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Wednesday, 27 February 1952


Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) . - Certain general considerations affect every question of foreign policy and before I deal in detail with the actual provisions of the treaty, 1 wish to draw the attention of honorable members to certain of those considerations. First I think that we might remind ourselves that foreign policy never presents to any country an easy choice of alternatives. It is not a case of being able to select one particular course of action on the assumption that if we follow it we shall obtain complete satisfaction of our requirements and that if we follow the opposite course everything that we wish to avoid will automatically come to pass. The choice that confronts us now, like every other choice in relation to the foreign policy of a country, is an option of difficulties. lt is a question of which difficulty will most approximate to our requirements. lt must he apparent that in no issue so great is it possible for a country to obtain complete satisfaction of all its demands. The basic requirement of the foreign policy pursued by any Government is the security of the country for which that government is responsible. It is upon that basis that all arguments advanced for or against the ratification of this treaty must rest and must be judged. By the word " security " I do not mean only the continued existence of a country as a political entity. I mean also its economic security as well as other aspects of security in the general sense.

Last night the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) made what I consider to be the most reasoned attack, on the proposal to ratify the treaty that the House has yet heard. The, essence of his argument was that the Japanese had pursued a traditional policy in the Pacific, and would continue to pursue that policy. He said that that policy had two aspects, one being continental expansion on the Asian mainland and the other oceanic expansion. He went on to say that America's foreign policy had shown itself to be amateur in . many respects, and was therefore unworthy of acceptance hy Australia. Whatever reservations we may have about the conduct of America's foreign policy, and however we may. disagree about certain aspects of it, we must all agree that since the war American foreign policy has been the only thing that had prevented the relapse of Europe into utter chaos. American foreign policy has, in fact, stabilized the Western world. We must also realize that our interests are completely bound up with American foreign policy. The honorable member for Fremantle took it for granted that Japan must follow one of two courses. It must either attack the two Asian powers, Communist China and Russia, or it must expand by violent means seawards into the Pacific. Surely we cannot rightly assume that because Japan's former policy was one of expansion in those two directions it must inevitably be the same in the future. The honorable member for Fremantle ignored entirely the factor of power in politics. After all, international power determines the actions of most nations. The world to-day is divided between two colossi. On the one hand we have the vast power of Russia, its satellites and its allies; on the other hand we have the United States of America, possessed of a military power more tremendous than we can easily imagine. There is now no third force to hold, the balance between those two vast forces.

I suggest that the future actions of Japan will not be dictated by any inherent or traditional policy, but will be dictated by considerations of where the power lies, because, when all is said and done, politics without power has no meaning. If it is admitted as obvious that world power is divided between America and Russia, then it is also obvious that British and Australian interests are inevitably linked with the interests and the power of the United States of America. What steps has the United States of America taken in the Pacific to maintain the balance of power in that region? First of all it offered this country the Pacific pact, which it has envisaged as not merely a pact by America, Australia and New Zealand, but as a regional arrangement similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, capable of extension to embrace not only the present participating nations but also other nations, including Japan. Surely that is a realistic attitude on power politics, if that is the correct term. Another most potent factor on which American power in the Pacific is based, is provided for by this treaty. That is the retention in Japan of American bases. That material and realistic factor is designed to do two things. On the one hand it is designed to prevent Japan from falling into the Communist orbit, and, on the other, to draw it into the orbit of American power. That is the policy that we are asked to support by our ratification of this treaty.

While the arguments presented to the House by the honorable member for Fremantle were closely reasoned from an academic point of view, they lose much of their force when they are considered from the stand-point of reality. Nobody can say with authority whether Japan will finally ally itself with one side or the other, but we can safely say that unless we are prepared to support the attitude and efforts of the United States of America in ensuring that Japan will aline itself with American power, we run the greatest risk of allowing Japan to disappear forever behind the Iron Curtain. Even if the facts were entirely as the honorable member for Fremantle has contended, I cannot understand how he or any other honorable member opposite can imagine that our refusal to ratify this treaty could make the slightest difference to the real facts of power in the Pacific, or be of the slightest use in containing the power of Japan?

Other objections that the Leader of the Opposition advanced against the ratification of this treaty were based, not on considerations that the honorable member for Fremantle put forward, but on quite vague considerations. The right honorable gentleman argued that as the terms of the treaty were objectionable, there would be something to be gained by refusing to ratify it. However, he failed to give to the House a solution to the problems that would then arise. I invite him to explain how, by refusing to ratify the treaty, he could guarantee Australian security. We have been offered, and we are about to conclude, a security pact with the United

States of America and New Zealand. If we refuse to ratify this treaty, will the United States of America welcome us into that pact? Shall we, in a petulant manner, throw aside this real chance of ensuring our security and, instead, resort to some mysterious means to achieve that objective? If the Leader of the Opposition believes that the treaty as it stands offers to the Japanese too soft a peace, I invite him to explain how, by refusing to ratify the treaty, he can make provision for a harder peace. I remind honorable members that Great Britain, under a Labour government, ratified this treaty by a large majority.

If the United States of America and Great Britain ratify the treaty, how on earth shall we be able to make provision for a harder peace if we refuse to ratify it? Is it proposed that we should arrange for a. military occupation of Japan or take military measures to impose our will upon Japan when it is clear to every one that we have no possibility of doing so? Honorable members opposite have opposed every suggestion of the Government to increase our military strength to its present potential. Yet they now say that because they regard this treaty as being too soft we should not ratify it, and, I presume, should make provision for a harder peace. Such suggestions are not based on realities. One can sympathize with those who recollect the atrocities that the Japanese perpetrated during World War II. One can understand the antipathy of such persons to this treaty. One can also understand that many people feel that it leaves the ground insecure. But upon what other ground can we take our stand? These matters must be decided upon the basis, not of wishes, but of facts. If, by refusing to ratify this treaty, we cannot make provision for a harder peace and cannot guarantee the security of Australia, what is our alternative?

Non-ratification of the treaty will produce two results. The first of them is that having allies who are making peace with Japan, we alone would incur the permanent hatred and animosity of the Japanese people with whom we have to live in the Pacific. I cannot understand how that result would be of any use to us, or how it would contribute to our military security or make easier the path of our trade and commerce. The second result that would flow from nonratification of the treaty would be the forfeiture of the goodwill of our allies and of their trust in our common sense. Those considerations are more important than the question of whether or not this treaty bears hardly enough upon the Japanese.

What conditions shall we accept by ratifying the treaty? Broadly speaking, it will affect us under two main headings. The first of them relates to trade and commence and the second relates to defence. It is obvious that in respect of trade and commerce we must take a risk, just as we must take a risk in the formulation of foreign policy generally. However, the plain fact remains that a nation of 80,000,000 people in the Pacific must trade with other people in that sphere. How, by refusing to ratify this treaty, can we direct that trade into channels that will be in the best interests of Australia ? We are now debating not whether the treaty is entirely satisfactory, but whether we can achieve a better result by refusing to ratify it. That is the vital point. Some honorable members have lost sight of it. We shall not solve the problem of Japanese trade competition by refusing to ratify the treaty. Great Britain, which has far greater trade interests than Australia in the Pacific and which are menaced by Japan to a far greater degree than are our industries, did not take the view of members of the Australian Opposition.

The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) spoke at length about the textile industry. The British textile industry has most to fear from Japanese competition, but, the British Government considered that that issue could not be dealt with appropriately in relation to this treaty. That Government has ratified the treaty. It took the view that nothing would be gained by refusing to do so and that measures to safeguard the British textile trade, or any other British trade, should be taken in subsequent negotiations with not only Japan but also with other nations in the Pacific and the rest of the Western world as well. That is a realistic approach. By refusing to ratify the treaty, we cannot bind down Japanese trade and commerce in order to remove the threat that it presents to the Western world. No more unreal picture could be imagined. The Japanese must trade. They cannot continue to exist as a nation unless they do so. By refusing to ratify this treaty we cannot avert all of the dangers which we foresee in Japanese trade competition in the years to come. I repeat that we cannot appropriately take steps to deal with trade aspects in relation to this treaty.

Our next vital consideration relates to defence. Never in the course of our history have we been able, by ourselves, to ensure our defence. Not for one moment since the first landing of white settlers on our shores have we, by our unaided efforts, been able to defend this country effectively. In the past, the British Navy has guaranteed our safety in peace and in war. Only by active co-operation with the rest of the British Commonwealth of Nations shall we be able to guarantee our security in the future. Are we to remove ourselves from the shelter of the shield that Great Britain and the United States of America now offer to provide for us? The defence of this country is only part of the defence of the Western democracies, and our security can be guaranteed only if Great Britain, America and Australia continue to stand together. It cannot be guaranteed even if one of the three parties withdraws from such co-operation. Those are the realities about our defence. How could we make the slightest contribution to our defence by refusing to ratify this treaty? Thereby we should put ourselves out of court with those upon whom we must depend as allies. We now have offered to us the Pacific pact, the power and strength of the rest of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and our own resources; but unless those factors are integrated, and unless, in order to integrate them, we accept the leadership of greater countries than our own, we cannot for one hour assure the defence of this country. If security is the objective of our foreign policy, as it must be, we have no alternative but to ratify this treaty. Those who oppose its ratification ignore overriding and inescapable facts, which nothing can alter. Our existence is linked with that of the powers that I have mentioned and must be determined in the light of the facts that I have given. We can ensure our security only by uniting with our allies in ratifying this treaty and going forward with them in the politics of the Pacific and of the world. Australia, in fact, comes within the power system of the Western democracies. As I said earlier, there is no such thing as politics without power, and that axiom holds true for small as well as for great countries.

Honorable members opposite have suggested that supporters of the Government have reflected upon the valour and ability of the armed forces of Australia. No honorable member on this side made any suggestion of that kind; but we must realize that our military effort is inevitably linked with that of other countries. We cannot continue to exist as a nation without the aid of those countries. That is why supporters of the Government contend that the treaty should be ratified. Are we to be willing partners and cooperators with our great allies in the Pacific and, indeed, throughout the world? Of course, we are. Our lot is irrevocably cast with those countries and we must back them up to the hilt in this as well as in other vital actions. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) claimed that Australia's point of view had not been put clearly before our allies when the treaty was being drafted. That is not correct. The Minister for External Affairs has assured the House that he and his predecessor from start to finish of negotiations have made our allies fully aware of Australia's point of view. That being so, we are confronted by the fact that if we fail to ratify this treaty we shall forfeit the assistance and friendship of great military and economic allies in the difficult days ahead. The only result that a refusal to ratify this treaty can have for Australia is to prejudice us in their eyes, and we shall be denied the great advantages that the ratification of the treaty will bring.

Nobody knows, and nobody can read, the thoughts of the Japanese from day to day. It is fashionable to say that we cannot, read the oriental mind. Well, perhaps we cannot; perhaps we cannot read any mind ; hut I express the opinion that no nation, not even Japan,, in spite of the fact that the effects of thousands of years of traditional conservatism are rooted in the spirit of its people, can be completely unaltered and unchanged by the tremendous events of the last war and the rapid march of progress in the world. If that is not so, human efforts have no reality at all. Japan had never suffered military defeat before World War II. Its people had been educated to the idea that Japan could conquer the earth. But it was subjected to atomic bombing and was suddenly overthrown and occupied by the forces of the countries that the Japanese people had been taught to despise. They were then open to a flood of Western ideas. I venture to say that even the Japanese with their agelong traditions, cannot be completely unchanged and unaltered by those events. Our hope for the future is not to- build on the ashes and ruins- of the past, but to embody in our dealings with Japan and with other nations in the Pacific a broader and better diplomacy, and to endeavour to incorporate them in what we are proud to call the Western system. They may not fit into all the nooks and crannies of the Western system, and. see eye to eye with us in everything, but there is at any rate the hope that we shall be able to draw them away from the dark shadow that overlies half the world and into our orbit. We should use our utmost endeavours to build them into the great system to which we ourselves adhere. To my mind, a refusal by this country to ratify the peace treaty, especially at this stage when it has been accepted by our allies, is not only useless but also contrary to out best ideals, and has no basis in reality. [Quorum formed.]







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