those awful things are now more than 30 years old.

To speak of Germany also causes one to speak of terrorism. I was grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, for telling us something about the negotiations to secure general acceptance of a treaty against terrorism. May I ask the noble Lord who will be winding up the debate whether the draft of the treaty—indeed, it may be the final text—which is now circulating makes provision not only for cases like the recent Somalia affair but also for other types of events. We know what we want to happen when there is a kidnapping, a blackmail, and all that; but does the draft treaty also provide for other and very difficult cases? I instance only one: the case of a pilot who seizes an aeroplane and flies off from a totalitarian to a free country in order to achieve his own freedom. The story of the Finns this summer being compelled by a treaty to hand back two Russians who had done this I found intensely sad, and I hope the noble Lord can give us a little guidance on that aspect of the negotiations for this treaty.

Now, may I go one further step East and say a word, which no doubt noble Lords will be expecting me to say, on our relationship with the Soviet Union. I do this not for any general reason but because of the anniversary which the Russians have been celebrating, and particularly because I wish to help the BBC who got the names they applied to various episodes in 1917 and 1918 completely mixed up. If I sound a little donnish for the next two minutes, I apologise.

In March 1917, the Russian Revolution happened. In a sudden access of disturbance, the great Russian Tsarist institution, the autocracy, disappeared. This was an incredible event in Russian national life; its old basis had gone. There followed seven delirious, confused months during which people tried to discover what to do with freedom. Unhappily, there was no experience of democratic government. There was a series of shattering military defeats which made the position of the interim governments weaker and weaker. In October 1917, Lenin decided, quite rightly from his point of view, that now was the time to seize power by force in Moscow, which he did. There was only a fragment, an epilogue of freedom left—the Constituent Assembly—and that was abolished by soldiers under Communist control in February 1918. We really must keep it clear in our minds that the Russian Revolution was the abolition of the Tsar and the autocracy, and that the October Revolution was what the Russians, quite consistently, call over their English language radio, the Socialist Revolution. They are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Socialist Revolution, and in Russian English " Socialist " means Communist".

I have gone into this little piece of history in some detail because the word " détente " still, I must admit, rather haunts me. I should be prepared to agree, and I am sure that everybody would, that we can have détente with the Soviet State in a way that we could not during the very height of the cold war. We can negotiate positions; we can talk together; but we must always keep in mind that, if we have any faith in our own beliefs and institutions, we simply cannot have detente with Marxist-Leninist Communism as a theory and way of life. I believe that the people of this country understand this better than they used to, but I feel that it is still worth a reminder that, if there are no doctrinal differences between the Soviet State and the Communist Party—which there are not—we can do business with the State, provided that they do not thereby sell us a doctrine which we detest and cause us, in the last resort in a difficult negotiation, to regard human rights as a throw-away bargaining position.

Let me say just a word about Southern Africa. I do not propose to speak about South Africa. We were all greatly impressed by what the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, had to say. I personally welcome very much the momentum which the present Foreign Secretary has given to this matter. I only wish it could have happened the day after Mr. Smith first accepted the idea of majority rule. I believe that the delay there has led to damage. Now, one must pay tribute and give all possible support to the two very distinguished people in whom we have placed our faith: the noble and gallant Lord, my noble friend Lord Carver, and the very fine Indian General, General Prem Chand. We must give them every possible support and also accept that they are wise in keeping their mouths shut about the present state of the negotiations.

We must now, alas, suspend at least, if not drop the idea that the Prime Minister of South Africa can do very much more that is useful. We have reached the stage when we can publicly ask some of the Africans to give a little help. We know that, on the whole, this is happening with the Reverend Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa in Rhodesia. But if the African spokesmen, in particular Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe from Mozambique, would try to speak a little less as though they wanted blood it might help the situation a little. I am not saying that they do want blood but they sound as though they do. We need a little help in that kind of way from the African side, particularly in the case of those people who, unlike the heads of the Front Line States, seem to do too much in the way of pushing the situation backwards when it ought to go forwards. I am sure that nobody in their senses wants blood. They want a prosperous future for Zimbabwe, and they want the incredibly difficult problems of internal and external defence and security to be solved. Therefore, one can only wish them well in a task which is superhuman; but the superhuman occasionally happens.

Finally, may I say a word regarding this country and foreign opinion about it. I feel that we tend to make up what foreign opinion thinks about us. If the pound does a little better or a little more oil is discovered, we at once say that foreign opinion now shows greater faith in the future of the United Kingdom because of these statistics. I do not like to have to, but I am honestly and regretfully bound to assure your Lordships that the attitude across the board in Europe is, "We like you very much: we admire a lot of your traditional virtues but we regard you at the moment as a country which cannot run its industrial relations or a football match." We really must take that seriously. In a way, it is made worse by what happened last week when a few people were able to prevent the people of this country from seeing their own Queen open their own Parliament. I do not know whether those people realise what a contemptible thing they have done to their country. It is also contemptible when people then write articles and say, Oh well, there was not very much to hear anyway". That is not the point at all.

So I feel bound to say that if we are to continue to hold the influence in the world that we do—and I utterly reject the intellectualists' fallacy that we are going on down; we do not have to at all—and to which the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, so felicitously referred, we must look to our national self-respect. It is only by guarding that self-respect that we can keep the respect of others.

6.21 p.m.

My Lords, I think this House does Parliament as a whole a service because the other place was not able to give a day to defence and we are now making up for that omission. We last discussed it on the 12th May, which was an unusual debate because speeches were very short and very pithy and, even more unusual, the Government of the day for some reason accepted the Opposition's Amendment. That was both surprising and pleasurable and now I am going to ask them to honour the terms of the Amendment which they accepted.

There is one sadness: I understand that we are not going to have an opportunity of listening to the noble Lord, Lord George-Brown, or the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, and I believe the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, has been contemplating cancelling: perhaps because they were speaking 15th, 20th and 22nd in the list. I do hope that next time we shall have an opportunity to hear them, because this House enjoys the contributions that very experienced people can make on an occasion like this and it would be a shame to miss their wisdom and their stimulus. I myself would have liked to deal with a number of factors, particularly the interchange of armaments with America under the Memorandum of Understanding, and I should have liked to have dealt with inter-operability between the NATO forces, but with so many speakers I shall have to keep that for another occasion.

In the gracious Speech we read:
"In pursuit of peace and collective security, the United Kingdom remains committed to the aims of détente, disarmament …".
To me it seems sad that, despite what is happening in the Warsaw Pact, despite the fact that now there are 22,000 modern Russian tanks along the Iron Curtain, we are still talking about détente and disarmament and not talking about rearmament. We heard today from the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts—he is a good friend of mine and of many others in this House—but I thought he was unduly optimistic about the outcome of Helsinki and now the follow-up in Belgrade. He said that both sides, the United Kingdom and the USSR, had gained from the Helsinki Agreement. I should be more optimistic if I saw any signs that any of the undertakings made by Russia at Helsinki about the freedom to leave the country, about the freedom of distribution of newspapers, about the interchange of people, about the noninterference in other nations' activities, had been even half realised.

What makes us think, if we are going to sign another agreement before drawing their attention to their shortfall and the misdemeanours on the first agreement, that we are going to have success? I would bargain with them. I would say, "There is no point in discussing it until you get the Cuban troops out of Angola, which you carried there and which you are arming there, and until you get the Cuban troops out of another six Central African countries; until you stop supporting the Mozambique Marxist régime; until you get out of Ethiopia. Until you honour the agreements made at Helsinki and other places, we have no interest in signing yet another of these agreements. "I think that is realistic.

The Queen's Speech continues:
My Government " reaffirm their policies in international relations and defence …".
We must ask, what is the most consistent thing about the Government's defence policy in the 10 years since 1964, when they have been in control of our defence? There is only one consistency and that is to cut, cut, and cut again, so that now we are going to spend £8½ billion less than would have been spent.

The situation has totally changed in recent years and the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, so rightly drew attention to it. With the balance of nuclear forces it becomes ever more important to strengthen our conventional forces, so let us briefly examine our contribution and compare it with that of our allies. I know—and others have drawn attention to it—that immediately it will be said: " Ah! but as a percentage of our gross national product we are not doing too badly." Dr. Gilbert, the Minister of State at the Defence Department, was criticising a Left-Wing viewpoint on this when he said that it was quite wrong to determine defence spending " on the basis of a quite arbitrary mathematic formula based on the gross national product percentage".

If we look at the actual amount of money being spent by us and our allies we get a very different picture indeed. We find that the United States of America, in dollars per head, spends 523. The next country—and, goodness knows, it is small but certainly threatened—is Norway, with 295 dollars per head. The next one is West Germany, the next is France, the next is Belgium. Not very large countries but moderate sized or small countries. The next one is Denmark, whose figure is still much more than ours. Then we come to the Netherlands; and eighth on the list comes the United Kingdom. My Lords, how have the mighty fallen to this state of affairs!

In July 1975 Lord Carver, in whom the Government have great faith and whom we wish well in his new tasks, said at that moment, which was before we had the added growth of Russian arms, that our defence Forces were down to " absolute bedrock". There have been three more cuts since then. The excuse has been the economic position of our country. There is now a slight variation because it is said that the cuts have been made in order to reduce public expenditure in the interests of our economy. That is just a slight variation on the same theme. I am afraid that many of us on all sides of the House must believe realistically that it is more to do with Left-Wing pressure within the Labour Party and the TUC than it is for economic or public expenditure reasons.

All through the Recess we have been fed on regular announcements from the Government—and this always happens in every long Recess—saying how strong our economy was, how much better we were doing; how the balance of payments has improved. As a result of IMF policies and of the tremendous success of private enterprise in the North Sea, in exploring and discovering and developing and getting ashore North Sea oil it is true that our balance is much better. If that is so, surely we could now try to honour the promises and pledges we gave to NATO.

We read in the gracious Speech:
"The strengthening of the country's financial position and balance of payments opens the prospect for a continuing improvement in the economy".
If the Government believe that, let their actions match their words. Now they have a chance, and the first chance even on their own criteria, to restore some of the cuts which have had so serious an effect on our Armed Forces. Secondly, in view of the grave and growing disparity between the balance of Forces of the Warsaw Pact side and the NATO side, is not this a golden opportunity to honour the NATO aim to increase in real terms by 3 per cent. our contribution to the defence of Western Europe?

At the NATO Summit in London, the first time, I believe, President Carter had been here, on May 10/11th President Carter said:
"The USA is prepared to make a major effort … in the expectation that our allies will do the same".
They set an example. They have faith. Why cannot we take up that challenge. You have to look and see what other nations have done since May. West Germany is increasing her defence expenditure; Norway, with 9 million people, is increasing her defence expenditure not by 3 per cent. but by even more in real terms. Little Denmark is planning at the end of her five year defence plan to increase her expenditure. Surely we, if we had the will, could do it, as Lord Home and Lord Strathcona have so wisely said, Now is the moment; now is the need.

I always come back to why the Government do not do it. Do they feel that in appeasing their Left Wing they will somehow buy them off? They will not. Their appetite will grow with each appeasement; it always does. We had Ian Mikardo leading a committee recently which was demanding a huge further cut, £1,260 million extra. If even a small part of that was brought about, it would so destroy Western Europe's faith in Britain's ability and future that the whole of the Alliance would fall apart. I very much hope that that will be denied from the Front Bench and that this in no way will be incorporated as Labour Party policy.

Where are these extra cuts—£230 million in 1976 terms, now £267 million in 1977 terms—to come from? Well, £133 million less is to be spent on production of new equipment. Every month that goes by, although much of our equipment in Germany and elsewhere was good, it is getting older, it is not keeping up with modern technology. Can we afford now to cut £133 million by deferring the replacement of armaments? The strangest one of all is £53 million to be cut from the defence services works programme. It is strange, partly because our troops in Ulster are foully housed and deserve much better accommodation than they get, and the same applies in other places, but equally because the Chancellor of the Exchequer only the week before last in his mini-Budget said that the construction industry was in such a bad state that he was going to inject £400 million extra to keep them busy. So we have one Department cutting £53 million of works defence expenditure which would better the troops' housing and another Department injecting £400 million to stimulate the construction industry. I do ask the Government Front Bench to look at this crazy state of affairs. It is a hell of a way to run a railway, let alone a country !

There are three areas of public expenditure which a Conservative Government are pledged to increase, and I should like to reiterate them because I believe one should go on saying these things because they are important. The first is aid to the very poor, the second is support to the police, and the third is defence.

Before concluding, I must say something about the conditions of service and pay in our Forces. I was recently lunching by chance with a junior officer from a well-known Scottish Regiment serving in Ulster. He told me—and this is a shaming thought—that the " Jocks", as he called the men in his battalion, exposed to all unsociable hours, danger and very bad housing conditions, were getting 10p a day more than an unemployed person. Is there not really something very wrong with this. We are coming to the time when the Armed Forces Pay Review Body is due to consider how we should recompense our loyal soldiers, sailors and airmen. It is said that they will have to be kept to 10 per cent., and I can understand all the difficulties here. But surely both the police and they are a special case, and they are a special case which the country would support hook, line and sinker. If they only get 10 per cent., it will leave them 30 per cent. behind their equivalents in civilian life. With all the dangers besetting us and all the difficulties in Ulster and elsewhere, is this the right time to treat our soldiers, sailors and airmen in that way? I think the Government have a special obligation to the Servicemen. They are loyal; they are efficient. I was slightly surprised when the Minister of Defence said something, I hope inadvertently, in the House of Commons the day before yesterday when he was asked by one of the left wing whether he would allow the Armed Forces to become eligible to join trade unions. To my horror and surprise he said:
"On the other hand, I have no objection in principle to the Armed Forces, if they are so minded, seeking such representation ".—[Official Report, Commons, 8/11/77, col. 466.]
I hope that will be set right. It seems a strange moment to say it, at the very moment when the Government are planning to put the Armed Forces in to substitute for the striking firemen. Can it really help discipline and everything else if this kind of movement is encouraged within the Armed Forces.

Socialism, we are told, is the religion of priorities. I do not know who said it, but it is always being quoted. I can only say that if it is true still there is one priority which is always at the bottom of the list, and that is defence. Each year our equipment becomes less modern, and I concede more expensive and so more difficult to renew, and this will go on and seems to go on because the Government seek to appease the Left Wing of their Party. Who do they think they are fooling. We will all support them. The Liberals, I have no doubt, will support them. The Cross-Benches here will support them. They will get support in the House of Commons from the vast majority if they now honour their pledge to NATO and carry out the obligation to spend 3 per cent. more in real terms, just as our allies are planning to do.

6.37 p.m.

My Lords, in this quaqua versatile debate I am going to be very self-denying; I shall concentrate on a very few points. I am glad the gracious Speech reaffirms Her Majesty's Government's commitment to the United Nations and to maintaining, and I hope extending, help to the poorest of the poor. I am glad that even in our own difficulties the mini-Budget took account of our duty to the world's underprivileged. The emphasis on the poorest of the poor, as my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts pointed out, is not just on the countries which are chronically poor but on the people in those countries who are chronically poor. This is a recognition, ackknowledged by the World Bank and its President Mr. MacNamara, that the classic form of development finance has failed, that if you put money in at the top and hope that it will filter down to the poor it just does not work. The aims of aid now should be practical help; not alms, not charity, but practical help to educate and increase the capacity of that lower 40 per cent., investment in human resources without which no country can prosper. This must be essential in our thinking, because only from this base can we find a constructive response to the new economic order and the Third World's insistence, which is no longer entirely just rhetoric but is real and meaningful, that we should effect development of relations between North and South.

My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question? Would he not, in all fairness, admit that some of the aid which has been given very generously by this country to the building up of industries in developing countries has contributed something towards employment and higher standards in those countries?

My Lords, I accept the noble Lord's intervention and point out that I entirely agree with that kind of aid, but it is different aid. What is clearly demonstrated by MacNamara and everyone else is that one can make the assumption that one simply creates a wealth and prosperity—a certain prosperity—but it does not reach the poorest of the poor. Just look at the world.

However, my concern with the United Nations and the specialised agencies is to urge Her Majesty's Government to resist the process of erosion of the machinery of international co-operation through the United Nations. That is what is happening. It happens fairly frequently in your Lordships' House and sometimes I sympathise with what prompts it, but in point of fact we find an element of derision and of contempt towards us as regards the working of the United Nations and its agencies. I have immediately in mind the unwise—I underscore, "unwise "—decision of the United States to withdraw from the ILO. I say " unwise " because I assure noble Lords that they will regret it and I am sure that they will recant.

Those of us who have been involved in the work of the United Nations and the agencies are aware of their limitations. I assure those critical Peers on my side of the House and, indeed, on the other side, who find fault with the United Nations, that many of' us who are heavily involved with it equally find fault. There are limitations but they are not the fault of the organisation but considerably the fault of the Member States. However, the answer is to stay around and correct these mistakes, and not to take a bully-boy attitude when we cannot get our own way.

I am sure that Her Majesty's Government cannot but regret the behaviour of the United States in this instance and will do everything they can to sustain the ILO in the financial difficulties in which it has been, or will be, placed by the loss of it 1 million a year, which was the United States' contribution.

My noble friend Lord Noel-Baker, whom we shall welcome to his place in this House next week, said in The Times—and I reiterate it with full support—that the Government should take positive steps to secure increased contributions from the 134 Member States of the ILO and that we should be as generous as we possibly can. The ILO has been functioning for nearly 60 years. The United States, having failed to follow Woodrow Wilson into the League of Nations, joined the ILO which was the League of Nations' International Office and provided in that period, two of the most outstanding Directors-General—John G. Winant and David Morse. The ILO was an extremely enlightened attempt at international organisation, but it was considerably short of world organisation during the period before the Second World War. It had a tripod membership; workers, employers, and Governments. Some Members of your Lordships' House have been active delegates. It was, and is, true that politics have raucously intruded over the years. Indeed, it happened over the years because it was maintained that the USSR in the position of being the Government, the employer and the trade union, was not exercising valid membership.

The faults were not on one side. The leaders of the American trade unions—to my certain knowledge, they were doing it in the ILO before even the war—turned it into a battlefield and soon it became the very active battlefield of the cold war. Their resentments which were basically anti-Soviet to begin with, have been turned against the Third World, the representatives of which have been vocal. There have been polemics and there has been invective, but the ILO, in spite of everything and throughout its history has produced a body of laws governing industrial relations, social security, safety, working conditions and, yes, my Lords human rights which are embodied and have been so successfully embodied in government legislation and so forth throughout the world. Moreover, it has been effective.

However, the ILO has done far far more. It is not just an accumulation of documents. When the League of Nations collapsed at the outbreak of the Second World War the ILO survived. It was shifted to Montreal by John G. Winant, presently to become the outstanding and very well-loved American Ambassador in London. During the War, as a result of his initiative—an American initiative in this case—from having been almost entirely an organisation of the industrialised countries of Europe and North America, it pushed, even under Wartime conditions, into the less developed countries, and its first field operation was in Latin America. In its United Nations incarnation as the International Labour Organisation that practical functionalism has been extended to all parts of the world. It has acted considerably as the instrument of the UN development programme.

I have seen its work in the field in most continents of the world. I hope very sincerely that Her Majesty's Government will see that this work is not irreparably damaged by the United States' withdrawal. Reference has been made by my noble friend, Lord Weidenfeld to the politicization of these agencies. No one regrets that more than I. Politics should never have been allowed to intrude on the functions of agencies that belong to the United Nations General Assembly and elsewhere. Over the years we have seen the erosion of responsibility of these agencies. They have allowed themselves to become the platform or the arena for bitter recrimination and savage attacks. We should have a debate in this House on the role of Britain in the United Nations and in the specialised agencies.

I also hope that we shall be able to avoid the erosion, as we have seen in the Law of the Sea Conference and so on, of at least the aspirations which are now, in terms of rethinking, beginning to encourage what is a manifest but regrettable truth in the world today; namely, smash and grab. I do not intend to anticipate the question about Antarctica that my noble friend Lord Brockway will ask next week, but I hope that one of the things we shall insist upon in terms of the Antarctic Pact is that we shall not have another carve up of Antarctica as we had in the case of Africa after the Berlin Conference and, I regret to say, considerably to my dismay, as is happening now in the case of the Law of the Sea Conference, where it has become very considerably a smash and grab

As regards the Law of the Sea Conference, I should like to ask Her Majesty's Government what reservations they have about the seabed. I gather that they have stated some reservations and I, too, have considerable reservations about the proposals. However, I hope it means that in the forthcoming and, we hope, culminating conference on the Law of the Sea next year, we shall have at least a satisfactory basis for further management of this large resource—the sea. I make no apology for following the various noble Lords who have spoken on hijacking, and in particular, the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth. I was not entirely satisfied with the Answer that was given yesterday to my noble friend Lord Janner. I congratulate my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts on a statesmanlike speech and I sympathise profoundly with his reservations, limitations and so on. In 1962—l5 years ago—we discussed control of hijacking at The Hague Convention. However, those recommendations have not been put into operation. I am not at all satisfied that mere ratification at an international convention, whatever its present status, will avoid what can increasingly become an appalling situation. I am asking that in whatever interim we have in establishing the law and order of hijacking we take some practical and functional steps of control. I have no reservations in saying that.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation is responsible for maintaining the freedom of the airways. I am not talking about IATA; I am talking about intergovernmental ICAO. They are responsible for ensuring that control towers and everything else are properly managed under international standards. We have now reached the stage where ICAO should be charged with responsibility for proper supervision of security measures, at least at international airports. I have no hesitation in saying that there should be international security men at international airports, because this is not simply a question of one country being held responsible or a carrier being held responsible. It is much more.

I should like to see strike forces. Although I appreciate why Israel had to go to Entebbe, I do not see why they should have done so. The same applies to Mogadishu. Why must we have a situation in which this kind of thing can happen and then are faced with providing an ad hoc answer? It is not right. The German Government agonised over their recent decision and had to wrestle not simply with the practical tactics of intervention but with the whole question of the morality, legality and everything else that was involved. This should become a prescribed process. Although I am against destruction, I think we should have a " search and destroy " body, or at least a " hot pursuit " body. There must be some kind of international anti-terrorist organisation.

We may find that the only answer will be what is nowadays called " industrial action". In desperation the international pilots may simply have to take the matter into their own hands and boycott any airport which harbours or protects hijackers. We are now going through an agonising phase in international relations. The fact is that hijacking is a kind of international anarchy. To wait for ratification of treaties will not solve the problem. There is a " white " list—I do not use that word in colour terms—of countries which take a stand against the hijackers. We must also have a black list of those countries which do not take a stand, and sanctions should be imposed against them.

6.55 p.m.

My Lords, the gracious Speech and the mini Budget gave small comfort to those of us who have been becoming increasingly anxious about the state of the defence of this country and our allies. I was glad to hear this afternoon that I am not alone in my surmise that we have gone back on our word to our allies that we were going to increase our contribution by 3 per cent. I should like, roughly, to repeat the state of affairs in Europe where 58 Russian divisions face a total of 27 NATO divisions. Since the last decade we have reduced the number of men per division from 15,000 to 10,000, and they are not up to strength. At the same time the Soviet mechanised division has been increased to 14,000. They have also had a 41 per cent. increase in their tanks per division. Their modern sophisticated rocket launchers—not the ones that old soldiers like myself knew—have been increased from 200 to 700 per division. Against the Soviets on the central front we can align only 21 divisions, and of those two Dutch and two Belgian divisions are in their own countries. Many military commentators have produced statistics—and I shall refer to them shortly—to show how in this set-up a Russian straight line blitzkrieg could reach the Rhine in 48 hours. Those are Russian Forces over whom 10 years ago we had technical superiority. They have now caught up and in part passed us.

I wonder how many of your Lordships have read the works of the Belgian General, Robert Close: L'Europe sans defense. 48 heures qui pourrait charger la face du monde; or that of the German General, Johannes Steinhoff. Wohin treibt die NATO. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, has read that because he wrote an article about it. But these are not people without some experience of the capabilities of our prospective enemy. Cannot people see what a temptation the situation as it is at the moment must be to the Russian hawks? If the Russian hawks take over, can they not see that it can only mean one of two things for the West; namely, abject surrender or nuclear war.

One of the most impressive—or, from our point of view—depressing facts to have come out recently (and it has come from the highest source) is that the Russians now have a massive air capability for attacking this country from the West. I wonder whether we shall ever learn from history. In 1796, the French tried a landing at Bantry Bay, and they were defeated, mainly by the Marines. In 1797, under Tate, they sailed along the north coast of Cornwall and Devon. What did they see? Whenever they looked at the land there were the local yeomanry, the local volunteers, the local militia ready to meet them. They then turned north and landed in Wales, where groups of the same forces under Lord Cawdor defeated them. That was from the West.

What have we done? Before the Healey carve-up a decade ago, we had a territorial army with drill halls all over the country. What has happened? It was carved up with the help of a hatchet man. What are we left with now? TAVR 2, which is committed to Germany. If the blitzkrieg prophesied by these commentators takes place, it will not get there in time anyway. The TAVR 3, of one unit of which I happen to be honorary colonel, is sparse and scattered, and it has none of its focal points left.

The Belgian General Close, says in his theory that this Russian blitzkrieg could be blunted if the Germans had their reserve forces rather as the Swiss do now, and as we did before the Healey carve-up and that that would be a way of doing it. Do not let anybody in this country point their fingers at the Germans, because they have 400,000 Reserves. They believe in more total effort than we do. It has been said that what we really ought to go on by comparison with our allies is not gross national product but gross national effort. We have heard from more than one noble Lord today about the Norwegians—and my noble friend Lord Shinwell, if he does not mind me saying so, underlined that extremely well.

I came back to this country about 10 days ago, and I saw an article in a paper in which one of the architects of that massacre of the territorial army which took place was congratulating himself. I really do not know how anyone can argue in that way in view of what I have put before your Lordships this evening. Look at the hundreds of millions that the Russians are spending on civil defence. The old Territorial Army was the linchpin of the very good civil defence system that we had in this country. What did we do? We abolished it and put some things into mothballs. I believe that we are now taking a few of the old fire-fighting machines out because of the firemen's strike. If we had not abolished our civil defence and TA there would have been none of this trouble, because part of the civil defence role and part of the Territorial Army's civil defence rôle was to keep in training to keep the country going in the event of a nuclear war. It would be nice for the Government to have that sort of thing handy now, with the power stations and the firemen on strike, would it not?

Much has been made of the pay of the Services. In the last defence debate we had, I told a story which fits in with what the noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, said about what he had heard the other day. It was that a régimental sergeant major serving in Northern Ireland got less for a 90 hour week than a constable in the Royal Ulster Constabulary doing the same time, with overtime and all the rest. That is quite apart from anything else.

There was another article that I recently saw. It gave comparisons with the pay of an RAF fighter pilot flying a Jaguar, which is a complicated machine. He had had lots of training. The article gave a list of occupations in comparable industries, and that chap's pay was far below their pay. I am not going to mention them because one would then be accused of union bashing, or something like that. What I will say is that my untrained 21 year-old shop assistant daughter's pay compares extremely favourably with that pilot's.

I feel that NATO should be re-examined. I feel that the West should have a defensive system which can prevent it being outflanked. When we think of Western Europe, with 75 per cent. of its raw materials coming round the Cape, we ought to have a system based on, say, alliances with Spain for controlling the entrance to the Mediterranean and Egypt for the exit and Alliances the Persian Gulf, Singapore, Australasia, Japan, and the Cape. Churchill said when Russia came into the war that he would make a pact with the devil to defeat Hitler. That is why I think it so essential that we should remember the importance of the Cape route in bringing raw materials here safely, not only for us but for the whole of Western Europe.

It is a global strategy that the Soviets are after and we, the West as a whole, should have global strategy to match it. I have just ridden my perennial hobbyhorse, which is our lack of Reserves. I can say something from these Benches which I could not say from the Tory Benches; I think that, in one way, we have been lucky in that the last two Ministers of Defence, and the defence spokesman in your Lordships' House, have really been on our side. I believe that Mr. Mason made a great contribution when he publicised the terrific Russian superiority in weapons, and I think that the present Minister is making a great contribution, in that he is at last allowing education in defence realities to get across to this country. We heard only last night how important it is in places like Denmark and Norway. Let us hope that that message will get across, and that the people of this country will realise the position that we and our allies are in.

7.10 p.m.

My Lords, like others in this extremely interesting debate, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy- Roberts on the extremely competent round-up of the nation's position in foreign affairs and defence. I particularly welcomed, in the light of what the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, said, the Minister's favourable remarks about this country's continued commitment to the North Atlantic Alliance. He stated that in terms which were quite unequivocal and he added his welcome, to which I add mine, to the fact that President Carter took part in the recent NATO discussions. It was clear from what Lord Goronwy-Roberts said that the NATO Alliance is the finch-pin of this country's security and will continue to be so, and I welcome that.

I also reacted with great sympathy and enthusiasm to what the Minister said about the place of the heart in international affairs. In several parts of his speech he mentioned the commitment of this country not only to things but to ideas, not only to money but to feelings; for instance, he mentioned aid to the Third World and described it as part of world justice which must be a fundamental goal of this country's foreign policy. I know that that reflects to some extent not only his views but those of his right honourable friend the Secretary of State; and to that part of the Government's attitude I give my unqualified support, and I was extremely glad the Minister made that point at the outset of this debate.

He also, in my view rightly, made certain remarks about South Africa. Noble Lords on both sides were, I am sure, extremely disturbed by recent events there which go against all we expected of that country in recent months and years, against the expectations of some of us that South Africa was moving slowly but steadily towards a more stable, more free and more equitable style of government. As the Minister said, we are all disappointed by recent events.

However, the noble Lord did not mention the state of affairs in the rest of Africa. For example, he did not mention President Bocassa of the Central African Republic or former Spanish Guinea or President Idi Amin of Uganda. Those countries in Africa need a mention in a debate of this kind because it is to them also that we must turn our attention, particularly when we are considering questions of human rights, aid, where our sympathies lie, what is right and wrong, matters of principle, matters to which the Minister rightly referred.

I would not attempt at this time to draw up a plus and minus balance sheet about the rights and wrongs of the Republic of South Africa vis-à-vis the rights and wrongs of the three countries I mentioned—the Central African Republic, Spanish Guinea and Uganda—but we know that in those three countries there have been massacres on an appalling scale and it cannot be that we in this nation would wish in any way to give our support to that style of government or even to that part of Africa, which may in some areas be inclined to go along the dark path of repression and dictatorship. However much we reject racialism—and I do—we cannot encourage any country to move from a racialist state, from a minority governed state, into the sort of situation which exists in the countries I have mentioned.

I sincerely hope the Secretary of State agrees with what I have said, as I also hope he will carry it through in the negotiations he will shortly be having and will put it into practice in the advice he gives about aid to the Third World, in particular as a member of the Council of Ministers of the EEC when he comes to renegotiate the Lomé Convention. I hope he will raise the question of human rights in the Third World and will bring an element of human rights, an element of the principles in which we believe, into the question of which country gets which aid, on what basis, and how much.

I appreciate that one has to be careful at this stage and I would not suggest that we, a European nation with a long history of democracy, should interfere in the young independent countries of Africa and insist that they all, to obtain our help, build overnight the sort of democracy and human rights which we in this country enjoy. If we were to insist on that we should indeed have very had relations with almost the whole of the Third World. But we can surely explain our point of view and put it into practice when deciding which countries get the bulk of our support. I suggest that this should not be done in the way of blackmail—it should not be a threat to the Third World or to individual countries of the Third World; but it should be done in the form of encouragement, the carrot rather than the stick. What I have in mind is that there should be qualitative and quantitative selection in the distribution of aid, bilaterally from the United Kingdom and multilaterally through the Lomé Convention, and I trust that this will be raised by the Government during the forthcoming negotiations.

For example, if the Government of Uganda make a request either to this country or to the Community for a medical post, a teacher or an agriculturist, would it be right for us to refuse that request because we do not like the Government of Idi Amin? I do not think so. Perhaps we should help by providing such a post. On the other hand, if the Government of Uganda requests trucks, machinery or arms—something that could be used to perpetrate the Government of that country—we should think twice about what we provide.

Our aid should be selective and it should vary in quantity according to the sort of society which the country in question seems to be on the way to building in the Third World. It may be that in certain countries, like the three I have mentioned, it should be reduced to the strictly humanitarian, and that any element of aid which could be used or could be interpreted for use as a prop to the Government in question should not be offered in future. I would like to see this entered, in general terms at least, into the next Lomé Convention and I hope that the noble Lord's right honourable friend will continue to urge this matter.

When Lord Goronwy-Roberts turned to the Helsinki Agreement and its review in Belgrade, which is now in progress, I think he put the wrong emphasis on what is now happening. He spoke of "the enduring reality of détente". I wonder how many of us believe in the enduring reality of détente. Do we see it as a reality, with Cuban troops in Africa armed with Russian weapons? Was that the right emphasis for the Minister to put in the speech he delivered? Of course we want detente. We want it to be an enduring reality, but is it a reality?

The noble Lord then mentioned the discussions now in progress in Belgrade, and he said how much he hoped that those discussions would not enter into polemic which may sour the atmosphere in Belgrade. Before I came here today I watched the one o'clock news on television, and I saw an interview with the ballet dancer Mr. Rudolf Nureyev, who for many years has been trying to obtain permission for his mother to come from the Soviet Union to pay him a visit. For many years his elderly mother has not been allowed to do so, despite continued pressure from Mr. Nureyev, and despite petitions, support, letters to The Times, and petitions to the Soviet Embassy.

This is the kind of thing that really sours the atmosphere. It is also soured by the arrest of such Soviet citizens as Dr. Yuri Orlov and Mr. Anatoli Sharansky, who are in prison in the Soviet Union for the simple reason that they put their energies to monitoring the Helsinki Agreement itself. Because of their work in this field they were arrested, and their cases may or not be raised publicly in the review conference in Belgrade. This kind of situation sours the atmosphere, and I suggest that whatever we say or do not say in Belgrade, the atmosphere will remain sour until Mr. Nureyev's mother is allowed to come and visit her son in this country, and until Dr. Orlov and Mr. Sharansky, and Mr. Ginsberg, are released from prison.

This is the kind of thing which makes us despair of relations with the Soviet Union. Much as we wish détente, much as it is necessary, and much as we would do anything within our power to secure it, we cannot, I suggest with greatest respect to the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, believe that the atmosphere is sweet so long as such things happen. I very much doubt whether the atmosphere would be made any sourer by a slightly more vigorous approach by the Government during the review conference in Belgrade.

Of course we are a country with limited means and with limited resources when it comes to bringing about the improvements in the world situation which we would want to see. However, I suggest that we are not perhaps as helpless as all that. We do, in the West, have certain weapons in our armoury, and I should have thought this question should be raised in the context both of human rights and of the principles which we acknowledge, which we believe in, and which we see to be violated by other signatory States of the Helsinki Agreement.

Why, for instance, in the light of yet another gross harvest failure in the Soviet Union, should we provide that country with cheap grain in order to get it out of a great difficulty? This is a question for the United States Government and the Canadian Government to consider very carefully. Why should we provide a loan of £1,900 million at 7 per cent. so that the Soviet Union can overcome its gross industrial weakness? Why should we provide computers and electronic machinery which Soviet industry cannot produce at the moment? Why should we give them this advanced scientific equipment, some of which, incidentally, is used for checking outgoing correspondence of Soviet citizens as well as correspondence of British citizens which is going into the Soviet Union?

The censorship is now thoroughly computerised by the assistance of Western technology, and so is the equipment for disconnecting telephone calls made from this country to the Soviet Union, as well as calls out of the Soviet Union. Anyone who has made as many telephone calls to Moscow as I have in the past year, will know how very quickly the authorities are able to latch on to any call which is remotely embarrassing. Key words can trigger off the machinery, and the call is cut off within a few seconds, subscriber trunk dialling or no subscriber trunk dialling—

My Lords, may I add one point here? Why should Soviet delegations be going around Culham, one of our most secret and advanced atomic establishments, which is of tremendous importance to the West? Why are they allowed time after time to visit this highly secret establishment?

My Lords, I trust that the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, will answer that question as well.

Why should we necessarily fulfil the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act, which provides for the exchange of scientific know-how, including medical know-how, when psychiatry is still used to suppress political dissidents in the Soviet Union? Are we to assist that country to develop more effective drugs with which they can suppress or punish dissidents and intern them in mental hospitals? I suggest that public opinion in this country would not tolerate the exchange of medical information which could be used for that purpose, and I strongly believe that a resolution now before the European Parliament, to be debated next Friday, 18th November, will condemn the Soviet Union on this count, and will ask for this matter to be raised most urgently by the Nine in Belgrade under the aegis of political co-operation.

After all, at this stage in the history of the world, concern for human rights is no longer a question of moralising, or of preaching; no longer the submission of personal points of view, personal taste, or personal morality. Human rights are part of our armoury, part of our infrastructure and of our wealth, as important to us, and as much of use to us, as our coal, our oil, or our brains. I suggest that we should make use of this wealth of human freedoms, which we have developed over many hundreds of years, to put forward Britain as a country which has something to offer the world, and we should not hesitate to raise this question again and again in every diplomatic forum and in every public forum possible.

It is sometimes undiplomatic to accuse countries of violations of human rights, and I appreciate the difficulties in which members of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office often find themselves in such matters. They do not like to be undiplomatic, they do not like to cause offence by interfering in another country's internal affairs and by raising a difficult question, such as that of Mr. Nureyev's mother. But surely there comes a point when diplomacy must give way to the simple question of right and wrong, and here I believe that we have a weapon which will help us to further our national interest and the interest of our Common Market partners and our allies. It is a weapon which we should not be afraid of using. The result, if we succeed, and if we use this weapon judiciously, will be greater security and a step towards the long-term goal which the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, most rightly stressed is in our sights: disarmament and the peace of the world.

7.29 p.m.

My Lords, in one sense, I am delighted to be following the noble Lord, Lord Bethell; in another sense, I regret it. I delight to follow him because of the liberality of his speech; I regret to follow him because what he said presents such a temptation to me to argue with him that, if I did, I should refrain from developing what I had intended to say. But let me just say this. I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, because of his duties, did not hear the opening remarks of the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Bethell, in which he paid tribute to so much of what Lord Goronwy-Roberts said. The only other comment I want to make in argument with him is this: Yes, human rights are tremendously important in the sense of freedom of speech and freedom of movement, but the greatest human right is the right to live, and, today, half the world does not have that right to live. Therefore, in his references to Africa we must not only concern ourselves with the rights of freedom of thought and of speech; we must also concern ourselves with what is being done in African countries to liberate their populations from the poverty which now means early death.

My Lords, this has been a long debate, and yet a very inadequate debate. We had a very comprehensive survey at its opening, but it is impossible, in one day, to begin to cover all the great issues in foreign affairs and defence. Unemployment, which is no longer only a national issue; the hunger of half the world, to which I have referred; the denial of human rights, about which many have spoken; the tortures of political prisoners in so many countries; the rivalry for the exploitation of the oceans; racial conflicts; Southern Africa; the Middle East; the arms trade and the mountains of nuclear weapons which can now destroy all mankind—all those subjects, and many more, must come into a debate on foreign affairs and defence.

I want to concentrate on only one subject and that is disarmament. My noble friend Lord Shinwell will be surprised to learn that I am hopeful as I come to look at that problem. He was pessimistic. He has heard us urging disarmament and peace for 70 years, and at the end of it all we have greater armaments and greater differences between nations. A good deal of my speech will be an answer to what he, has said in this House, and so I want to begin by saying this. There are few men in this country with whom I have a deeper sense of friendship than that which I have with my noble friend Lord Shinwell. He and I are probably the only two men in this country at the present time who, for over 70 years, nave been active in the Labour Movement. Before the First World War we were very close comrades; during the First World War our actions were the same; and, though we have differed since, I have never had any doubt that "Manny", as we all called him, was devoted to the cause of the working people whom he has represented during those years. Therefore, I am quite sure that my noble friend Lord Shinwell will not feel that, if I strongly disagree with his views, there is in any sense a lessening of our close friendship.

My Lords, he said that, because we have been urging disarmament and peace for 70 years, it was not realistic to continue. I think he is too pessimistic. Seventy years in the life of man is a very short term. Mankind itself has existed for only tens of thousands of years, and is still in its childhood, perhaps just becoming adolescent. I find it impossible to believe that, when mankind has grown to adulthood, reason and ethics will not one day bring a mankind to whom war will be absolutely unthinkable.

My noble friend Lord Shinwell spoke of the need for nuclear arms today because the Soviet Union has superiority in conventional weapons. But is it not the case that if we develop the neutron bomb, to which he referred, the technology of the Soviet Union will rapidly produce an equal to it? In the competitive arms race between the West and the East—nuclear arms, first here, then there; first advantage there, then here—who can doubt that even the neutron bomb, in all its destructive capacity, would be in the possession of the Soviet Union within a very short time? This is illustrated by the fact that the International Institute for Strategic Studies reports that the number of warheads carried on the missiles of the Soviet Union will rise from 3,600 to 7,500 by the early nineties. We are thus in a situation where the great Powers on both sides are developing their capacity for the nuclear destruction of mankind; and, with all the scientific, technological ability that there is in the Soviet Union, there seems to me no doubt that they would be able to equal any advance in this sphere which is made by the West.

My noble friend Lord Shinwell referred to the military display made in Moscow to celebrate their 60th anniversary. I was appalled, as he is appalled; but, my Lords, the Secretary for Defence of the United States of America says that the weapons of the West are equal to the weapons of the Soviet Union and that, if they were paraded through the streets of Washington, they would show a massive amount of production which is as great as that of the Soviet Union.

May I say a word or two about the neutron bomb to which my noble friend Lord Shinwell has referred? The neutron bomb, for the first time, can destroy human life completely in the area where it falls and, at the same time, leave the buildings, all property and all material things still there. This seems to be the climax of the development of human suicide. The theory of the neutron bomb, the defence which is made for it, is that it would be localised and used in the particular battle or localised for a town in West Germany occupied temporarily by the enemy Forces so that when it was re-occupied everything still stood. I do not know whether that argument would give any consolation to the German citizens who would be in that town and destroyed equally with the enemy Forces.

But the difficulty in the production of the neutron bomb has been to localise it in that way. This was expressed in a detailed technical article which the defence correspondent of the Sunday Times wrote on August 18th. Describing the technical march, the technical development, of the neutron bomb he used these words:
"The practical problem was to scale the neutron bomb down to the battlefield".
The problem was to localise it. Is there any doubt that if war occurred the neutron bomb would be used over vast areas? Is there any doubt that the Soviet Union could find a bomb of equal power? It would be little consolation to us in Britain if St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey were still standing if all the 8 million people of London were dead.

I want to put this to my noble friend Lord Shinwell. The situation regarding disarmament today is different. For the first time you have the Governments of the two great super-Powers, the USA and the Soviet Union, both seeking to bring about disarmament. We have the proposals of President Carter: the abolition of all nuclear tests—not merely by the Soviet Union proposing it—a ban on chemical and radiological weapons and the abuses of the arms trade; the reduction of nuclear weapons in the short term by 50 per cent. and ultimately to zero. The Soviet Union added to these proposals the destruction of all nuclear stock piles and urged that all these measures should serve as a preliminary to a staged progress to complete disarmament.

Are the Soviet Union proposals bluff? If they are, let us call the bluff. We all desire this disarmament. It is now proposed both by the USA and by the Soviet Union. An opportunity will soon arise for us to put these matters to the test. On the initiative of 55 unaligned Governments, there is to be a special General Assembly of the United Nations next year devoted to disarmament. That will be followed by a world disarmament conference. I want to urge our Government at the United Nations next year and at the world disarmament conference that will follow it to seize the proposals which both the USA and the Soviet Union have made and so begin to initiate the hope for the future of mankind, for disarmament and for peace.

My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down may I ask whether he would be willing to agree that one of the preconditions of disarmament should be free inspection and control?

Entirely, my Lords; and I am glad the question was put because the Soviet Union has now repeatedly said that they will accept the principle of veracity and inspection. I agree that if one is to have an end to nuclear tests and so on there must be those provisions.

7.47 p.m.

My Lords, since making a minor contribution to the Falkland Islands debate in this House in April this year, I have been watching developments with interest. As a result of commendable spirit and resolution shown by Her Majesty's loyal Opposition, a subtle but vital change of emphasis was drawn from the Government in December of 1968. Your Lordships will recall that for the eight months from March 1968 to December 1968, the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, hid behind a formula which read that the wishes of the Falkland Islanders were considered to be extremely important and that their interests were paramount. Then in a ministerial Statement in December, 1968, the formula became: there can be no transfer of sovereignty against the wishes of the Islanders. Your Lordships will now, as you did then, appreciate the importance of that change of emphasis. To have a Socialist Government, or any Government for that matter, playing God by determining what is or is not in one's best interests can never be a happy thought and still less a satisfactory state of affairs. Surely, self-determination is nothing other than that—self determination.

It would appear that the present Socialist Government have not moved from that position. In March of this year, Mr. Rowlands said in another place:
"We certainly shall not bring forward any proposals which are not acceptable to the Islanders and they must obviously receive the consent of this House".
From that, I understand that only proposals which would be acceptable to the Islands will be put to the Argentinian Government and, similarly, Her Majesty's Government will only accept proposals from the Argentinian Government which are acceptable to the Islanders.

I imagine that this must require continuous consultation and exchange of information with the Islanders or their representatives in accordance with the intentions expressed in the ministerial Statement of February of this year. The Minister then stated to both Houses of Parliament that there must be full consultation with the Islands at every stage; that nothing will be done behind their backs. However, it has been agreed that the forthcoming negotiations will be bilateral, between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Argentina. The Islanders or their representatives have no locus standi.

I feel confident however that I will hear from the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, that Her Majesty's Government will have a representative of the Falkland Islanders on hand during the talks on New York next month so that the full consultations at every stage, the "nothing-done-behind-their-back" intent, will be demonstrated by Her Majesty's Government. If not, would the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, say how Her Majesty's Government intend to fulfil their avowed obligations in this respect?

Since 3rd December, 1968 there have been 19 separate references by Government spokesmen in this House alone reaffirming that there will be no transfer of sovereignty against the wishes of the Islanders, and that their wishes be paramount. On 26th September of this year the Argentinian Government said in a statement that:
"Negotiations are framed within the resolutions of the United Nations, according to which attention is to be paid to the interests of the Islanders and not to their wishes or consent".
I am pleased that my noble friend Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal mentioned this point, for I agree that we must have from Her Majesty's Government a reaffirmation on this point.

Your Lordships will further recall that in December 1968 the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, on two separate occasions stated that the then current negotiations:
"Were entirely confined to the Falkland Islands and that they did not include the dependent territories".
Your Lordships will have read the terms of reference for the forthcoming talks in New York. Inter alia, they state that Her Majesty's Government and that of Argentina will hold negotiations which will concern future political relations, including sovereignty, with regard to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands and economic co-operation with regard to the said territories in particular, and the South West Atlantic in general.

But I must stress that it is important to remember that the terms of reference further stated that the negotiations themselves are without prejudice to the position of either Government with regard to sovereignty over the Islands. Furthermore, believing as I do that one should always look even to the smallest changes in language, for one can so often glean there-from a change of heart, I was interested to note that some 18 months ago the Foreign and Commonwealth Office administered the Falkland Islands from the Dependent Territories, West Indies and Atlantic Department. The Falkland Islands are now administered by the Latin American Department.

Remembering only too well the ringing phrase of the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, during a debate on this subject in April last, that "There is a need to be robust in principle and resilient in tactic", one might be excused for thinking (to borrow a banking metaphor) that Her Majesty's Government was short in principle and long on resilience. Maybe at least the occasional protest note should have been delivered. But I do not believe that this is so, not least because I think that protest notes are first cousins to Government assurances, in that they are useless without action. On the contrary, I believe that Her Majesty's Government have been most sensible of the realities of the position.

My Lords, allow me to put it to you this way: if a party were to make a claim on someone else's property, a claim which was without foundation and devoid of any merit whatsoever, the one concrete fact which the property owner must face up to is that someone is making a claim, that a claim exists, however spurious and however inconvenient it may be. The property owner might become petulant, pretending that the claimant or his claim, did not exist; he might run away and thus lose position; he might get angry and provoke the claimant to punch him on the nose; worse still, he might punch the claimant on the nose. The proper and sensible course is either constant and continual amicable discourse, never avoiding one another, on the contrary; or recourse to a higher authority, the law, with all its available sanctions to protect the wronged. But in international relations who or what is the higher authority? The United Nations? There is a sad irony in its very name.

I believe that Her Majesty's Government are pursuing the right course resolutely and with courage and, above all, with patience, and that they deserve our trust and support in their endeavours, provided that they continually evidence their good faith and their good will by their actions. However, there is one area where Her Majesty's Government have shown little evidence of good faith or good will. During the debate on Lord Shackleton's admirable report the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, referred to the report as being "Wide-ranging, erudite and truly invaluable", and Lord Shackleton's contribution to the debate,
"Confirmed the impression of great dedication, immense knowledge and balanced recommendation, which the report itself presents".
Those are fine words. But I hate to contemplate how the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, and all those who so ably assisted him, must be feeling, fearing that the fruits of their labours will most probably be ignored, as with so many Royal Commission reports.

Everyone knows that nothing so substantiates an admirer's good will and devotion quite so effectively as when he puts his hand where it hurts most, in his pocket. Nothing would better assuage the fears of the Islanders and all those concerned than Her Majesty's Government implementing the major recommendation of the report—namely, the extension of the airstrip. From this would flow all the benefits of further economic development by private enterprise, as recommended in Lord Shackleton's report. May I remind your Lordships that so strongly did the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, feel about this matter that he said:
"I am deeply concerned that the Government will not adopt this recommendation. I stress this because we were so strongly convinced of it that we put in a recommendation ahead of the main report in order that it might be considered".
Considered it may have been; acted upon it has not. Yet as we heard yesterday at Question Time, the Government can spend £31.8 million on improving the A66 road. The cost of the airstrip development would be a fraction of that sum.

May I ask the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, whether he is aware that, as a result of his Government's procrastination on this issue, in delaying the economic development of the Islands, the young men and young women are and will be abandoning their homeland? Many of your Lordships will recall that between 22nd September and 1st October of this year the Argentinian Navy—rightly—impounded seven Soviet and two Bulgarian trawlers for patrolling and fishing well within Argentinian territorial waters, despite the fact that the USSR was Argentina's largest trading partner last year. These actions took place even as a 27-man trade delegation was in Moscow.

I do not believe that anything sinister should be read into these events, that a deal has been done out of economic expediency. I believe that Argentina wish to escape from the influence of the Soviets. It is essential that this attitude of mind be encouraged for it is in the realm of defence that the Falkland Islands have yet again become of inestimable importance to the Free World. Admiral Johnson, an admiral of the United States Navy, recently said: "The South Atlantic is rapidly becoming a Soviet lake".

Since the USSR's sphere of influence extended into the former Portuguese colonies of Eastern Africa and its islands, the Soviet Navy commands not only the Cape of Good Hope route (which carries 70 per cent. of NATO's strategic material) but could also increasingly control the Cape Horn route, thus linking the Atlantic and the Pacific. It can readily be seen that the islands in the South Atlantic chain—namely, Ascension Island, St. Helena, the Tristan da Cunha group, the Falkland Islands and Dependencies down to the British Antarctica, comprise a vital constituent in defence.

What might be called the realities of influence comprise four elements: military power, economic power, commanding respect—or a moral power—and above all presence, actually being there. This, in my humble and unsophisticated opinion, must never be forgotten. We are indeed fortunate that British people and British territories are there and that blood is thicker even than the waters of the South Atlantic. Her Majesty's Government must never think of eroding Britain's influence in this area, for any Government so doing would constitute a threat not only to the Falkland Islands but to the whole of the Free World. I do not believe that even a Socialist Government would be so irresponsible as to think in terms of—
"Who will rid me of these turbulent islands".
To do so would not only be a bitter betrayal of obligations to British people and flying in the face of countless government assurances, but from a long-term strategic and economic point of view it would be a stupidity of monumental proportions. There comes a time to all men, and even to Governments, when not only should they, to borrow the Falkland Islander's motto, "desire the right but they must do what is right and not bend to short-term political or economic expediency, for if the Socialist Government were to so weaken, you will hear once again the cry: Perfidia Albion!

May I ask the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, one more question. It is simply this: will he give an unequivocal undertaking that no transfer of sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and the Dependencies will take place without the expressed free wish of all the people of the Falkland Islands and of both Houses of Parliament? If he cannot do that, why not? I say "unequivocal", because in March 1968, in answer to a similar question put by my noble friend Lord Carrington, the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, took 212 words—I have counted every single one—to avoid answering the question. I feel confident that the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, will do much better than his predecessor.

8.2 p.m.

My Lords, may I say that to a very considerable extent I have sympathy with the noble Lord who has just spoken. Many of us who have followed the question of the Falkland Islands feel very sorry about the manner in which they have been pressured from time to time by actions which are certainly not desirable from the point of view of giving them encouragement in respect of their continuance.

I should like also to congratulate my noble friend Lord Weidenfeld on his very clear, interesting and comprehensive speech regarding the position of Israel in the present circumstances. I am sure it is hardly necessary for me to say that your Lordships will realise that I entirely agree with him and that has spared me the necessity of bringing matters on which he has spoken to the notice of the House. I would, however, say that I too am very glad indeed that the Government have seen fit to invite the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Begin, to come to this country for the purpose of discussion with our Prime Minister. I am sure that the vast majority of the country will appreciate this gesture so that the relationship between Israel and this country shall continue as it has done for many years—sometimes, albeit, with a considerable amount of difference of opinion. I think that in Israel itself, among those who are particularly liked and understood are Britons with our customs, law, judiciary, Parliamentary procedure, as I have said many times before. I know of no person who has visited Israel not to have been particularly impressed by the tremendous amount that has been done by Israel in its short period of re-existence, unless he or she is speaking with tongue in cheek.

I should like also to say that my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder, when he dealt with hijacking, put forward an extremely important point, and I hope that my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts will realise that it is impossible to wait for some nations who happen at present to be members of the United Nations, to agree to impose sanctions against themselves. We cannot wait any longer for definite steps to be taken against hijacking by peoples in what I call the civilised countries of the world who are prepared to co-operate. We cannot continue to risk the lives of British or any other people, and we cannot risk the lives of those who are carrying passengers and cargo by air simply because we are standing by.

I cannot remember how long it is since I first raised this matter myself in your Lordships' House or indeed in the other place. We have to do something, whether various people like it or not, because they are the very people who ought to be prevented from having any possible means of transport brought to them by air services. It seems to me absolutely clear and I was glad that my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder raised the point, and I do hope that my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts, who has a clear mind and a good heart in these matters, will see to it that we have no further difficulties with regard to that terrible vice. Indeed, the noble Lord who intervened yesterday at Question Time practically admitted that the PLO are behind some hijacking. They are training people to kill other people. But of course it is not only a question of Israel, one can see now how terrorism and violence lead to further terrorism and violence against everyone. Civilians are being killed and people of whatever nation are being killed. Hostages are being killed. It is a dreadful outlook for the world if we do not stop it at once.

Now I come to what is rather a contentious business. I believe in the United Nations. If it observes its Charter, it could be a proper and important instittution: there is no question about that. But certainly something will have to be done in order to make it a United Nations in accordance with the Charter. Let me give some illustrations. I doubt whether Members of this House or of another place realise what is happening. While burning issues press upon mankind, the General Assembly, prompted by the Arab blocs and oiled by petro-dollars and key bloc voting Powers, continues to be obsessed with the "Middle East menace". It has been very carefully worked out that over 60 per cent. of its time is devoted to tiny Israel. In dealing with the position of Israel, I wish people in the country would realise that.

The General Assembly Plenary has on its agenda the situation in the Middle East, and the question of Palestine. The Special Political Committee has nine separate draft resolutions on the Middle East all directed against Israel, the Second Committee has two and the Third, Fifth and Sixth Committees have the balance. How can that possibly be, in an Assembly which is supposed to be dealing with the vast problems that face the world?

All this, despite the fact that the United Nations Charter has as its purpose the development of friendly relations among nations, the promotion of international co-operation and the maintenance of peace and security. All this, in the face of a threatening conflagration in the Lebanon in which, unhappily, many thousands of Christians were killed. All this, in spite of various matters with which we have to deal. All this, while international terrorists lurk at airports to seize and threaten innocent hostages. They have learned their lesson well, having been instructed and inspired by the Palestine Liberation Organisation to which I referred. The world organisation has failed to ban terrorists through international law, and dallies in enacting legislation to make the taking of hostages a crime. This is a fact and it is what is happening at the present time.

With the vindictive multiple sanctions imposed upon Israel, Syria disclosed a hidden aim early in the session. Its Foreign Minister stated,
"We call upon the international community to apply against Israel "—
I am going to talk a little about what Israel has done in the last 30 years—
"those sanctions provided for under the Charter, and to reconsider Resolution 273 under which Israel was admitted to the United Nations".
I appeal to my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts to see what can be done.

I have been to the States and was at a conference at which I heard the President of America, as well as Vance and Young. It was a Jewish meeting, and they expressed themselves in no uncertain terms about the necessity and importance of Israel. They kept on talking about how it was necessary to have proper security there. I ask my noble friend: how can Israel have proper security which is what it wants?—as I said at a meeting of the Jewish Board of Deputies at which the Prime Minister was present a very short time ago. It does not want the blood of any person of any nation other than an Israeli to be shed in its defence, although of course they are very distressed when an Israeli is killed. I do not know whether people realise that. Israel has never set out to attack anything other than the ravages of nature, to remove erosion from the land to make it worthwhile to live in, to remove malaria, not only for the benefit of the inhabitants of Israel, but of those far beyond it. I appeal to my noble friend and his colleagues in the Government to view this matter in that perspective.

This is the 60th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. The Balfour Declaration was not just brought on at a moment's notice. It was carefully considered and weighed up by Parliament. It was made before the people were influenced by blackmail. Before blackmail came on the scene, the United Nations considered the creation of the State of Israel which, incidentally, is about to observe the 30th anniversary of its existence. Four thousand years of recorded history have left their imprint on the land of Israel and its people. Ideas born there long ago continue to influence the course of human events. We are on the verge today of a very interesting anniversary, the anniversary of the victory of Judas Maccabeus over his opponents, and it was he and his brave supporters who made it possible for religion to continue. Idolatry was wiped out because of Judas Maccabeus and his army, the Jews; and, if they were alive today, they would be Zionist. The Israel of today, its tradition and history, leaves everybody who sees it filled with great emotion and great interest.

From the day of the inception of the State of Israel, it has yearned for peace—and I am now giving the true facts which have been so twisted and so turned by the media, and by a powerful Arab public relations machine which has spent millions of pounds in order to get people to believe that the true position is not the true position, which has influenced the minds of so many people—starting with the very moment of the joint Arab onslaught by the surrounding countries on the newborn State, and through each of the subsequent wars generated by relentless Arab hostility and refusal to recognise the sovereign right to exist of the Jewish State in its historic homeland, with the same people, the same language, the same religion as in the days of the Bible. It is a unique performance and a unique phenomenon among nations, with Jewish people being there for the whole of that period.

This yearning for peace has manifested itself time and again in Israel's call for direct negotiations with her neighbours to solve the conflict, at any time and place, without prior conditions though, clearly, each party to the conflict would come to such talks with prior positions, which is its legitimate right. These very days, Israel has once again voiced a readiness to go to the Geneva Middle East Peace Conference in such a spirit and her readiness, affirmed by the President of the United States himself, has once again yet to be responded to meaningfully by the Arabs.

Within a few years of its rebirth in 1948 Israel had established strong and manifold links with developing lands in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean basin. Leaders of struggling national liberation movements and of emerging States, especially in Africa and Asia, quickly began to seek knowledge from Israel's experience of modernisation and its broad approach to development. This interest, and the multiplying exchanges to which it led, is still to be observed in more than one of the African States which formally suspended diplomatic relations with Israel after the war of October 1973, under the blackmail, or "blackmoil" and coercion.

Today Israel still takes an active part, with observer status, in such organisations as the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Not a few third countries and international organisations have made agreements with Israel jointly to undertake and carry out projects in the developing world. The number of men and women from the developing world who underwent training in Israel between 1958 and 1974 was 18,500.

In those 16 years 6,000 Israeli experts went on United Nations and other official missions to many parts of the developing world, besides a large contingent of advisers from Israel who represented private and public enterprises. Local training has been given and overseas aid, counsel and instruction have been made available in every critical area of development: agriculture and rural societies, co-operatives and trade unions, youth movements, special curricula for women, community evolution, health services, schemes of overall regional and integrated planning, irrigation, meteorology, the building of highways, State lotteries, hotel keeping and every relevant branch of science and technology, with emphasis on the medical and surgical elimination of endemic ills.

On Mount Carmel in Haifa there is a permanent college for the concentrated teaching of skills and philosophies that are designed to give women of the developing world an inspiration and capacity each to play a greater and more direct part in her community. In Tel Aviv, the Histadrut—that is, the trade union—runs an Afro-Asian institute where advanced courses in organisation, co-operation and the labour movement in general are given to civil servants and trade unionists from all over Asia and Africa. Every three years since 1960, within the precincts of the Weizmann Institute of Science, at Rehovot, the Government of Israel have sponsored and organised, giving gladly of its welcome and hospitality, an international conference, designed to bring together, in an encounter of cross-fertilisation of searching minds, the two great movements of our times—scientific development and national liberation. The primary aim of these conferences is to ensure genuine dialogue and closer co-operation between statesmen and major public servants and scientists in areas of common interest. So far, in every instance the subjects have been geared to the good and advancement of the Third World. They have been the science and advancement of new States, the comprehensive planning of agriculture in developing countries, health problems in developing countries, science and education in developing countries, and so on. The Arabs are looked after in just the same way as the Jews in the Government's labour exchanges. Workers, be they Jews or Arabs, are paid equal wages for equal work.

Israel has done very much more during the short period of its existence and I hope that at a future date I shall be able to refer to these topics. This land, with more than 40 per cent. of its national product being used for defensive purposes and surrounded by enemies, is surely an example to the rest of the world. When dealing with matters pertaining to Israel we should realise that it is the only democratic State in the Middle East and that if there were not an Israel we should have to create an Israel for the purpose of dealing with some of the questions which have been referred to in our debates. I hope that my noble friend and his colleagues will see to it that Israel is given fair and proper treatment in international deliberations, that the United Nations is not allowed to act in the manner to which I have referred, and that we adopt morals and principles rather than expediency in our dealing with Israel.

8.29 p.m.

My Lords, once more I should like to raise the question of Russian cut-price shipping tactics. Having been in another place for 38 years, I have learned that in order to get something done one has to keep on raising the same question until action is taken. That is why I am again raising the question today. I am glad to say that some progress has been made. Also I am very glad to be able to say that the General Council of British Shipping, the Government, the Opposition and almost everybody are co-operating, so far as they can, on this matter. This is the good feature of a very difficult problem for British shipping. The General Council of British Shipping has denounced the action of the Russians as economic warfare, designed to cause the collapse of Free World shipping. I believe that everybody agrees that this would be an absolute disaster. Therefore, even though I shall have to repeat some of the points I made before, I feel that perhaps it is worth while to do so.

We have been arguing about this with the General Council of British Shipping for, I should think, about two years and it gave me great pleasure to realise that Mr. Clinton Davis, a Minister for Trade in the present Government, had finally decided to go personally to Russia in order to discuss the matter. He went both to Moscow and to Leningrad. I think he stayed for three days and we are all very grateful that he found time to do this, but finally he left without having come to any agreement with the Russians and indeed he said that the talks were "disappointing" It amuses me sometimes when people say merely that the talks were somewhat disappointing when I should certainly use much stronger terms! At any rate that is what he said and no further meeting has been arranged with the Russians. That is very sad indeed from the point of view of our General Council of British Shipping and all those who are interested in this particular subject.

Then, much to my pleasure, Mr. Clinton Davis set off the other day for Luxembourg, where he is raising the matter with the appropriate section of the European Community and all those who are interested in Free World shipping—that is, in keeping it free from domination by the Russians. Presumably, he took part in the debate in Luxembourg but I have no further knowledge about it and I am wondering whether the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, has received any information from Mr. Clinton Davis as to what happened, because we should all be very glad to hear about it. We are determined to fight on until we win what the General Council of British Shipping and all those who want shipping to be properly protected are seeking. We like to keep in touch with what is happening.

Part of the difficulty in your Lordships' House is that undertakings are sometimes given but those who want the undertakings—and I am looking forward to receiving a favourable reply tonight—never hear anything more about the matter. For all I know, the General Council of British Shipping may have the information now; when one is speaking for an organisation, one does not always know what news it has received. However, I am pleased that we have got so far.

I shall detain your Lordships no longer because I feel that, as we are all concerned in this matter, I do not need to put forward any further arguments. We are determined to battle until we win. We are going to protect our own shipping interests and we are going to have free world shipping. Therefore, I look forward to a very favourable reply and I thank your Lordships for allowing me to have these few minutes in which to put the case forward.

8.34 p.m.

My Lords, as a long standing student of Soviet policy and affairs I have been struck in recent years by the phenomenal development of the Soviet Navy. Why does the greatest land power need one of the greatest navies? Like the great German navy before 1914, it is difficult to see how it can be needed just for national defence. It contains unprecedented numbers of submarines, many times more numerous and many times more effective than anything Germany had in the last war. I am told that the Russians are launching a new nuclear submarine approximately every month and all this is backed by a great extension of Soviet fishing stations and hydrographic surveying all over the world. Why?

The answer, which I have long surmised, is to be found in a fascinating book written by Admiral S. G. Gorshkov, a most able, intelligent and remarkable man who for some 20 years has been Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Navy. The book is entitled Red Star Rising at Sea and a good translation has been published in the United States of America with some very perspicacious comments by American admirals. I make no apology for giving your Lordships a short summary of this book because, obviously, it could only have been published by the Soviet State Publishing Corporation with official approval.

Admiral Gorshkov traces the long history of the Russian Navy and ascribes many of Russia's past disasters to its weaknesses. The Russian defeat in 1903 at the hands of the Japanese obviously springs to mind. He then describes the immense advantages which British naval power, for instance, brought to Great Britain: the ability to apply pressure and to prevent others from applying pressure all over the world; the ability to support commerce and to show the flag anywhere, to win friends and allies to help and protect them; the ability to secure and to develop sources of food, raw materials and other products vital for the development of our industrial and other requirements, and, in war, the ability to protect Britain's own commerce and to interfere with the commerce of hostile and unfriendly powers and, more especially, to aid the general war effort of our armed forces and the vital industries behind them.

Surely, Admiral Gorshkov argues in his book, the Soviet Union, as a super power, cannot now afford to neglect this lesson. He sets out a policy basis for the expansion of the Soviet fleet. He says that the Soviet fleet should not be regarded as an independent entity; it should be a constituent part of all the Soviet armed forces and should make a full contribution to the development of Soviet policy in peace and of Soviet strategic requirements in war. The Soviet fleet should no longer be regarded as a mere adjunct of the army for coastal defence. It must operate in all the oceans and to all the continents, and it must accordingly be built up on the broadest basis to meet all requirements for a large ocean-going fleet, with surface ships and submarines of all modern types, aircraft cover, missiles of all sorts, supply and depôt ships, overseas bases, et cetera. Admiral Gorshkov says that the fleet should regularly visit ports all over the world. Every sailor should be an ambassador for his country and create goodwill and admiration for the Soviet Union. Every opportunity should be taken to get to know and to understand the peoples of those areas and their problems, including their relations with the so-called imperialist countries. The naval officers and staff must become familiar with foreign ports, foreign peoples, foreign seas and the climatic and political conditions to be found there. The fishing fleets should also sail about extensively in the course of their business and perform similar functions in their own way. They clearly represent an extra research and familiarisation capability. Admiral Gorshchov does not mention the Cuban crisis very much but it is obvious that it must have spurred him on to develop his very broad thesis.

To conclude this section of my speech I think I should add that, as many noble Lords have pointed out, the remarkable expansion of the Soviet Navy is more than paralleled on land and in the air by the vast increase of missiles, tanks, aeroplanes and other conventional weapons. In spite of the minor progress in the SALT talks, I find this extraordinarily difficult to reconcile with the Helsinki and Belgrade conferences and all the talk about détente. I am all for détente on any given subject. I have worked for it for years in the Diplomatic Service. But in dealing with the Russians it is vital not to be bamboozled.

Now, my Lords, as an ex-diplomat, I want to look around the world against this background and see how we in the West seem to be getting on. It is not that I want to take exception to much that Admiral Gorshkov has said, although like all Soviet writers he woefully misrepresents many of our own policies in the past. But I do want to press your Lordships to realise, as many previous speakers have said, that we ought to be reassessing our defence policies and some of our foreign policies in the light of what is clearly a very grave implied threat to the Western world. I am very far from sure that the references to defence in the gracious Speech provide all that is required. For what do we see? NATO would in a crisis require an enormous amount of shipping to move across the Atlantic before its forces could be deployed in adequate strength to keep the conventional forces of the Warsaw Pact in certain and prolonged check. Against this formidable Soviet force of submarines, missiles and surface ships, can we really be sure of our combined ability to carry out these shipping movements? Our own relatively small but modern Navy is part of the NATO defence effort, but surely it should not in such circumstances be so reduced or starved of funds. Surely we shall require more and not less air cover at sea. Is this really the time to phase out our aircraft carriers just when Russia is building them? I foresee that one day our politicians may well be held guilty of gross negligence if they do not forthwith remedy our present grave deficiencies now that our financial situation is improving.

There is now virtually no effective British Fleet outside North Atlantic waters, though the Americans, fortunately, operate in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. Yet just look at NATO's immense dependence on overseas oil, especially from the Persian Gulf, most of it travelling round the Cape of Good Hope. How right President Carter is to try to reduce United States dependence on imported oil. If anything really happened to interfere with this vast traffic could we be sure to maintain it? If not, could we keep our factories and economies going on both sides of the Atlantic and also give our Armed Forces all the oil they must have in order to be effective? Let us never forget that oil was Germany's Achilles' heel.

I draw your attention to the fact that when the Anglo-Saxons move out from anywhere the Russians seem to tend to move in. The captain of the port of Aden is now a Russian. The Russians now have a naval mission in India. The Russians now have naval establishments and facilities on both sides of Africa. If we persist in supporting policies which seem bound to destroy the European civilisation of Southern Africa I have no doubt the Russians will in due course be in Simonstown also. I should find it very difficult to think of anything more harmful to our long-term interests, political, strategic and economic, or more likely to risk a miscalculation by the hawks of the Kremlin.

I have not mentioned the sending of Cuban forces to Angola, Mozambique and Ethiopia and the arming and training of guerrilla forces in Africa. I draw your Lordships' attention to the total inconsistency between these developments and the so-called policy of détente embodied in the Helsinki agreements. When, in 1968, I visited the USSR with a Parliamentary delegation, they gave us a memorandum on Soviet policy. It contained one sentence which struck me as really new. This said:
"It must always be remembered that a war of liberation is never a war of aggression".
The Russians do not need to control Africa, although it seems to me that they are going a fair distance in that direction. They really just need chaos there. The resulting loss of trade and raw materials would deal another terrible blow to our recession-struck economies in the West and especially to Britain. Thank goodness! we avoided general economic sanctions against South Africa. We may refuse to export arms, but the guerrillas will get them all right. Is that really what our interests require?

Admiral Gorshkov repeatedly says that the virility of a country's armed forces depends essentially on the virility of its economy. Given the deplorable state of our shipyards, would it not pay handsomely to start building up our fleet? We have lamentably few frigates and escort vessels compared with what was found absolutely essential in the last war. Why does the Government not order some now that oil revenues are coming in? This would help the shipyards, British Steel and the many engineering, electronic and other industries involved. It would unquestionably increase employment. It would almost certainly help to get export orders for ships, arms and equipment of all sorts. May I say, having for a long time been mixed up with the export effort, that one cannot export ships and arms unless one's own Government is ordering them; the foreign buyer will not otherwise have much confidence in them. I hope that this general idea will be agreeable to the noble Baroness who spoke just before me.

Now I want to urge that we should think further about withdrawing our forces from East of Suez. I am now quite sure that it was entirely wrong to desert our friends in that way. In the light of Admiral Gorshkov's book, it is clear that we have handed over our priceless assets of overseas friendships on a plate. Not for nothing does the Koran say, "Allah loveth a strong man and despiseth a weakling." Please reflect a little, my Lords, on who wants us to be weak.

Coming back to what Admiral Gorshkov said about the need for a virile and successful economy, let us not forget the able sapping and undermining of our economy by the Marxists here at home, some of them in very influential positions indeed. Our economic policies in recent years—clearly I cannot speak of them in detail in this debate—have fuelled inflation with huge budgetary deficits and an inadequate control of the money supply. The incomes and price control policies and burdensome taxation have rendered both sides of industry quite desperate, and are terribly discouraging to the exercise of skill, initiative and effort by either management or labour. These policies, necessary as they may seem on a short view, have created conditions in which it is fatally easy for Communist and Marxists to stir up trouble in one place after another. Stalin said that in preparing a revolution you must have small successes every day. I have a strong hunch that Marxist policies are now being ably co-ordinated as they were in the autumn of 1973.

Has it struck you, my Lords, that the parading of Communists from the Yorkshire coalfields and elsewhere outside Grunwick every Monday, contrary to the wishes of the TUC or APEX, looks very much like a dress rehearsal? Add to that the frequent newspaper strikes by Left-wing journalists and printers; the truly impudent black-out of the gracious Speech by Left-wingers in the BBC; the recent disgraceful action by a minority of power workers, contrary to the policy of their union, to deprive the community of power; the constant crippling strikes in the automobile factories and component suppliers; the obvious preparation of the Communist-led Scottish and Yorkshire miners to create major trouble this winter—add all those together and it looks to me very like a series of dress rehearsals for some sort of direct action this winter.

Could the Government retain any means of informing and leading the public if the BBC, the newspaper printers and the power supply all packed up together? Might it be co-ordinated with some major threat overseas or in foreign affairs? I do not want to be alarmist, but I know from long experience that we cannot have an effective foreign or defence policy as long as we let our internal affairs get into such a mess. I am concerned that we should not be complacent about this country's dreadful decline in power to defend itself and in prosperity, internal discipline, law and order and prestige abroad.

We have heard a lot about the percentage of our gross domestic product which we spend on defence comparing well with the percentage of other countries. However, please take into account the fact that our gross domestic product has fallen to a disgracefully low level. The gracious Speech contains the usual phraseology about NATO, Europe and defence. I welcome this and I also greatly welcome the most constructive explanations of the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, in this speech this evening. However, I still think that we should do more, indeed, much more, in view of the external and internal threat to our national freedom and prosperity, and I am not sure how much time we have.

May I say in conclusion that we are now in a situation where I honestly believe that neither Party can expect to go it alone successfully. If the great Parties want this country to survive, as I know a very large majority of their members do, then, when the General Election is over, they must—and I repeat must—find some means to stop their eternal confrontations, which are so very counter-productive, and work together to get some sort of consensus on the major issues which have to be solved in order to set this country back on a good road. I believe that the need for a measure of sensible consensus is now widely recognised, but obviously it will require real statesmanship. I also believe that the great leaders that we have on both sides have the qualities to accomplish this difficult task.

8.54 p.m.

My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Hankey, and I heartily agree with what he has said. I should like to revert to the gracious Speech for a few moments. The two most important Bills to be brought before Parliament are, of course, the Bills to do with the devolution of Scotland and Wales and the Bill to do with direct elections to the European Parliament. However, have not the Government got their priorities wrong? Should not the Bill for direct elections to the European Parliament come first?

We heard the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, say in his excellent speech—and I agree with him—that although Europe, meaning the EEC and the Continent of Europe, likes us very much it says, as regards our industry, that it does not think a lot of our efficiency. Indeed, if we cannot even run a football match without hooliganism it will take a very poor view. Surely, Europe will take a poorer view if we are not ready next summer—some time in June—I am not sure of the date—to have our Bill for direct elections to the European Parliament made into an Act. Surely, if that is not so, we shall break faith with our partners in the EEC. I think that that would be far more serious than anthing else. Of course, there is plenty of time for the devolution Bills to get through Parliament. There is a whole year and the Government, if they like, can extend the term. However, I impress on the Government that in my view it is important to have the direct elections Bill first.

I agree that the EEC has been rather disappointing, but it is in its infancy and the Common Agricultural Policy needs a great deal of improving. Once we have direct elections and once Parliament is directly elected from all countries it will be a far better body. I am sure that directly electing Members will cure the extreme bureaucracy in the EEC and the directly elected Members will have more power than the nominated Members. However, as the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, said, we must approach the EEC with great tact and diplomacy. Even though we have the oil we must not appear to be bullies; we must use tact.

Having divested ourselves of an Empire what are we to do? We appear to have lost our way. We have certainly lost our way at home through permissive ideology and we appear to have lost our way in foreign affairs. Few former imperial Powers have made a comeback. I believe that if we play our part well in the EEC there is no reason—the signs are that our economy is strengthening with the oil—why we should not make a comeback. We should whole-heartedly face our European destiny and not do so by half measures. Let us imagine that Europe had been united in the 20th century. How different would the world be today if we, the Christian States of Europe, had expanded in unison instead of strife! I am sure that the forces of evil would not now encircle the world as they do at present.

I shall not speak at any length, but merely refer to the question of détente about which we have heard a great deal today. Like many others, I, from an early age, made a study of the Communist creed and religion. As I have often said, by all means have détente but do not expect anything back from it. It is a one-way traffic. By all means deal with the Soviet Government on every occasion one can. However, as regards the Communist bloc and international Communism they will take all and you can expect nothing back. Provided we understand that we can come to no harm.

In the eyes of the United Nations apparently Russia and the Communist bloc can do no harm. They can indulge, as we have heard today, in mass murder, imprisonment without trial, torture and subversion, and the West, presumably for fear of offending the Marxist bloc in the UN, aquiesce or at least appear to do so. As we have heard today, we even help Marxist régimes by giving them money, to the great discomfort of people who I will call our friends, and they really would be our friends if they had the chance.

The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, tabled a Question yesterday about Cambodia. I cannot quite remember its terms, but he asked why the United Nations had not taken a stand on the reputed murder of one million people by the Communists in Cambodia. That is an old, old story. There have been many of these appalling mass murders by the Communists and frequent complete violations of all human rights. Where will the next subversion and mass murder take place? I do not want to bring Party politics into this, but if we are to take the cue from a fringe meeting of the British Labour Party at the Labour Party Conference—and I quite agree that it is nothing to do with the Government or Members opposite—presumably Thailand will be the next victim. If Thailand goes, I suppose that Malaysia, Singapore and so on will follow. I believe that the same thing will happen in South America.

My information may be wrong but I heard—and I find this hard to believe—that the overseas development organisation has been giving money to the Chilean Communist Party. I cannot believe that. I can only presume that they have been helping refugees. That is all right if they are 100 per cent. sure that the money goes towards alleviating the suffering of refugees from aggression in Chile. If the overseas development organisation makes a habit of this, I hope that equally it helps refugees from Communist aggression. Perhaps the Minister could give some assurance on that point.

We have been told in this debate that, thanks to Mrs. Hart and the Overseas Development Ministry, we have given another £5 million to Mozambique. If that is for viable trade I have no objection; but is it? A few months ago I think we gave them another £15 million. I heard that not all that money arrived at its proper destination once it reached Mozambique. It is extraordinary how money vanishes in Africa. It was our noble Leader Lord Carrington who said at the Conservative Party Conference that the Government have found that they are able to give funds to Marxist régimes but cannot allocate sufficient funds for our defence. However, I must not bring Party politics into this debate.

I find it rather difficult to discover what our foreign policy is. The gracious Speech says:
"They will continue to contribute modern and effective forces to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".
However, we have heard today that we do not appear to be doing so. I shall not enlarge on that matter, as other speakers have done so. I am also confused by President Carter. It is essential that the Americans, with their vast military and economic power, have a strong foreign policy. I heartily agree with President Carter's human rights policy, which is most commendable, but I doubt whether that will impress the Kremlin. After all, slogans are no use for foreign policy. Any nation's foreign policy must be based on realities. Moral doctrines are all very well but reality is the important thing, and the military power of the Communist bloc is the great reality today. That is why it saddens me to see any rundown of our Armed Forces. I am sure that the Pentagon will put President Carter on the right lines and that he will be realistic.

I hope, too, that Dr. Owen will be realistic. For a few minutes I should like to refer to the southern half of Africa. It has amazed me for a long time that highly intelligent men like Dr. Owen and the majority of his generation, who have had the benefit of a high level of education, persist in what I can only call a fetish of the validity of majority rule for the African continent when all evidence to date has been otherwise. Majority rule in Africa has proved the negation of democracy. I do not object to that so much because it obviously does not suit the Africans and perhaps it is impertinent of us to try to force it on them. But I rather object to the hypocrisy that says that by majority rule we shall give the Africans individual freedom, because nearly always the reverse is the case. Of course, in one or two cases, there has been a return to the most primitive savagery. I beg Dr. Owen, who is after all a medical man and was brought up to the value of human life, to desist, as I am sure he will, from precipitating any action in Rhodesia or South Africa which might lead to an escalation of bloodshed. It is a fact that since the European Powers withdrew from Africa, bloodshed and misery in many parts of Africa have been all too common.

I am glad to see that we have been realistic enough to veto trade sanctions against South Africa. Of course it was self-interest to do this because we do not want half of Southampton docks unemployed. I have spoken before on the vast mineral resources of Africa, and said that if the West lost them to the Russians it would be very difficult for us. I do not want to go on, but I should just like to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Bethell, on his speech because it is true that we should stand up to the "hypocrisy of the United Nations" that I think the noble Lord was referring to when he spoke; the hypocrisy that decrees that Communist States cannot violate human rights and that only white men can be racist. I should like to conclude by reminding the House that, in the end, if you read history, civilisation owes more to order than to liberal ideology.

9.10 p.m.

My Lords, I am sorry that my noble friend Lord Chalfont has withdrawn, as I believe he had a very important contribution to make. However, it gives rise to an unusual situation: Montgomery promoted by Chalfont. Readers of military biographies will agree that that is unusual, so things are looking up. The noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, invited us to comment on different aspects of foreign affairs, and we all seem to have rather different views as to what is important. Obviously, defence is vital, but I believe that our continuing prosperity depends largely on overseas trade, and that that should be strong. Although it is less esoteric than some of the other subjects chosen today, I believe, as my noble friend Lord Shinwell said, that it is realistic.

In this context I should like to refer briefly to the CPRS report on overseas representation. I make these brief comments now in case some of the recommendations, which could be harmful to our overseas trade, are allowed to influence policy making and organisational decisions in the Foreign Office. The CPRS report goes to great length—and this may be a reflection on the intellectual calibre of the compilers—to quantify overseas representation in terms of cost effectiveness. As a result, they have overlooked important aspects of our overseas representation which cannot be measured, but which may well be of inestimable value.

Much of our overseas representation is sales promotional, and there is no way, and never has been, of evaluating the effectiveness of advertising or sales promotion. Only subsequent results prove the point and even then it is difficult to attribute directly. At the same time it is extremely difficult to measure initiative in generating new sales of British exports and/or new trading activities. These are very important activities, but essentially matters of judgment.

The report has graded overseas missions on the basis of existing levels of trade, without any reference to future potential, and consequently recommends the elimination of a number of smaller missions, and their possible replacement by multiple accreditation. This has disadvantages, and I believe there is a strong case for the mini-Embassy, the possibility of which is contemplated in the report.

I should like to illustrate this briefly by reference to two different parts of Latin America. I have personal knowledge of both of them from frequent visits over many years. First, Central America: the British missions in Honduras and Nicaragua have already been closed, and others are threatened.

Although Central America is a supposed regional Common Market, it does not work very well for a variety of reasons, and the countries need to be taken individually. Rather than close missions in this area of high potential for British trade, I believe there is a good case for having mini-Embassies in all countries. These might in some cases be as small as one Grade 4 or 5 officer with a secretary. The Central American mini-Embassies would or should have access to a major embassy, such as Mexico, for rations and discipline and for representation at the highest level, when required.

A very similar situation exists in the southern part of Latin America where there are question marks over the missions in Paraguay and Uruguay. If these were mini-Embassies in the future they could well come under the general guidance of a major mission in Argentina, and still serve a most valuable purpose in the promotion of overseas trade.

These smaller commands for career officers at a level which I have suggested would be rather like seconding company commanders to independent duties, and I believe they would be valuable. I am sure it would show considerable advantages both for them and for visiting businessmen. A British businessman visiting Latin America needs far more assistance than when travelling in Europe, which is near at hand. They therefore undertake longer tours, have language problems, need guidance about whom to talk to, require introductions at the right political level and so on.

As I have said, I believe that the underlying philosophy of this report, which appears to be looking for economy and not for opportunity, is wrong. Some of the more petty and carping remarks in the report about entertainment and accommodation are really so unworthy as not to merit consideration at all. Apart from anything else, such remarks are demoralising for the Diplomatic Service, which is one of the most valuable and efficient parts of our total Government machinery. As one who has had occasion to use our Diplomatic Services in pursuit of increased overseas trade, I hold them in the highest regard and admiration.

I wish briefly to mention the Falkland Islands. I should have liked to take up some of the points made in the excellent speech of my noble friend Lord Morris, but time does not permit. I will merely congratulate the Government for the initiative they have taken in proceeding with the discussions with Argentina next month. These will be welcomed by all those who have Anglo-Argentine relations at heart and I am sure will be beneficial to all concerned, particularly the Islanders. I must take issue with my noble friend Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal for his unfriendly remarks about Argentina. I would remind him that trade with that great country is now well over £100 million annually and that British investment is many times greater.

I come to a different aspect of our relations with Latin America, namely the vexed subject of our involvement and relations with Chile. In the summer Dr. Sergio De Castro, Chilean Minister of Finance, visited the United Kingdom as part of a tour of European countries to establish his country's new programme of economic recovery. He was not received by any Minister of Her Majesty's Government, nor by any official. At the same time we continue to have no diplomatic representation at ambassador level in Chile, and I believe that both these things are wrong.

The fact that the present British Government do not agree with some of the policies of the present Chilean Government is no argument. When Ministers come here to explain their policies and plans, every opportunity should be taken to talk to them, especially if they are in responsible positions. One cannot expect to exert influence on any country if one ignores it and does not have any dialogue. I believe it is petty minded, like sanctions and embargoes.

The point I really want to make is that it is fundamental for our overseas trade that we should have diplomatic representation at the right level, that we should extend the proper courtesies to visiting Ministers, especially when they come from countries with which we have such long-established trading links and where trade is mutually beneficial to both our economies. Markets take a long time to build up but are easily knocked down. All this applies universally, and not only to Chile, but it is particularly frustrating that a market which has taken years of hard work by British industrialists, British businessmen and Government Departments to establish should be denigrated by both Government and media. I hope Lord Winterbottom will be able to give us some satisfaction concerning the treatment, both of representatives from Latin America and of representation in Latin America.

9.20 p.m.

My Lords, we have had a very wide ranging debate, and many aspects of foreign affairs have been referred to. The noble Viscount who has just spoken has talked about overseas trade, and in his introductory speech at the beginning of the debate, the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, referred to the danger of a relapse into protectionism with unemployment at current levels. I was glad that he went on to repeat the Government's commitment to work for the success of the current round of multilateral talks on tariff reductions. The Director General of GATT yesterday indicated the extent to which protectionist measures over the past three years had affected world trade, but he was quite confident that this trend could be reversed if countries had the will, and I take it from the reaffirmation of the noble Lord that the Government of this country have the will.

I should like to join in expressing revulsion at the recent actions of the South African Government which were referred to by the noble Lords, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, and Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal. Unlike the noble Lord, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, I am glad that agreement was eventually reached at the United Nations on a mandatory arms embargo.

The noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, emphasised the might of Russia, and the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, showed how the nuclear stalemate increased the significance and the threat of Russia's conventional superiority. That threat must be faced squarely, and I agree with those who have said that we cannot afford to weaken the NATO shield. But even while we maintain its strength, we must look where we can for signs of possible disarmament, and it is encouraging to know that things appear to be going well so far as the SALT talks are concerned. I very much hope that at some time we shall have some satisfactory outcome from the MBFR discussions.

There is also the review conference in Belgrade, and here I think we are in a great difficulty because differences of ideology make it very difficult indeed for East and West to talk to each other, to understand each other, to speak in the same philosophical language. In the East, there is the philosophy of collectivism where the rights of the group are more important than the rights of the individual. Even though constitutions in those countries may guarantee the rights of the individual, it is done in the context of the rights of the group, the rights of the collective. We are therefore in the difficult position that we want to defend freedom, we want to stand up for the individual human rights in which we believe, and at the same time we want to make progress towards détente. We want, as the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, said, to do business with the Governments, while we do not betray the principles in which we believe.

The gracious Speech says that the
"…Government will play a full and co-operative part in the activities, the development and the enlargement of the European Economic Community".
Here I should like to emphasise a point made by my noble friend Lord Gladwyn earlier this afternoon, when he referred to the Prime Minister's letter to the Labour Party National Executive Committee. I was not so happy with that letter as was the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth. I agree that the letter might well have been worse. It did not argue for withdrawal. It argued for reform from within the Community, which, as a principle, is sound enough, but it put the defence of the independence of nationl Governments and national Parliaments at the top of the list of aims, and it showed, I believe, a marked hostility to the supranational principle. It seemed to be saying so far as that was concerned, "So far and no further", or perhaps, "So far is too far".

Enlargement was welcomed as being likely to keep the EEC as a loose association of nation States, and some of us feel that that is a recipe for breakdown. If there are to be 12 sovereign national States, each with a veto in those matters which are within the competence of the Community institutions, that would seem to be a recipe for paralysis of decision.

There must be some reform of the decision-making process, it seems to me, and it must precede enlargement. Enlargement is clearly going to be a major operation. Of course, the political arguments for it are very strong. It is natural that we should want to bolster and consolidate democracy, so recently restored in Greece after an interlude of authoritarian rule and so recently returned to Spain and Portugal after years of dictatorship. As the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, said, it would set the seal on their commitment to democracy. But not only would it involve institutional problems; it would involve a very considerable transfer of resources as well, and this point was high-lighted very recently by Mr. Roy Jenkins, now President of the EEC Commission. Where large transfers of resources have to take place, it seems to me that the case for closer integration and for the development of the supranational aspect of the EEC is strengthened.

That leads me to comment briefly on the suggestions put forward by Mr. Jenkins with regard to economic and monetary union. What he said was that the only real answer to chronic inflation and high unemployment is through the establishment of a single European currency and the centralisation of monetary policy; and a similar view was expressed by Mr. Christopher Tugendhat, our other Commissioner at the EEC and a former Conservative Member of Parliament. They are not saying that this must happen at once, but what they are saying is that if we are to tackle inflation and unemployment then we shall have to do this. If they are right in what they say, or if there is a possibility that they are right in what they say, then we cannot afford to leave this subject off our agenda. Mr. Jenkins said that it would of course mean some loss of national control over important aspects of macro-economic policy; we would lose that to the EEC. But he also pointed out that countries within the European Community from time to time accept very sharp surveillance from the International Monetary Fund.

He also proposed that the monetary union which he had in mind should be highly decentralised; that, as he said, public procurement of goods and services would remain primarily in national, regional and other hands; and that there would be much less central expenditure than in the conventional type of federal system, though there would have to be a transfer of some expenditure from national States to the EEC to develop and expand the Regional Fund, which, once it was no longer possible to alter the exchange rates as a means of protection, would become necessary. Mr. Jenkins said that he realised that a long period of coordination would be necessary, and he saw that period as being a series of steps towards what he called "the ultimate leap". I think what he wanted to do was to start a debate on the subject, and I very much hope that he will be successful in that. Again, I think it is very much a question of direction, as I have mentioned in your Lordships' House before: that what we need to have in our minds is a sense of direction so far as the EEC is concerned; not necessarily to assume that we can get to our goal in a very short period of time—it may take a long time—but that we should have some knowledge of where we are going. I think our debate about that must include a debate about these proposals for economic monetary union and their relation to unemployment and inflation.

The gracious Speech has in it a splendid paragraph which expresses the Government's intention to work for a more stable world economy. That leads me to turn to the negotiations in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, better known as UNCTAD. The noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, said earlier that the Government were committed to work for the success of that conference and I am sure that that is their intention; but we remember the previous unhappy conference in May 1976 when there was division among the industrialised countries and within the EEC. It is encouraging to hear him say today that there is a common attitude on the part of the EEC countries at this conference.

This is a conference of tremendous importance for the relations between the industrialised and the developing countries and it is centred on this question of a Common Fund. It seems to me that the difference between the two sides is roughly this: that the industrialised nations see the Common Fund as a kind of clearing house, as a kind of method by which, if there is more money than is required in one commodity arrangement, it could be shifted over to another commodity arrangement; whereas the developing countries have a much wider conception of this Fund. They see it as having its own resources and being a kind of catalyst for commodity agreements none of which—of those in existence at the moment—is working satisfactorily at the present time. The industrialised countries' point of view still seems to me to have a close link with the idea of dealing with one commodity at a time. It has been moved a bit from that, but I wonder whether it has moved far enough to make it possible to arrive at an agreement between both sides.

It is tremendously important for the future of relations between the developing and the developed countries that an agreement should be come to. I hope that the British Government and other industrialised countries will be able to take a generous view of the concept which the developing countries have in this respect .I wonder also whether the Stabex system which is used under the Lomé Agreement might not be a system which could be used in this connection on a wider scale than it now is, since it guarantees earnings rather than prices and does not, to that extent, hold the consumer in any way to ransom.

East-West relationships are vital. We must maintain our strength: we must continue negotiations; we must seek détente; but North-South relations are equally vital and we must recognise that for a happier, better world there must be adequate provision for a transfer of resources from the developed to the developing world, and also that there must be established between the two some genuine form of partnership.

9.35 p.m.

My Lords, first, I should like to convey apologies for the absence of my noble friend Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal to the Ministers on the Front Bench opposite and to noble Lords in this House. Regrettably, he had a former engagement that he was not able to cancel. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, made a very telling remark in the opening sentences of his speech when he said that all the speeches made this evening could have been the basis for a major debate. Everything that has been said in your Lordships' House tonight has given rise to discussion and debate. It is already late tonight, but many of the aspects of the gracious Speech which were debated today could form the basis of a further debate in the future. One of our regrets is that we have to set certain limitations on what we say tonight about this vast mass of material and subject-matter. I was only going to mention aspects of the gracious Speech dealing with Europe; but the number of speeches that have been made on defence from all sides of the House have been so impressive that it is impossible not to single out one or two of them. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the speeches—and I am sure those on the Government Benches will agree—is that they are totally above Party. The only concern expressed was for the defence and security of the nation. They are not concerned with attacking the Government's record; they are concerned with ensuring that the Government will see to it that the defences of this country are not only adequate but provide the necessary safety for the citizens of this country.

Tonight we had remarkable speeches from the noble Earl, Lord Kimberley, and the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell. I need hardly say with what admiration and care we listened to the most distinguished speech of my noble friend Lord Home of the Hirsel, with all his experience. Not only did he analyse the position, but he has also given recommendations as to the kind of line the Government should be taking. We have also heard from my noble friend Lord Orr-Ewing of some of the many difficulties of the Forces.

He drew particularly attention to the calculation of the amount that is being spent on defence in this country and the very deceptive way of presenting percentages of GNP, particularly when there is a declining GNP. What he said confirmed my views of all statisticians: they are people who say that if you have your head in the gas oven and your feet in the fridge you are averagely comfortable. The GNP percentage is totally irrelevant to the facts. Nevertheless, it can be used in some way or another. We do not buy butter or guns with percentages; we buy them with pounds or pence. Therefore, I hope that the Government will take a more realistic line when they present their figures to the public and will be prepared, if they are honest, to use a per capita calculation and not a percentage on a declining GNP.

One of the other aspects which are extremely worrying and which have been raised by many Members in the House is the pay of the Armed Forces. It is an exploitation of loyalty; the Forces are not able to blackmail the country. They are going to perform the duties of some of those who are not going to perform their paid dutiesthemselves—that is, the firemen. Is it fair to expect the Forces, who are paid so little, to perform the functions of those who even now before they get their rise, are paid more than the Forces? The Government must look into the question of pay structure for the Forces.

The Government keep saying that their concern is to redistribute income throughout the population. Surely those who defend our islands are those who should be among the first to receive a rise in pay in line with inflation, not the last. Sometimes it comes to mind—perhaps wrongly—that some Members of the Government are not concerned with the defence of this country. If they were, they would be prepared to see that the Armed Forces were paid more ade- quately than any other branch of the community, because these are the people on whom our safety in the end will rely. I should be very happy if the Government could answer and say that they are prepared to give the Armed Forces a rise in line with the other industries and pay structures in the country.

Now I should like, having dealt inadequately with defence—a subject which has been so adequately dealt with by distinguished Members of the House—to turn to our relations with Europe. We have for the past 30 years enjoyed a state of peace precisely because of the European Community, by which old enmities were put to rest. But this state of peace also rests on two pillars: a strong defence system and a strong economy. The prosperity of the Western industrialised nations as a whole remains unrivalled in any other part of the world, and indeed is the envy of most of them.

It must be said that in relation both to defence and to the economy the present Government do not seem to have made either a glowing or a positive contribution. Politically, what have the Government contributed during our Presidency within the European Community? I think we had great hopes at the beginning of this year. When we debated the gracious Speech last year we had hopes of being able to contribute a great deal in Europe. We had the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the Presidency of the Commission—I would say we had a very distinguished President, because I believe that Mr. Roy Jenkins has shown himself to be a great European and his many speeches have made a great impact on the Community. We have also the chairmanship of the Economic and Social Council. It must be said that during the Presidency of the Council—and of course we can only judge on hearsay as to what goes on within the Council walls—what appears to have happened is that the United Kingdom distinguished its Presidency by its ability to improve the administrative processes. Nobody denies that, but nevertheless they did not seem able to improve the political initiatives when there was a chance of doing so. Perhaps that is not surprising when six Cabinet Ministers involved in day-to-day negotiations within the Community voted against the principle of direct elections to the European Community in another place in July.

I should like to ask the Government whether in the gracious Speech, in the reference to direct elections to the European Parliament and the reintroduction of legislation during this Session, there will be the same latitude given to all members of the Government who wish to vote against direct elections, or whether this time we can be assured that that statement bears full collective Cabinet responsibility? This is not just an idle question but a matter of constitutional importance.

We should also like to have an assurance that the Government will adhere not only to the letter but also to the spirit of the Treaty of Rome, to strengthen the Community rather than to weaken it. The Prime Minister's view, expressed in his letter to Mr. Ron Hayward, to which reference has already been made, appears to be that enlargement of the Community will have the effect—perhaps desirable to him—of weakening the institutions. We, on the other hand, welcome the requests from Greece, Portugal and Spain and, eventually, Turkey, to join the Community. The first three countries, having returned to a pluralist democracy, must be made welcome on entry, for political considerations far outweigh economic considerations and must be encouraged. Their entrance should serve to strengthen their democracies.

It would also give us in the Community the chance to seize the opportunity to reconsider in the light of the new situation and to improve those aspects of Community policy which are in need of adjustment. The enlargement must not be used as an excuse for failure: it must be seen as a means of improvement. The guarantee, if one is needed, of continued observance of the principles of democracy surely lies in the introduction of direct elections to the European Parliament. The failure of the Government and of their assistants on the Liberal Benches to get the direct elections Bill through in the last Session is no advertisement for the Mother of Parliaments in the eyes of our partners in Europe or elsewhere.

It is perhaps not an idle reflection to consider the White Paper which contains the Rhodesian proposals for universal suffrage to be organised and implemented in the space of six months, in a country where practically no electoral lists exist and where many of the electors are illiterate, whereas in this country, after several hundred years of Parliamentary rule, we have taken over a year to get from Point A to Point A. It is with some cynicism that we observe the passions which are aroused by proportional representation, PR, but we hope that this is a matter which can be resolved by a free vote in both Houses and so it is a matter which will be settled one way or another for direct elections.

If progress has been slow, or in the case of the United Kingdom practically non-existent, the area where recognition is deserved—and I give full credit to the Government for this—is in the political co-operation seen to full effect in the Belgrade Review Conference. The strength of the Member States of the European Community lies precisely in their unity, and in their adoption of common policies and attitudes vis-à-vis other signatories to the Helsinki Final Agreement. But this strength must be used to effect, and the arguments were most effectively and brilliantly deployed by my noble friend Lord Bethell.

The West has much to give. Scientific and technological know-how, industrial machinery and consumer goods should be on a basis of exchange. If we in the West attach supreme importance to human rights of individuals, why do we supply all the needs of the Soviet Union and tolerate the systematic elimination of the national identities of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the tragic events of deportation and the ruin of the environment in those countries? Or why do we do nothing about amnesties to criminals but not to political prisoners such as Yuri Orlov, to whom my noble friend Lord Bethell has already referred?

If we believe in a balance of Forces and a reduction in Soviet military strength, particularly in Central Europe, surely MBFR should not be discussed in isolation but in relation to SALT, in relation to the sale of machinery, in relation to the vast banking credits being made available, in relation to the vast amount of wheat which will be needed, according to Mr. Brezhnev. Marxist collectivism may have brought tanks, missiles and armies to Red Square, to the delight and admiration of Mr. Kitson. Indeed, I felt inclined to ask whether he was the first roving ambassador of the "Think Tank". But while the European Community has 1½ million square miles and manages to produce enough surplus food for its 250 million citizens, the Marxist organised agricultural system in the Soviet Union does not seem to produce enough from 22½ million square kilometres.

The obligation of industrialised countries to less developed countries is, again, a matter which should be raised with the Soviet Union and East European countries. They are prepared to sell arms and give training to liberation movements, but not to contribute to an improvement in the living conditions of the poorest countries in the world. In 1975, the Soviet Union and East European countries paid 700 million US dollars, but the United States and Western countries—in fact, the 17 DAC countries—paid over 13,000 million US dollars.

If we are to help achieve wellbeing in Third World countries, it must be on the basis of our own prosperity and wealth-creating ability. The benefit of economic wellbeing must be used for the benefit of this country. We must use it for political co-operation with our partners in the EEC. They are essential for the prosperity and security of our citizens. We share many common problems—the problems of world food supplies, alternative energy resources and the continuing supply of raw materials. I believe that, in good faith, all these can be resolved, but we must show the will to do so with our partners in the European Community. But we can enjoy the prosperity which we could have only if we are certain that our defence is secure, and I ask the Government to reassure us that we will be fulfilling our obligations to NATO, and will be increasing our expenditure up to the 3 per cent. which we undertook to do. We shall welcome this good news from the Government.

9.50 p.m.

My Lords, we have had a long, valuable and interesting debate, enlivened at one or two points, like a major Shakespearean play, by a couple of subplots within it. However, as the noble Baroness has said, this is a difficult debate to which to reply because of its scope and depth. I propose to go rather thoroughly into three elements. They are the doctrine of flexible response, the defence budget and Armed Forces pay. Then I hope the House will forgive me if I go rather quickly through a series of points which were put to me during the course of the debate. If I am unable to answer all of them, I assure noble Lords that I shall read the report of the debate with care and either write to the individual who has contributed or ask the appropriate Department to write to him.

First, may I deal with the problems arising from flexible response in a period when the balance of defence strength has shifted between the Warsaw Pact and ourselves to our disadvantage. The point was made by the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, the noble Lord, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, and I think most effectively of all by the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, whose temperate and balanced statement of the problem and the proposals that he made for correcting it carried with me very great weight indeed.

May I repeat what I said in July when we last had an opportunity for a short debate on the subject. I was very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, for then enabling us to go a little more thoroughly into the subject than we had been able to do for some time. As I emphasised then, the NATO strategy of deterrence by forward defence and flexible response remains the best, indeed the only way of ensuring Western security. The current United States Administration has made it clear that it is committed to that strategy, as are our European allies. And, of course, so are this Government. Noble Lords will not forget the concern of perhaps our most important European ally; namely, Germany, one-third of whose population and industry lies within 60 miles of the Iron Curtain.

To achieve flexible response calls for a combination of strong conventional forces, theatre nuclear forces and strategic nuclearl forces, linked together to provide a broad spectrum of defence options. The steps we are taking, in concert with our allies, to maintain the effectiveness of al three elements in the NATO triad of forces will ensure that we continue to possess sufficient forces to blunt an initial attack and to deter any further aggression by threatening escalation to a level which any invader would find unacceptable. That is, of course, the doctrine of deterrence.

During this year, there has been public speculation about NATO's ability or, indeed, willingness to sustain this strategy. There have been those who have suggested that weaknesses in conventional forces were leading us to abandon the concept of forward defence; and others, swept up by a Soviet propaganda push, have alleged that by declining to sign a pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons we are increasing the risk of nuclear war. There is no question of our considering a change in our present defensive system, whether by reducing the importance of conventional forces or by placing greater reliance on nuclear weapons. My noble friend has already referred to the programme of measures being undertaken in NATO to strengthen our anti-armour, war reserve readiness and reinforcement capabilities.

These conventional improvements are a priority for us and for our allies. They will help us to keep the nuclear threshold high and prevent our slipping back, as the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, stressed, to the original policy which was forced upon us of a tripwire. They will ensure that NATO will continue to have a conventional capability which is much more robust and substantial than many noble Lords believe that we possess. But we are dealing with a Power which is expanding its nuclear as well as its conventional military might. Therefore, in order to maintain a credible deterrent posture, we too must have nuclear options. NATO is taking steps to improve its theatre nuclear forces and, of course, one of the options for consideration is the so-called neutron bomb. But, as noble Lords will have noticed today, this is a complex problem. It is still being studied in NATO and we have yet to come to a firm view on its deployment in Europe. But, in arriving at a final decision on the enhanced radiation warhead or any other nuclear improvement, more weight will be given to the vital political and deterrent aspect as well as to the military usefulness of any particular weapon.

There is no question of our acquiring any nuclear weapon which would in any way alter the role of nuclear weapons in our strategy—there is a vital distinction between nuclear and conventional warfare—or weaken the supremacy of political control over their possible use. Moreover, what President Carter said in his recent speech to the United Nations about United States policy towards their nuclear weapons applies equally to our own policy for British weapons. We will not use nuclear weapons except in self-defence—that is, in circumstances of an actual attack on us or on our allies. This is, of course, fully consistent with NATO deterrent strategy of maintaining forces, including nuclear forces, to prevent wars, not to encourage them. But, just as we must continue to operate our flexible response strategy and maintain a strong defence, so also are we committed to a search for détente and for very firm measures of arms control which will enhance international stability.

At this point, I, like the noble Baroness, should like to pay tribute to the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Bethell, who wrote to tell me that he could not stay on to hear my reply. Nevertheless, I should like to underline a point he made when he said that the policies we follow must have within them a heart. That is to say, unless the policies we are following in due course lead to an end of the arms race and a stabilisation of the world, there is little that we can do to combat cynicism and to give hope to individuals who have the courage to think about the unthinkable. The point he made was most valuable in relation to the argument.

My noble friend has already outlined our positive and realistic policies in this area in the context of particular negotiations and I think the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Banks, was a helpful counterpoint to my noble friend's speech. I should like to amplify that with a word on how we must approach the new weapon possibilities which advances in new technology are making available. Since we are serious about our ultimate aim of abolishing nuclear weapons and achieving general disarmament, we must continue to consider any implications which potential new weapons systems might have for arms control as well as for defence. Cruise missiles are an obvious case in point. We are examining the potential of Cruise missiles and have not narrowed down our studies to any particular application. Nevertheless it is already clear that with these, as with other technological advances, we have to weigh the extent to which they might affect any arms control objectives as well as our need to maintain adequate defences before deciding whether it is in our best interest to acquire them or not. It is important to note that the talks on strategic arms limitation are between the United States and the Soviet Union, but the United States have kept us and our NATO allies informed of progress and have consulted us on aspects which are of particular interest to us. Our understanding of the position in SALT is not that suggested by some commentators on Cruise missiles. The United States have publicly stated that they have not, in their negotiations towards a SALT II agreement, closed any potential deployment options for themselves or their European allies.

I shall now turn to the question of reductions in the defence budget and I should like to say immediately that any reductions that have taken place have in no case been prompted by pressure from the Left of my own Party or by Parties further to the Left of that. I think that point was answered very clearly by the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, in his generous tribute to the two Secretaries of State, Mr. Mason and Mr. Mulley, who have so strongly defended the interests of the Armed Forces. I should like to thank him for his very kind remarks about my right honourable friends.

What, of course, did happen was that the British economy was caught in the world economic blizzard, and the first reactions to that blizzard by the Conservative Administration of the day were similar to our own. In 1973 I believe three cuts in defence expenditure were made of a size in real terms approximately equivalent to those that we have made. I should like to try to state clearly what the position is about the impact of the state of play on the reputed cuts of £267 million and the reaction of the Government to the declaration following the ministerial meetings on the 17th and 18th May this year.

My Lords, I am sorry to intervene, but would the Minister confirm that the five cuts of the Labour Government since they have been in office amount to about £8,000 million?

My Lords, it depends entirely how you look at it. There are lies, damned lies and statistics. You can really make these things what you like. Nevertheless, what I think is true is that the true resources devoted to defence should be calculated, rather than the somewhat crude form of measurement that we do use. I was interested in the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, on this point.

May I make one or two points about this. In relation to the cuts discussed today, we undertook to consult NATO about the choice of measures needed to achieve the 1978–79 reduction in defence expenditure. Consultations were concluded in September and then Dr. Luns, the Secretary General, wrote to the United Kingdom conveying the views of the Alliance. NATO's comments, as noble Lords will remember, were forthright, yet constructive, as is fitting among allies, and we welcomed them in the spirit in which they were made. We welcome NATO's recognition of the thorough efforts we are making to ensure that the savings are achieved with the minimum effect on the United Kingdom's front line contribution to the Alliance. The final package of specific measures remains provisional until it is possible in the course of the preparation of Estimates for 1978–79 to reassess the expected pattern of spending as a whole.

My Lords, I apologise for intervening again. I am most grateful to the noble Lord. Could he kindly tell the House whether the Government will in fact honour the obligation of a 3 per cent. increase in real terms? And since we are now no longer, as we are told, in the tragic economic situation we were in before—indeed, we have somewhat a feeling of euphoria about the economic situation and this extra £1,000 million—could the Minister say how much of that is going to be spent on defence?

My Lords, may I say that I am going to deal with the first point raised by the noble Baroness in a moment because it is a valid one. I think we all agree that this debate is taking place in a more hopeful atmosphere than any debate of a similar nature in which I have taken part since my return to this Box. We are travelling hopefully now, and this must be reflected in our defence policy. May I go on to this point about the decision at the NATO Ministers' meeting on 17th/18th May in which we took part; this stated that the aim will be an annual increase in defence expenditure in real terms in the region of 3 per cent. for the period 1979–84. It will be recognised that some individual countries' economic circumstances will affect what can be achieved, and that for some countries their present Force contribution may justify higher levels of increase.

Specific target figures for each country will need to be determined in the course of the normal NATO defence planning processes. We shall give full support to the NATO long-term programme to maintain the effectiveness of the Alliance's defences in the '80s and also carry into effect the associated short-term measures. What I think we must remember is that these figures will be fed into the five-year rolling programme of expenditure this year, and so when we come to debate the Defence White Paper—I presume it will be in March—the actual implications of this 3 per cent., give or take a percentage, on annual expenditure will become clear from the figures in the White Paper and in the present figures.

My Lords, I am not sure that I have altogether followed the argument of the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom. Is it, or is it not, the fact that the Government are to proceed with the projected cuts for 1978–79?

Yes, as at present, my Lords. However, we are discussing this with our NATO allies through Dr. Luns and the final package of specific measures remains provisional—I am repeating what I said earlier—until it is possible, in the course of the preparation of the estimates for 1978–79, to reassess the expected pattern of spending as a whole. In other words, it is a pretty firm commitment. Thereafter, we shall aim for the 3 per cent. annual increase, and in the happier economic position in which we find ourselves we may be able to meet the demand.

I turn next to pay which is an important factor. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, for having raised this subject. However, I cannot agree with him that both the police and the Armed Forces are special cases. I know that the argument is very strong, but, nevertheless, I think that the goal for which we are aiming, namely, a genuinely stable economy, is so important that we must ask these very loyal servants of our nation to be patient a little longer. The police have been patient and the Armed Forces, although I know what is being said, are, as far as I believe, as aware of the importance to this country of a stable economy as any other group of our community.

I should like to tell the House exactly what is happening. In the last two reports of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, which is the negotiating body on behalf of the Armed Forces, attention was drawn to the loss of pay comparability, as between the Armed Forces and their civilian counterparts, and to the distortions and anomalies that had arisen in the Services' pay structure during Rounds 1 and 2 of the pay policy, and to the need for action to rectify those problems. All of that has been acknowledged by the Government in another place. Also, in that place, the Government have stated their intention to correct the situation as soon as it is possible to do so consistent with the national policy on pay and the general economic health of the country. Evidence on Armed Forces pay is being put to the Review Body for consideration in their current review, and we must now await the recommendations in their 1978 report. Presumably this will be carried into effect in 1979 when one hopes that the economy will be stabilised, a balance of the anomalies will be ironed out and the Armed Forces will receive the consideration that we all know they deserve.

My Lords, the noble Lord says in 1979, but let us suppose that we have 10 or 15 per cent. inflation. Our Armed Forces will, by then, have fallen seriously behind comparable people in industry. I hope that when the noble Lord reflects on that he will say that he really means in 1978 and not 1979. He said that their pay would be corrected in 1979. Inflation rose as high as 9 per cent. during the Conservative Government, and we found it necessary to give corrections on not a two-year basis but at more frequent intervals. I hope that the Government will do the same.

My Lords, I may have to correct what I said as regards 1979. The recommendations of the Pay Board will be made in 1978. I do not see how they can be carried into effect until the Budget afterwards, but that is a pure technicality and I shall let the noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, know if I am wrong.

I should like to make one quick aside at this point because I think it is relevant to the discussion. The noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, expressed surprise that members of the Armed Forces were permitted to join trade unions. That, of course, has been happening for years with the active encouragement of the Armed Forces, for the simple reason that one important element of defence policy or man and woman management in the Armed Forces is that the transition to civilian life at the end of their period of service is as easy and as smooth as possible.

In the Armed Forces we have always hoped to see that certain professional qualifications obtained while serving can be treated as the equivalent of a university degree, and in certain cases actually treated as such, and that men such as technologists and technicians who have specific skills which are equivalent to apprenticeships in a craft union are recognised when they leave the Service. The easiest way for them to achieve this recognition is to join a trade union when they are actually serving. Where there is a conflict of duties between their loyalty to the Armed Forces and their loyalty to their trade union, of course their loyalty to the Armed Forces overrules everything else. But it is purely a rational arrangement to enable the transition to civilian life to be smooth and easy.

My Lords, I accept that and, in fact, I helped to bring it about when I was a Defence Minister. I am sure the noble Lord will agree that it should be done only at the end of a period of service rather than at the beginning. Of course, as one prepares for civilian life it is highly desirable in the last three months, but not sooner.

My Lords, that is what happened.

With noble Lords' permission I shall go through a series of points rather quickly because the hour is somewhat late. I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Home of of the Hirsel, is here. I was going to thank him in his absence. The Government will take very careful note of his remarks on Southern Africa. I know he will understand that I cannot reply to them in detail because we shall be discussing the subject on Monday. I simply express the Government's thanks.

I should like to deal with a point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, who asked whether we accepted the Argentine statement that these negotiations are to pay attention to the interests of the Falkland Islands but do not accede to their wishes or demands. The noble Lord will read what I say. The statement by the Argentine Government represented their position and their position only. I reaffirm most strongly the British Government's commitment that the Islanders will be fully consulted throughout the forthcoming negotiations, which we expect to take place before the end of the year. Furthermore, we shall not bring forward to Parliament these proposals for a settlement, if they emerge, unless we are fully satisfied that they are acceptable to the Islanders. That, of course, also answers the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Morris.

The noble Lord, Lord Morris, also made a further point. The further extension of the new Stanley Airport has been carefully considered. It would be very expensive. It is a multi-million pound project and on the basis of existing evidence we could not commit ourselves to it. However, when it seems appropriate we are willing to commission any preliminary studies that are necessary to investigate the matter further.

I now turn to the point made on terrorism by the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth. The noble Lord asked whether the convention for the suppression of terrorism will provide for different treatment for, say, a pilot who hijacks a plane in order to escape from a totalitarian country as compared with a true terrorist. The object of the convention is, of course, to prevent hijackers from evading extradition by claiming that their actions are politically motivated. The House will immediately appreciate the difficulties that arise. Nevertheless, I have taken careful note of the point and will write to the noble Lord when it has been considered. Presumably, this is also a partial answer to my noble friends Lord Janner, Lord Weidenfeld and Lord Ritchie-Calder, who all drew attention to the plague of terrorism which is causing so much distress in the world.

The noble Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, raised a question on the CPRS report and I heard enthusiastic support for his speech from my right and left hands. As the noble Viscount may have learned, we shall have a debate on this matter later this month when I think it is being raised by the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, from the Cross-Benches He may wish to expand his views on that occasion.

I feel that that is as far as I can go tonight, my Lords. As I said, I will check carefully through what has been said and endeavour to satisfy individuals whom I have not been able to answer to date. Very rapidly, however, I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Ward of North Tyneside, that the point that she raised about cut-price Russian shipping is one that concerns the Government very closely, but it is basically a problem of the Department of Trade. I know that she will not let my colleague dealing with trade forget this particular issue. I know that she will carry her threat into effect.

My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether he will be so kind as to reply in writing to the specific questions I put to him about what is happening in the European Programme Group?

Yes, my Lords. In point of fact, with the permission of the House, I will say shortly what is happening because I have a fairly quick answer to it. It is two years old. It is naturally harmonising a great many views. It has its procedures laid down and, although it is not producing any rapid results, it is becoming a functioning machine.

My Lords, may I thank the Members of the House who have taken part in this interesting debate, which I hope has helped to spread a little light.

On Question, Motion agreed to, nemine dissentiente: the said Address to be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.