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Tuesday, 2 April 1957


Dr EVATT - Every student of international affairs will agree with what I have said. That explains the attempt to get control of territories in the Middle East - the struggle of the cartels to keep their rivals out of the scene. It has been obvious during the last ten years since World War II. that that is the basic factor.


Mr Casey - That makes Egypt attack Israel?


Dr EVATT - I never said anything of the kind. I said that is the cause of the whole Middle East crisis. It is no use talking about the matter in old-fashioned terms. That is the issue in the Middle East to-day. What is the solution of it? The problem is not merely oil but also other resources and the communications through that area. Is not that the reason why there was so much trouble over the nationalization of the canal? The Suez Canal is, of course, a great waterway which was possessed by a tremendously powerful international shipping group. The effective promotion of the objectives of the United Nations means looking at the matter from the point of view 1 have stated. There must be international regulation, preferably through the United Nations or under its auspices, of resources such as oil which are vital to all the peoples of the world. The time will come when oil will be brought under international control of a body like the United Nations, and this jockeying for position and this readiness to have war rather than lose the oil will end. lt is now one of the objectives of the United Nations that every nation should have access to raw materials such as oil, uranium, and other supplies vital to the life of every country, and ultimately to the life of the every human family in every part of the world. So, foodstuffs and raw materials for industry in undeveloped countries come into the picture. The distribution of food supplies and surpluses is restricted to-day by financial and marketing practices and the insensate desire for more and more profit, which is characteristic of capitalism and, of course, of the international trade groups. That is the problem of the Middle East, and if it were solved there would be no more difficulties based on the idea that it is purely a racial question. No doubt, the element of race comes into it also, but I have been showing that one of the deep-seated causes of tension in the Middle East has been completely omitted from the Minister's speech. Is it not the cause of tension throughout that area? Is it not the idea of Russia to get access to oil supplies there, or is it simply that Russia likes to have its ships sailing in warm water? To-day, the aeroplane and the fuel it uses have become so vital that any old-fashioned explanations that ignore the rivalry over oil in the Middle East are no longer sound.

Another most important question is that of self-government in the Middle East. Conditions must remain disturbed in this area while people are denied the right of selfgovernment, as they are in Cyprus and Algeria. It is no use professing a complete ignorance of the position. Let me refer to the case of Cyprus. The close relations between Cyrus and Greece should not prejudice the claims of Cyprus. 1 could quote dozens of British statesmen who, over the last 30 or 40 years, have advocated the right of the Cypriots to self-determination and have strongly contended that they should have it. I do not believe that such a claim would be seriously opposed in this country. The fact that it is a military or air base should not deprive Cyprus of the right of self-government. Arrangements to use it as a military or air base could be made with the new government as they have been with other governments when their countries have been accorded the status of nationhood.

In Cyprus, on one hand, tremendous courage has been shown by the young British troops stationed there, called the security troops, and on the other by the patriots of that country. That will be the verdict of history. It has been the verdict in respect of all other countries where a similar situation has obtained. Always, unfortunately, there has been a struggle because governments would not yield to the demand for self-government until too late, or at least for a long time. The release of Archbishop Makarios from the Seychelles, to which he was deported without trial and without charge, but simply as an act of state, indicates that the time has come when the people of Cyprus will have self-government. The fact that they have not got it is the source of trouble in the whole of that area.

Algeria is a similar case. Is it not true that, in the case of Indo-China, France refused to give self-government, and that, in the end, French rule had to be eliminated? If France had followed the example of the Labour government in Great Britain in regard to Pakistan, India, Ceylon and Burma, much trouble would have been avoided, and France would have remained on the closest and most friendly terms with Indo-China. Self-government for Algeria must follow as it has been given to the other French possessions in northern Africa. I am glad to see that the British Government has given full self-government to the new state of Ghana, in Africa. In that state the population consists entirely of African natives, and 20 or 30 years ago people probably said that they would never be fit for self-government. Now Ghana is actually a member of the British Commonwealth with full national rights.

In analysing the situation it is of no use to talk about racial antipathy or matters of that kind. Having said that, and put again before the Government the suggestions I made about the relations between Israel and Egypt, 1 say to the Government once more that it is making the greatest possible blunder by not adhering more firmly to the United Nations and its Charter. 1 have never contended that that Charter is a perfect instrument, but the United Nations organization is the one wonderful body that can deal with these great issues. If a problem is not solved at the first attempt it should not be put away in despair and regarded as insoluble. Those who are seeking a solution should not act like a disappointed litigant and say, " We are through with it ". Unfortunately, that is the attitude of this Government. The speech of the Minister for External Affairs reflects the attitude of his colleagues. He was bitterly annoyed with the United Nations organization when it said, with regard to the Suez invasion, that the invading forces must leave, as, finally, they did. I regard that event, in substance, as a victory for the United Nations, but not as a defeat for the British people. Those who were responsible for that invasion were the members of the Government of Great Britain. The people had no say in it. So far as they were able to express their views, they were against it. I believe that the British people and the Australian people are strongly in favour of the United Nations, and the strength of that organization will depend on the moral support given by its members, including Australia. I have always claimed that the Minister for External Affairs would stick up for the United Nations and at the time of the Suez crisis I felt that he was in favour of the United Nations' actions and that he differed very strongly from the course followed by this Government. Of course, he was overruled in connexion with that. However, I ask him not to let any local, private, personal or Cabinet situation interfere with the work he has done from time to time for the United Nations.


Mr Calwell - He ought to resign.


Dr EVATT - It would be a great pity if he did. These are important matters, and the Minister has been a restraining influence from time to time, acting in the interests of peace. I want to say something about a matter of tremendous importance which is facing the world at the present time, and as to which the Minister was unable to say anything to-night. I refer to the continuance of experiments with nuclear weapons. Everybody knows that the Government does not want to face this question, but it must do so. It knows that the majority of the people of Australia are against the continuance of these experiments, and they must be ended by agreement among the three nations that are conducting them. I am not, for the moment, dealing with the machinery to achieve that end, but I should like to refer to a letter written by one of the most prominent authorities in the Department of State of the United States of America. He wrote some very famous articles in connexion with the cold war. His name is George F. Kennan, and in his letter to " The New York Times ", of 28th October, 1956, he makes it perfectly clear that-

A sizeable portion of the world's population views these experiments, rightly or wrongly, with horror and misgiving, and already tends to attribute to them a wide variety of human ills, including most abnormalities of the weather.

I do not hear any scientific observations on that statement from the Government side. The truth about it is that there has been a great deal of dogmatism expressed in order to make the people accept these experiments. So much of it has been inaccurate assertion that the time has come when the scientists are reviewing their opinions. I notice that even iri Australia some scientists, who have been glibly' indicating that there cannot be any possible danger from these experiments, are guarding themselves against the repetition of such opinions. Mr. Kennan wrote, further, in his letter -

There are hundreds of millions of people who are not yet convinced that Washington, in its treatment of these questions, has their interests, those of their children and, in short, the future of civilisation adequately at heart. The feelings of these millions cannot safely be ignored.


Mr Beale - On what date was that letter published?


Dr EVATT - On 28th October, 1956.


Mr Beale - Russia has let off six atomic bombs since then.


Dr EVATT - If that is so, it only makes the matter so much worse. I am referring to the necessity for an immediate meeting to discuss this matter. We should - not simply accept the opinion of the British Prime Minister, Mr. Macmillan, that he is satisfied as to the safety of these experiments. Who is he to be satisfied? If the scientists say there is a risk we should heed what they say,, and the risk is not confined to the immediate present. In a radio-active fall-out, strontium is released. Strontium attacks the bone structure and the amount in the air to-day can affect bone composition for a period of twenty years and may not operate for twenty years. It has a particularly serious effect upon children in relation to terrible diseases such as cancer and leukemia.

I am not speaking about something that is imaginary. In the London "Times" a month ago, the American and British views were analysed. The British Medical Research Council dealing with this matter did not agree with the American view, and said that the risk was greater than had been estimated in the United States. Such diverse views may well be expressed in these vital scientific questions. What is important is to seize hold of these questions and to take action.

I believe that the hearts of the people in every part of the world are very much in this matter. The Minister should have referred to it. It is shocking to think that an experiment of this nature should take place at Christmas Island - an island in midPacific, which was named by Captain Cook because it was discovered on Christmas Day. Shipping and aircraft will be warned that there will be a danger area covering hundreds of thousands of square miles, until, I think, August. That is an indication that this is no longer a matter for mere casual treatment; it is a matter in which careful scientific opinion should be sought. Some people have said, " It may not be so serious as may be believed ". That is not the point. The risk cannot be taken for the sake of humanity in every country in the world!

I turn from that very urgent matter to the next question. The Minister for External Affairs mentioned this matter in one portion of his speech. I refer to China. Is it not obvious to everybody who can take a detached view that the time has come for the recognition of China and for the acceptance of China as a member of the United Nations? Almost all newspapers in Australia, conservative though their views are, have advocated the recognition of China. Some, of course, have qualified it, but that, is, broadly, the view. Such an opinion has been expressed in the Melbourne " Herald ". in South Australian and Western Australian newspapers and certainly in Sydney newspapers. It has also been expressed by some Government supporters.

Is not the truth in regard to China this? Here is a country with an enormous population. It is a country with which Australia should be trading to the maximum extent, but I put the case on broader grounds than those of mere trade. It must be clear to every one who has any acquaintance with world affairs and their development that there is no chance whatever, except one, of the Formosan Government ever becoming the government of continental China again. That chance, of course, is a world war. In a world war the situation may be that such a possibility could not be excluded.

The Chinese Government has been in power for seven years. It makes visits. It even sent to Australia an opera organization which met with enthusiastic applause and showed the art of China. Representatives of the Church of England and other churches have visited China. Scientists have been there, lt is only because the United States of America has vetoed the suggestion, that China has not been recognized. That is exactly what has happened. In 1951, Sir Percy Spender, when he was Minister, was on the point of making a proposal for the recognition of China, coupled with the continuance in some form of recognition of the Formosan Government. Any such recognition would, of course, need to be accompanied by safeguards in relation to Chinese people in Formosa.

What are the arguments that are used against recognition of China? One argument is that the Chinese Government is not to be regarded as sufficiently loyal to the United Nations to be admitted. Other countries, which had fascist regimes, have been admitted to the United Nations and many of them were our enemies during the war. That fact leads to the conclusion that the United Nations is to be a body with universal membership. That is the very objective of it. It is scandalous that the Chinese Government has not been recognized after being in office for so many years. Whatever objections there may be to its internal government - a system which Australians would not accept for themselves - China's admission to the United Nations is an absolute necessity, and should be so regarded by a government interested in Pacific and Asian policy. The recognition of China extends to very many Asian countries. Great Britain has recognized China for, I think, seven years.


Mr Duthie - Even the Macmillan Government recognizes China.


Dr EVATT - Yes. Ft was originally recognized by the Attlee Government, and it was not opposed. There have been delegations to China consisting of parliamentary representatives of some of the political parties in England. Mr. Attlee went there. The position in international affairs cannot he faced and a broad world view taken unless a nation such as China is recognized by Australia. The idea of refusing to recognize it in the popular sense is just as absurd as refusing to recognize the sun when it is shining at noon. It is an existing fact. The Chinese Government has relations with many other nations and that situation must be met by the Government.


Mr Calwell - China has bought wool from Australia.


Dr EVATT - My colleague refers to trade relations, which are important. Trade relations would be improved by diplomatic recognition and by the admission of China to the United Nations. China, by that name, is a member of the United Nations. The only question is: Which is China? . Which is China to-day in the opinion of a court such as the International Court? Would it be the nation that has 600,000,000 inhabitants or the comparatively small island off the coast of China where the old government still exerts authority largely - perhaps exclusively- through the protection of the island by the United States fleet?

I submit that we are getting into an absurd position after World War II, almost as silly as the situation that lasted for so many years after the Napoleonic wars. The rules and principles of international law must be recognized. From that point of view, the decision of Australia, and of the United Nations, should be clear. The United States has no right, in my opinion, to veto the views of its friends. A proposal for the admission of China never goes to a vote. Each year it comes up, but is put off for twelve months. An absurd position is being reached. The recognition of China is a matter on which the Australian people have expressed their views in public opinion polls. Those polls will show increasingly that the view I have taken has now become the majority view. It was put forward by the Labour party long before it became the popular view.

I now wish to refer to the South-East Asia Treaty Organization, which was mentioned by the Minister in an interesting way. He took the Labour conference to task because it referred to the government of Thailand as being a reactionary government. 1 should have thought that that was a gross understatement. If one looks at the history of the Pibul (Songgran) regime, one notes that it has been based throughout on militarism, and that at the very outbreak of war after the attack on Pearl Harbour it was that man who opened the door to the Japanese invaders.


Mr Casey - I rise to order. 1 should like your ruling, Mr. Speaker, on whether the right honorable gentleman is in order in denigrating a friendly government with which Australia has such 'good relations. Without wishing to anticipate your judgment, I think it has become traditional in this House for honorable members on both sides not to traduce the government of a friendly country.


Dr EVATT - I do not wish to take too long in replying to the point of order. The objection of the right honorable gentleman should be enough for the House, but he takes a point of order which, if upheld, will cramp the style of his back-benchers, because they will not be able to insult the heads of other powers.


Mr Casey - I referred to friendly countries.


Dr EVATT - The right honorable gentleman might not insult them, but what about the insults that are levelled from time to time against the heads of other countries, and which have been permitted, if not by the present Speaker, then by previous Speakers?


Mr Casey - I was referring to friendly governments.


Dr EVATT - Friendly, yes. A friendly nation is a nation with which a country is at peace, and the right honorable gentleman knows it - even if he does not like that country for some reason, or if it does not agree with him. There are many details about the government of Thailand which I could give him and which I was about to give when the objection was taken; but I think Mr. Speaker thinks it is better not to pursue the matter. It is clearly a reactionary government. But, broadly, is not the purpose of the South-East Asia Treaty Organization not the purpose for which it was accepted by the House? We accepted it as being consistent with the purpose of the United Nations organization, that is, to conciliate amongst nations. But what do we find now? We find there is talk of contributions, and the schedule has been presented by the Minister to-night. It could have some value if there was really in the organization an attempt to cure the position in South-East Asia by encouraging friendly relations, . not only amongst the member nations- but also amongst other nations including China, India, Burma-


Mr Leslie - Russia.


Dr EVATT - I. was about to include Ceylon. The honorable member's geography is just as much, astray as he is on other matters. I am speaking of South-East Asia. He1 must not refer to Russia in that way, or he will be out of order. That is the weakness of Seato, and the shame of it is that the United States Secretary of State used the occasion of its meeting to issue a thundering statement about why China should not be recognized, which had nothing to do with the Seato conference. I; was a complete abuse of the conference. There is only one thing that can be said about the comment made by .the Labour conference: In the circumstances, it amounted not to an inaccuracy, but to an understatement of the situation.

There is one further thing 1 want to say, because all these things lead up to a broader problem. If the manufacture of nuclear weapons were stopped, it would be a tremendous move in the direction of securing a satisfactory world peace. That is what the peoples of the world want; they do not want enormous expenditure on armaments, with the threat of destruction hanging over them. If nuclear warfare were to break out-, undoubtedly the whole fabric of the earth would be destroyed. 1 should like to conclude by quoting a passage which I think is apt. I refer to an observation that was made by Mr. Churchill at the end of World War II., when the cold war seemed to be imminent. The whole objective of every man, woman and child should be to have world peace on just and equitable terms. 1 have in mind, particularly, countries like Cyprus and Algeria, but the same situation applies to nations in central Europe that are under Russian control. They nominally have self-government, but with armies in occupation or near at hand, they have not real self-government. And it might equally be said that other nations in Europe which have United States forces either within their borders or at hand are not completely free. Walter Lippmann, the great American authority, said eight or nine years ago that the cold war would never end until all the forces in Europe belonging to non-European countries or countries remote from the actual situation - and he meant Russia on the one hand and the United States on the other hand - left Europe, and that then the people would form their own governments and be free. This is what Churchill wrote to Stalin at the end of the last war about the principle behind it all -

There is not much comfort in looking into a future where you and the other countries you dominate, plus the Communist party in many other States, are all drawn up on one side, and those who rally to the English-speaking nations, with their associates and dominions are on the other. It is quite obvious that their quarrel would tear the world to pieces, and all of us, leading men on either side, who had anything to do with that would be shamed before history. Even embarking on long periods of suspicion, or abuse or counterabuse, and of opposing policies, would be a disaster, hampering great development of world prosperity for the masses, which are attainable only by our trinity.

He was referring to the three great powers. That statement has always been engraved in my memory. I think it is a noble utterance and that it is a complete answer, because people want to see world peace based on justice and freedom for all countries with every man in every country free to live his own life without interference. That is the objective. I believe the time is coming when it will be attained, and that the great Labour movement throughout the world will assist to bring in that era.







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