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Wednesday, 27 February 1952


Mr BRYSON (Wills) .- I oppose the bill. I am astonished, after having listened for days to this debate, to discover that the Government is apparently sincere when it asks the Parliament to ratify the peace treaty with Japan. I emphasize that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), in his second-reading speech, apologized to the House for this bill, and told us that the treaty fell far short of his wishes. SomeGovernment supporters have expressed genuine misgivings about the efficacy of the treaty. One member of the Liberal party objects so strongly to it that he intends to vote against the bill. Another prominent member of that party is reported in the press as having said that he is strongly opposed to the treaty. Therefore one wonders why and how the Government decided that this treaty would be acceptable to the people of Australia. My astonishment continues to grow as the debate progresses. I direct the attention of the House to a statement on the Japanese peace treaty that the Minister for External Affairs made on the 12th July of last year. He then said -

It is our belief, after carefully weighing all considerations, that to permit the Japanese people to recover their self-respect, and some measure of economic independence, offers the best means of promoting the growth of a workable democracy in Japan.

That sounded fine and sincere, but he continued -

We are under no illusions that democracy has as yet taken firm root there. The seed has been sown, but its growth will have to be carefully watched if it is to resist the inroads of Communism on the one hand or old-style Japanese militarism on the oilier.

That is the problem that the Minister posed for himself, and apparently he has finally solved it by deciding that staunch support of old-style Japanese militarism will prevent communism from making inroads in Japan and will protect the interests of Australia. I shall endeavour to prove later that the treaty will not achieve the objective that the Minister so optimistically envisages. He went on to say -

This brings me to the security clauses of the draft treaty, which have been a matter of considerable anxiety to Australia. It will be seen that the relevant chapter, while containing an undertaking by Japan to refrain in its international relations from the threat or uae o'f force, does not contain any precise limitation on Japanese rearmament. In my statement in Parliament on 21st June I went at some length into the related questions of security against Japan and the security of la, | ian itself, and indicated the dilemma that we in Australia are faced with. Our first preoccupation must bc the security of Australia,

Mid thu memory of the last war is too clear to us to ignore the possibility of a revival of Japanese aggression, if not in the near future, at any rate within the coining generation.

In view of the seriousness of the misgivings that must have prompted him to make that statement, one might reasonably have expected that he and his staff would fight to secure a treaty that would be satisfactory to the people of Australia and would guarantee our security for a generation or two. But the Minister and those who work with him apparently showed little fight.

The treaty may he satisfactory to the United States of America, and to the United Kingdom, France and Italy, but Australia is faced with a problem that does not confront those nations. That problem is to find the best means of maintaining the security of Australia against Japanese aggression. There is little prospect that a rearmed Japan, imbued with the old militaristic ideals and controlled by its former imperialist leaders, will attack the United States of America, Great Britain, France or Italy. But there is always a distinct possibility that a rehabilitated Japan will cast its eyes southward and attack Australia. Of the nations that I have mentioned, Australia is the weakest from the standpoint of population and ability to maintain strong defences. It will always be vulnerable while there is a militaristic Japan. Australia's representatives at the San Francisco conference apparently did not take that fact into consideration. The Government did not seek consultations with the Opposition before it decided that Australia should ratify the treaty. Many of its supporters have complained that the Opposition has not submitted proposals for the improvement of the treaty, but I remind them that we were not given an opportunity to do so.

Had the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) been called into consultation, he could have made many sound suggestions for the amendment of the treaty, and also could have put a little backbone into our negotiators, who noticeably lacked stiffening. When I compare the. actions of our representatives at the recent San Francisco peace conference with the actions of our representatives at the peace conference of 1919, I am forced to conclude that we were represented at San Francisco by the most anaemic set of negotiators that has ever acted on behalf of Australia. I remind the House that Japan was represented as one of the victorious Allied nations at the 1919 conference, at which the present right honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Hughes) appeared on behalf of Australia as its Prime Minister. The Japanese then insisted on racial equality and made many demands, including the demand that they be permitted a colonize the islands adjacent .to New Guinea. Our representative, in the face of strong opposition from a majority of the delegates at the conference, fought on behalf of Australia and succeeded in having that claim rejected. Had we had the benefit of similar strong representation at the San Francisco conference last year, I venture to suggest that the peace treaty would have been drafted in terms altogether different from those that we are now asked to ratify.

The treaty is merely an American arrangement with Japan. It has been drafted in order to conform to the wishes of the United States Foreign Office. Mr. John Foster Dulles was given the task of visiting various Allied nations in order to submit the draft treaty to their governments. It appears to me, and I 'have heard of no evidence to the contrary, that Mr. Dulles merely handed the draft treaty to Australia's Minister for External Affairs and said, in effect, "That is the form of the treaty. I shall invite you to visit the. United States of America in September so that you may sign it ". Our delegates were duly invited to attend the peace conference and they made no attempt whatever to alter any of the main provisions of the treaty. One Australian representative certainly made a somewhat startling speech that was reported under large headlines in the Australian newspapers, but it did not include any appeal for an improvement of the terms of the treaty in the interests of Australia. It merely consisted of an attack upon Russia's attitude to the treaty. I do not criticize him for having made that attack, but the important fact is that he neglected his most important duty, which was to try to protect Australia.


Mr Osborne - Has the honorable member noticed-


Mr BRYSON - I have noticed the honorable member blindly following his leader.


Mr SPEAKER - Order !


Mr BRYSON - I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I should not offend if disorderly interjections did not distract me.

Although the Minister for External Affairs is not entirely satisfied with the treaty and has definitely expressed misgivings, and although the Opposition ha, expressed even graver misgivings, the honorable member for Evans (Mr. Osborne), in his abysmal innocence, staunchly supports every article of the treaty. He is even out of step with the Minister. I suggest that, if the honorable gentleman would go away and arrange for somebody who understands the articles of the treaty to explain them to him, he would change his mind as the Minister for External Affairs has done. The fact remains that this is an American treaty with Japan and that Australia has been dragged in at the heels of the United States of America to sign it. I strongly object to having my mind made up for me by the representatives of another nation. That sort of thing may suit some of the rather stupid hack-benchers on the Government side of the House who, like the slaves they are, are content to ratify the treaty because they have been told that they must do so, but honorable members who have minds and wills of their own hold views that are entirely different from those of the honorable member for Evan.-; and other satellites of the Government. We should examine the treaty with the greatest care from an Australian standpoint. It is all very well for the Minister to excuse his acceptance of the treaty by saying, "We have concluded a security pact, with the United States of America, and therefore we are obliged to ratify the peace treaty If Japan is to rearm, it is very fortunate for us that we have concluded a pact with the United States of America !

The honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) referred earlier to-night to the appeal for assistance that was made to the United States of America by the late John Curtin in 1942. I warn the Government that, if Japan is permitted to rearm, we shall be obliged again before, many years have passed to go on our knees to appeal to the United States of America for support against Japanese aggression. John Curtin was a much greater man Chan is any honorable member on the Government side of the House. Of course, the Government and its supporters are capable of changing their minds overnight, and no. doubt they will have no qualms about begging for American aid when we are again threatened.

I do not demand a harsh peace against the Japanese. I do not ask that they be ground down for generations. I make no appeal to sentimentality, because I have heard too many appeals to the sentiment rather than to the common sense of the people during this debate. But I object with all the force at my command against the terms of this soft treaty. As John Foster Dulles said a few weeks ago, the treaty provides for the rearmament of Japan, and, furthermore, the United States of America expects Japan to rearm. It wants to have a rearmed and militaristic Japan that will combat communism within its own borders and throughout East Asia. It has been said that because of Communist China and Russia a strong Japanese army, navy and air force will act as our first line of defence against Communist aggression and will prevent the spread of communism throughout Japan. I submit that the rearmament of Japan will not prevent the spread of communism in Japan or throughout Asia. Communism in Japan is a greater danger to Australia, as well as to the Japanese, than is the spread of communism in Asia.

Communism is not being spread throughout the world entirely by force of arms; it is being spread in a great part of the world in spite of the force of arms. Australia is expending hundreds of millions of pounds in war preparations to counter the alleged threat of communism. America, England, France and Germany also are expending enormous sums on. war preparations to counter the alleged threat of communism.

Meanwhile the people of their countries are suffering shortages of some of the necessaries of life. We in Australia are experiencing some of that sort of trouble at present. People are being thrown out of employment in certain industries in order that they may be employed in essential war industries. Therefore; some necessary forms of production are being liquidated. That is the policy of this Government as well as of the governments of a number of the Allied nations. That is the policy that is being proposed for Japan. Preparation for war in Japan will not stop the march of communism. Great war preparations cause discontent and shortages among the people, and so assist the spread of communism.

While we are expending large sums on munitions of war the Communists are continuing their so-called cold war and are disseminating their propaganda throughout the world. While they are gaining adherents to their ideas this Government's only counter attack takes the form, of training more soldiers and producing more munitions. The Government has indicated that it will prepare for a shooting war while the Communists proceed to win the cold war.

Government supporters interjecting,


Mr BRYSON - If some of those loudmouthed people with empty heads on the Government side-


Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member will withdraw that remark.


Mr BRYSON - I withdraw it. I point out that we must develop a Japan that will be able to defeat communism both inside Japan and throughout Asia. The various articles of this treaty will prevent that objective from being achieved. There are about 80,000,000 people in Japan, and the population is increasing at a rapid rate. As the papulation increases it will be found that the Japanese will overflow their own islands but will have nowhere outside their islands in which to live. The main islfinds of Japan are hopelessly overcrowded, yet in order to prevent the spread of communism the peace treaty proposes that the whole of the Japanese territories outside the main islands shall be confiscated.


Mr Brown - Does the honorable member object to that?


Mr BRYSON - Yes, because I' am prepared to give to the Japanese some place in which to live.


Mr Brown - Whose territory would the honorable member give to them?


Mr BRYSON - If they cannot live in their own islands they will have to live somewhere else. There are many vacant spaces in Australia, and in the islands north of Australia, and I do not want the Japanese to settle in them. I want them to spread from their main islands to territories adjacent to them where they will do us no harm. We must improve the living conditions of the Japanese workers if we want to stop the spread of communism. The Japanese must be made a race of contented workers, and if we take their territories from them and confine them to their four overcrowded islands their living conditions will continue to decline until they burst forth once more. Are we going to kill the Japanese off or give to them a place in which to live?


Mr Treloar - Let the Russians make such provision.


Mr BRYSON - The poor country storekeeper has something more to say.


Mr SPEAKER -Order ! The honorable member will not make personal references to other honorable members.


Mr BRYSON - Very well, but I shall say that some of the Country party hillbillies


Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member will withdraw that remark. If he makes any further personal references I shall order him to resume his seat.


Mr BRYSON - Very well. Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the remark. Honorable members on the Government side are not prepared to face facts, but this treaty forces us to do so. The most important thing that we have to consider to-day is the effect that the treaty will have on Australia, not only in the immediate future, but also in the distant future. Whilst it may be a good treaty for America, or for other Allied nations, it will be very dangerous to the people of

Australia because we stall have uo protection against a resurgent Japan. We have included in the treaty Articles that will imbue the Japanese with a desire to become militarily powerful and this in turn will enable them to become aggressive enough to take the territory that they require for their overcrowded population. If they were not compelled to rearm they would be able to provide the necessaries of life for a race of people that has always lived at a low standard. If that standard is to be made still lower, they will cast envious eyes towards Australia and the territory to our near north, and sooner or later we shall have to face the same dangers that we faced in 1941.

There is no provision in the treaty which will give to Australian citizens any confidence in the future. I am a peaceloving citizen, and despite the advocacy of a warlike policy that I have heard in this House on many occasions, I believe that the majority of the people of this country are peace-loving citizens and desire to live at peace with all the world. As a national parliament we should ensure that this treaty shall guarantee peace to the people of Australia for generations to come. However, the only hope of security that we have was expressed by the Minister for External Affairs when he introduced the bill. That is the security pact between the United States, New Zealand and Australia. The pact provides that if one country is attacked the other two shall go to its assistance. It is not a very powerful instrument with which to ensure security for Australia, because we must be attacked before we can get assistance from the other nations, and in the not-far-distant future we may be involved in a more devastating war than was the last. Moreover, any nation will be able to withdraw from the Pacific pact provided it gives twelve months' notice of its intention to do so. Therefore, the pact will not represent a solid guarantee of the safety of Australia.


Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member's time has expired.







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