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Thursday, 9 May 1957


Mr KILLEN (Moreton) .- Mr. Deputy Speaker,I hope that every honorable member in this House will accept the proposition that no nation will spend one penny of its revenue upon arms save that it has an affection for liberty or an ambition for power. Whether or not that proposal is acceptable to all honorable members, I want to say that it is the premise from which I proceed in this debate. Taking that as my premise, it would seem clear that we in this country have no design on the lands of other nations. We are not to be styled a colonial power. We are not to be described as an aggressive power. Whatever our national faults may be, and they are many, covetousness is not to be included among them. We in this country, I believe, can take a decent pride in the fact that we are the devotees of democracy and not its destroyers.

Moving a step farther, one may ask why it is that we spend money upon defence, and there, quite clearly, the other arm of the proposition comes into play. We spend money on defence in this country because we do have an affection for liberty. We have no ambition for power. But can the same be said of the Soviet Union, which in all conscience stands before the world as the major threat to world peace and has proved before the world that it has a startling capacity for aggression?

One comes to the conclusion that, standing in front of the issue of armaments, standing in front of the issue of disarmament, standing in front of the issue of defence, there is the greater issue that must be faced, and that is the political issue.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - What do you mean by that?


Mr KILLEN - I will explain it later. I ask the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) to contain him self. Standing before us is the conclusion that before there can be any disarmament there must be a settlement of the political issue; that is, the political conflict between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Western Powers. With a very real measure of regret, I have heard many honorable members of this House say that Soviet Russia does not stand poised as a threat to world peace, but that some of the blame and some of the fault can be attributed to the Western Powers. I find that very difficult to accept and I think it may be of value - I make this submission with humility - if the House considers in some degree of detail the size of the Soviet armed forces. Nowhere have I been able to find an estimate of the size of the Soviet air force that falls below 20,000 planes. That was the estimate given by the new chairman of the United States Chiefs of Staffs Committee, General Twyning. He went on to say that by 1958 the Soviet Union will have 30,000 aircraft, made up as follows: -

Big jet bombers - 500 long-range Bisons.

Medium jet bombers - 1,000 Badgers.

Close range jet bombers - 4,000 Butchers.

Supersonic jet fighters - 4,500 Farmers.

Sonic jet fighters- 8,000 MIG 17's.

Sub sonic jets- 8,000 MIG 15's.

All-weather jet interceptors - 4,000 Flashlights.

It is interesting to know that until five years ago the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had no long-range jet bombers. It is also interesting to know that to-day the Soviet Union is producing more of this type of bomber than the United States of America.

The Soviet Union has at its disposal and deployment to-day 175 land divisions, and many of those units are equipped with tactical weapons. The details of the size of the Soviet navy are somewhat obscure, but what is known is that approximately 600,000 men are in the Soviet navy. What also is known is that the submarine fleet of the Soviet Union exceeds 400 vessels, 80 of which were built last year. If that figure should, by some chance, be unimpressive to honorable members of this House, may I point out that Germany, on the declaration of war in 1939, had 75 submarines, and we all know the terrific devastation that the German submarine fleet caused. In addition to the size of the Soviet armed forces, we know that the Soviet to-day has an enormous stockpile of thermo-nuclear weapons and atom bombs. The knowledge of the construction of those weapons was spied out of Western countries by people like Nunn May, Fuchs, and Pontecorvo, aided by the tolerance of the democracies. In the field of intercontinental ballistic missiles there is every reason to believe that the Soviet Union is, if anything, ahead of the Western Powers.

What I have said does not take into consideration the size of the forces at the disposal of the Soviet Union from its satellite countries, nor does it take into consideration the strength of red China. Mao Tse-tung has said that by 1965 red China will have 2,000 divisions. Is it because we are possessed with an insensitivity that we are unable to appreciate the massiveness of 2,000 armed divisions? Admittedly it may be said that the deployment of 2,000 armed divisions would present immense logistical problems, but the hordes of Genghis Khan would seem as nothing if that swarm of human locusts was to be released.

Honorable members may recall that last year Mr. Speaker announced to the House that he had received from the Soviet Union a letter relating to disarmament and that I moved for the printing of that letter, my objective being to endeavour to arrange a debate on the matter. However, the procedures of the House, with the prorogation of Parliament, wiped from the notice-paper my motion for the printing of that letter. I want to refer to it now because I am going back to meet the impatience of the honorable member for Hindmarsh by getting to the political problem which is, and remains, the core of the entire question of defence, of disarmament, and of armament.

It may be said by some honorable members that my move to precipitate a debate on the letter from the Soviet Union smacked of presumption. It may further be suggested when I announce to the House now that I had prepared a reply to the Soviet's letter relating to disarmament that that is a greater manifestation of presumption. Be that as it may, I want to read to the House the draft of the reply I was going to suggest be sent on that occasion, because this, I believe, identifies the political problem. I do not think there is anything in the letter which is anachronistic. I do not think there is anything in the letter which can reasonably .e described as offensive. The letter reads -

The sentiments contained within your appeal on disarmament to Parliaments of all countries of the world have not gone unnoticed by us. We say at once that nothing would provide us with more satisfaction than to heed your appeal promptly and completely. We are restrained from so doing for one notable reason - the attitude of your Government, and your adherence to a political theory which cannot be consummated until all the nations of the world conform to its ordination.

Please forgive us if we address ourselves with frankness to your appeal. We have no wish to offend, only a desire to be honest. If we err in our assessment of the situation - the U.S.S.R. vis-a-vis the rest of the world - then we ask you to apprise us of the facts.

We direct your attention to the following statements made by the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mr. N. S. Khrushchev. As you will recall, the first two were made by him when presenting the report of the Central Committee to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on 14th February last year. The third statement you will identify as being made by him at the secret session of the 20th Congress on 24th February last year, when, we understand, he alluded with a measure of frankness to the failings of your former leader, the late Joseph Stalin.

Statement 1. "Revolutionary theory is not a collection of petrified dogmas and formulas, but a militant guide to action in transforming the world, in building communism. MarxismLeninism teaches us that a theory isolated from practice is dead, and practice which is not illumined by revolutionary theory is blind."

Statement 2. "Under the banner of MarxismLeninism, which is transforming the world, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union will lead the Soviet people to the complete triumph of communism."

Statement 3. " The twentieth congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has manifested with a new strength the unshakable unity of our party, its cohesiveness around the Central Committee, its resolute will to accomplish the great tasks of building communism."

Naturally these statements have a significance for you. We want you to know that they also command significance for us.

For many years our people regarded lightly the political theory to which you remain attracted. You will not misunderstand us when we say we are now no longer disposed to discount that theory.

Having seen the success that has attended its play in many parts of the world you will admit our enlightenment is justified.

The instruction of our minds has not stopped at developing a mere appreciation for the acquisitive tendencies of Communism. We have become aware that Communism must persist in its habit until its character is absolute throughout the world. " Fidelity to Leninism is the source of all our Party's successes," said the First Secretary of the Central Committee of your Party, Mr. Khrushchev. We don't doubt this contention, but neither then will you be in doubt as to why we have concluded that Communism aims at world conquest.

We won't weary you by elaborating on the tenets and instructions of Lenin. We believe they are not unfamiliar to you.

Loyalty to a cause is much admired by us, but we submit with respect that in this day, loyalty to a cause which professes that all countries of the world shall be brought under its authority is not loyalty, but folly.

It is clear to us, as it must be clear to you, that science has brought mankind to the point where life on this planet can now be extinguished entirely. Confronted with this simple yet stark fact, you will agree with us that the nations of the world have passed beyond the stage where national ambition can be pursued to the excess of total war.

The weapons of modern war mean that neutrality is no longer feasible, victory can no longer be gained, defeat can no longer be suffered. The battle for survival will either be won by all peoples, or lost by all peoples.

Whether or not life on this earth is to be brought to an end is a responsibility which, we believe, rests rather more upon you than upon us. We have no territorial ambitions. We have yet to be convinced the same may be said of the cause you support.

If you genuinely want to remove international tension, the fear of war, achieve wide and general disarmament among all the nations, then we invite you to -

1.   Abandon the doctrine of Karl Marx, and repudiate the whole concept of world domination postulated by Communist theory.

2.   Withdraw your forces from all satellite countries, and allow the people of those countries to elect freely their own form of Government.

3.   Agree to the reunification of Germany, and the conduct of free elections.

4.   Free from enslavement all those who are now bent to your will because they disagreed with it.

5.   Close all concentration camps.

6.   Abolish the one-party system of Government that operates within your country.

7.   Remove all forms of censorship.

8.   Cease all forms of sabotage and espionage.

9.   Allow your people and our people to visit each other's countries without let or hindrance other than complying with the recognized practices of international travel.

10.   Declare to those people who hold to communism, and who live in countries outside the U.S.S.R., that communism is no longer practicable.

I apologize to the House, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, for having read that letter. It represented my views on the political issue when the Soviet letter was received, and those views will remain unchanged until such time as the political issue has been resolved. Any suggestion of disarmament, and any suggestion that this country should weaken its defences, I can describe only as a manifestation of madness. Millions of people throughout the world are calling for disarmament, and I for one have no doubt that their calls, their appeals, and their pleas, are quite genuine. But. for the most part, they are completely unrealistic. Calls for disarmament before the settlement of the political issue may, in my judgment, subject, as it is, to great imperfection, be likened to a serenade of simpletons. If the democracies disarm while the Soviet Union still holds to the idea of world domination, the consequences will be so horrible that even the ghosts of liberty will be ashamed to walk among the ruins. I say, with all respect and humility, that a legislator in a democratic parliament who advocates total disarmament while world dictatorship remains the ambition of international communism is not merely foolish; he is criminally insane. That is my view, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, and I make no apology for having uttered it.

Many other things, understandably, can engage one's attention in a debate on defence. I have not the time to refer to many other matters in detail. I can merely adumbrate them. First, I want to lend my voice, however humble it may be, in support of the declaration of the honorable and gallant member for Indi (Mr. Bostock) that atomic-bomb bases should be established in this country. I consider that that is of the utmost importance. This contention may be unacceptable to other honorable members, but I think that the power of the deterrent increases proportionately to its dispersal. As I turn to the second matter upon which I wish to touch, I am very pleased to see at the table the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey). I want to tell him, in all sincerity, that many who sit on the benches behind him and support the Government are very seriously disturbed at the suggestion that modern front-line aircraft should be built in this country. We do not disagree with the construction of aircraft in Australia; do not misunderstand me. What concerns us deeply is the fact that, by the time those aircraft come off the production line, they will have become obsolete.

The .third matter to which I wish to refer ;is the establishment of civil defence units within Army formations. Fourthly, I think that we should have a national plan to instruct civilians in civil defence. Finally, I urge the Government, with all the emphasis at my command, to consider seriously the establishment of a directorate of psycho.logical warfare. The honorable member for >Reid (Mr. Morgan) referred to the cold war. The simple truth of the matter is that many of the gains made by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics have been achieved ideologically by capturing the minds of people. Once Soviet Russia has captured their minds, it has been able to control their actions and activities, and manoeuvre them at will. If we are to win the cold war, we must set about the task properly and try to understand thoroughly the precise nature of the cold war. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has at its disposal an immense propaganda mechanism. We have at our disposal, by contrast, simply nothing.

Finally, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, may [ say this: There may be disagreements between honorable gentlemen opposite and honorable members on this side of the House, but I hope that, in the final analysis, we all shall remind ourselves that we are Australians. I hope that, no matter what may be the nature of the conflict, we shall constantly remind ourselves, to the point of being completely and nauseatingly tedious, that, when the will to resist tyranny withers, then liberty is in the process of being lost, t consider that the Government's defence programme merits general support, but there is every indication that it should go farther. I repeat that we must remind ourselves that, when the will to resist tyranny withers,, then liberty is in the process of being lost.







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