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Wednesday, 27 February 1952


Mr TRELOAR - Another Manus.


Mr CALWELL - It is another attempt at appeasement, and it will fail just as the last notorious attempt at appeasement failed in Europe in 1939. I say to the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Treloar) that the Government has not in its possession any document that would prove that, at any time, the United States of America asked Australia to give to it control of Manus. That is a fact. On the contrary, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) recently tried to give Manus Island to the Americans, hut they did not want it. I challenge the Minister to lay on the table to-morrow any document which he claims .would support his claim, or the claim that is made by his colleagues, that a Labour government refused to give to the Americans anything in regard to Manus for which the Americans asked.


Mr Casey - That is not true.


Mr CALWELL - It is true. I again challenge the Minister to produce any document of the kind that I have mentioned. If he fails to do so, his guilt will be clear. I have referred to appeasement in 1939. That appeasement failed. What was the purpose of it? Great Britain, Prance and certain other countries helped to build up Hitler so that he could protect the Western world against what the Prime Minister, in the article from which I have quoted and which he wrote in January last, called " the common prospective enemy ". When Hitler was built up he made a pact with the "common prospective enemy" and turned on the Allies who had built him up before he turned on that enemy. We have no guarantee that if Japan is built up it will not turn against the Allies.

We shall take two risks - a long-term risk and a short-term risk - if we ratify this treaty. The short-term risk is that when Japan rearms it may associate with Russia, in which event both Japan and Russia would be more dangerous to us than either of them is to-day. But on the long-range view, let us assume that Japan does associate with the Western democracies and helps to destroy Russia in a war that most Government protagonists and propagandists claim to be inevitable. When Russia is defeated, where will Japan turn then, and what will it do then? Japan will not be satisfied to be confined to its island dominion. It will immediately commence its march to control again the greater East Asian coprosperity sphere. There is no doubt that Japan, which had a population of 68,000,000 when it treacherously attacked Pearl Harbour and now has a population of 80,000,000, will turn either to China or southward, as the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) pointed out in his excellent speech last evening. Japan will attack China again, or it will endeavour to annexe the maritime provinces of Russia in the Far East. I have a feeling that there are some secret clauses in the treaty between Japan and the United States of America. I do not believe that in the present international set-up it is possible for the United States of America and Japan to persuade Chiang Kai-shek to hand over Manchuria to Japan again in the event of Japan assisting to defeat Soviet China. It is much more likely that those maritime provinces, which were ceded by China to Russia in 1864 under threat, will be handed over to Japan to colonize, and, of course, Japan will grow strong and, inevitably, come southward again.

This document, which some honorable members opposite have described as a good treaty, could turn out to be a bad treaty and even a more fateful document than that which was signed at Munich. When I speak of Munich, I do not criticize the late Mr. Chamberlain, who was then Prime Minister of Great Britain. I realize that he inherited legacies from the Baldwin and MacDonald Governments - and I refer to the MacDonald Nationalist Government. But, at that time, France and England were weak whereas we have not been under any threat from Japan since the end of World War II. Honorable members opposite have decided to take a risk in respect of this treaty. That approach is completely unjustifiable. The Prime Minister had no doubt on that point because he said in the article to which I have already referred -

We have no assurance that a rearmed Japan will not some day turn against us. We have, for that matter, no assurance that a strengthened and assisted Western Germany will not seme day again prove our enemy.

That statement is particularly clear, sensible and convincing. A rearmed Japan can and may, and, in our view, probably will, become, a menace to the peace of the world. A rearmed Germany can possibly become a menace to Europe. What would be the reaction of France to any suggestion that Germany should be allowed to rearm to the degree that Japan is to be permitted to rearm under this treaty? What would the British and French say if Germany were to be permitted, to build up its armed strength to, say, 60 panzer divisions ? What would be the reaction of those two Allied countries if Germany were permitted almost unlimited power to rearm? Of course, they would object most strenuously. Our safety and security are as dear to us as the security and safety of European democracies are to them, and, therefore, we are justified in protesting against the failure of the Government to write into this treaty a provision that would prevent the Japanese from becoming aggressors, not in 50, or 20 years, but, may be, in ten years or sooner.

The Minister for External Affairs will not convince the Opposition that there are no real grounds for fears in relation to this treaty insofar as it permits Japan to rearm. To do him credit, he admitted that he had some fears about the matter ; and I believe that the fears that he expressed were sufficiently formidable and real to justify postponing ratification of this treaty for at least another couple of years. The document was signed on the 13th July last, but it was not introduced into this Parliament until February of this year. The United States of America has not ratified it. We should follow the example of the United States of America in respect of the Treaty of Versailles. The United States of America refused to sign that treaty. It also refused to join the League of Nations and, after having refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles signed a separate treaty with Germany.

We should be well advised to follow that example in this instance.







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