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Thursday, 11 April 1957

Mr DRURY (Ryan) .- The last speaker in this debate on international affairs on Tuesday night was the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). As one might have expected, he used his time in engaging in a typical outburst, not only against the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), but against what he is pleased to describe as capitalist interests. The honorable member presented a completely distorted view of the situation in the Middle East. First of all I want to refute with all the strength at my command the honorable member's charge that the Prime Minister is a warmonger. The only other place where I am used to seeing that expression is in the Communist " Tribune " and in other publications of that party. The honorable member went on to say that the Prime Minister was disappointed because his exte - nal efforts had not been successful in producing an armed conflict affecting this and other countries. Now. sir. 1 claim that iven coming from the honorable member for East Sydney that is a most disgraceful ind unwarranted statement. The honorable member engaged in what I might describe as a hymn of hate against all capitalists and what he described as the oil monopolists of the Middle East. He went on to make what T can only say must have a deliberate misinterpretation of a statement by i he Australian permanent delegate to the United Nations, Dr. E. R. Walker, in relation to the Suez Canal. Dr. Walker said -

Egypt's action in nationalizing the canal could have big repercussions on the flow of capital ti> undeveloped countries.

That was Dr. Walker's statement, lt was quoted correctly by the honorable member for East Sydney, but in his remarks the honorable member obviously attempted to make out that Dr. Walker was trying to protect certain people who had vested interests in the Middle East, thereby trying to present a completely distorted view of the true historical and political set-up in that part of the world. Obviously Egypt's action in nationalizing the canal was going to have a very deterimental effect on the development of not only this country but also many countries in east Asia, south Asia, and elsewhere. The honorable member went on to say -

Communist philosophy is opposed to that of the Labour party as a democratic organization, but. just as we are threatened by the Communists, so we are threatened by the fascists.

Let us just examine that statement for a moment, because it certainly is news to me that the doctrines as propounded by the honorable member for East Sydney and b> some other members of the Labour party are opposed to the interests of the Communist philosophy. I believe that since the Brisbane conference - and 1 am sorry to have to say this - it has been perfectly obvious that the official foreign policy of the Australian Labour party, as enunciated by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), the honorable member for East Sydney, and some other speakers on that side of the House, is practically on all fours with the foreign policy that one reads in the " Tribune ". It is a terrible thought that the once great Australian Labour party, which a bi? percentage of people in this country look up to, should have descended to such depths that it has now espoused a foreign policy which is scarcely distinguishable fro-n that which one reads in Communist publications.

Mr. Evan; Mr. Speaker, I rise to Order. T regard those remarks as offensive, and, in accordance with rulings given in the last few days in respect of statements from this side of the House, I ask that they be withdrawn.

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay).Thehonorable member for Ryan is in order.

Mr DRURY - The honorable member for East Sydney went on to refer to fascism. He said, as his leader had said in his speech, that the fascists were a threat to the free world. During the few years that I have been in this House, I have been quite accustomed to hearing charges levelled by the honorable member for East Sydney against those who sit on this side of the House of being fascists. On a number of occasions, he has accused Government supporters of being fascists and of being fascist-minded. If that is an indication of his interpretation of the word " fascist ", I am sure that the people of this country will realize that they have nothing to fear.

In response to an interjection, the honorable member for East Sydney made some reference to Spain. 1 am opposed to fascism. Government supporters are opposed to fascism just as they are opposed to communism. But I draw this distinction between fascist Spain under Franco and the international communism which is threatening the world. Spain is entitled to set up a government within its own boundaries and to run its own affairs in its own way provided it does not interfere with other countries, does not attempt to impose its will on other countries, and does not seek to extend its boundaries and domain beyond its own legitimate boundaries. In that case, I say, Spain is entitled to have a Franco government or any other kind of government that suits it. That is a clear distinction in relation to both fascist Spain and international communism.

There is no doubt in the minds of intelligent people that the great danger in the world to-day comes from international communism - a cause which, I feel, is too nearly espoused by the honorable member for East Sydney and, indeed, even officially espoused since the Brisbane conference of the Australian Labour party. But I want to make it quite clear that there are certain members of the Australian Labour party, both in this House and outside it, who are most strenuously opposed to the new line of foreign policy which has been officially adopted. If any one wants an illustration of the points of identity between the kind of foreign policy that one reads in the " Tribune " and the kind of foreign policy described by the honorable member for East Sydney and those who think like him on the Labour side, apart from the question of drastic reduction of defence expenditure there is the question of the withdrawal of troops from Malaya, which is on all fours with Communist foreign policy; there is the recognition of red China and the admission of red China to the United Nations, which is also strongly propounded by Communist journals; and there is the banning of nuclear tests, a subject on which the Leader of the Opposition spent quite a considerable part of his time during this debate.

I was very struck by the remarkable similarity between many of his remarks and the contents of a letter which I received a fortnight ago from a branch of the Communist party in my electorate on this very subject of the tests at Christmas Island. I regret very much having to say this, because I should like to feel that the Australian Labour party was still espousing a foreign policy that was in the best interests of this country. But because I feel very strongly that it is not espousing a foreign policy which is in Australia's best interests, I think that it needs to be exposed to this House and to the country, because grave dangers are inherent in it.

It is more remarkable that, time after time, when the Leader of the Opposition speaks in foreign affairs debates and when the honorable member for East Sydney and some other members of the Labour party speak in foreign affairs debates, they make no denunciation of international communism. They never warn this House and the country of the grave dangers that this generation and future generations face from this dreadful onward thrust of international communism. We did hear some reference to Great Britain and France and their action in relation to Suez. I think that one honorable member even drew a comparison between the action taken by Great Britain and France in Egypt and the action taken by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Hungary. There could be no two cases more widely apart. The action of Britain and France in relation to Egypt is now, perhaps, of historical and academic interest, and I do not propose to spend any time in talking about it. I only mention it to elaborate my point that the police action taken by Britain and France in relation to Egypt was a most timely action to separate the combatants - an action which history will prove has succeeded in halting Communist influence in the Middle East, perhaps to the point where this world has been saved from a third major conflagration, at least for the time being.

Perhaps we are too close to events at the moment to see all these things in their true perspective. On the other hand, 1 contrast as strongly as I can the case of the brutal, wicked, savage and inhuman onslaught by Soviet Russia on that poor little country in the middle of Europe.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - What about the 6,000 Egyptians who are dead?

Mr DRURY - The honorable member for Hindmarsh is most adept at saying what he does not mean. The other night, he made a specious " attempt to make out that the Labour party was bitterly opposed to communism in its new foreign policy, whereas, judging by the remarks of Opposition speakers in this debate and judging by what we have read of the decisions at the Brisbane conference, the left wing of the Labour party, which is now in a predominant position, has a foreign policy which is so closely akin to that of the Communist party that there is scarcely any differentiation.

As I have said, perhaps the question of British and French action in Egypt is now only of historical and academic interest. But at least it had the effect of galvanizing the United Nations into action. Ineffective, perhaps, as the United Nations' action has been, at least it did take some action which it would not have taken if it had not been so galvanized by the action on the part of Great Britain and France. There is plenty of evidence of a major arms build-up in Egypt and in Syria on the part of the Soviet. There is plenty of evidence of a conspiracy between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Egypt to oust Western influence from the whole of the Middle East area. Although we on this side of the House do believe in the principles of the United Nations, we feel that the United Nations should be capable of being regarded as our ultimate protection and that we should be able to regard it as a world-wide organization, commanding universal respect.

Unfortunately, the position is not so. I hope that by bending our efforts towards helping the United Nations we will make it such an instrument; but at the present time we have to face the facts.

The honorable member for East Sydney claimed that the Labour party's approach to foreign policy was realistic. I believe, in the face of world events, moving fast as they are, with the situation changing day by day, that the only safe foreign policy for this country to adopt is one of utmost precaution - one of peace through strength. I believe it is imperative, in the interests of this country, that we foster and pursue regional pacts within the framework of the United Nations' charter that have already been entered into. Unfortunately, it is a fact that the United Nations has become primarily a sounding board for Communist propaganda. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) pointed out the other night in a most able speech that there appears to be only one rule for the democracies of the free world and another rule for the Soviet and its friends. While that is so, the United Nations will not be in a position to command world-wide respect or to enforce its principles against any aggressors.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - What about saying something more on " the Brisbane line "?

Mr DRURY - Naturally, " the Brisbane line " is very close to the heart of the honorable member for Hindmarsh.

I should like to pay a tribute to the Minister for External Affairs for his very capable exposition, the other night, in relation to the world situation as a whole, and, in particular, for his very constructive approach to this big problem which is facing us in the Middle East. Time will not permit me to say very much about it. but I feel that he has put forward a fourpoint programme which has all the hallmarks of being a successful way of attacking this problem. I think it is dreadful that a tin-pot, upstart dictator like Nasser, who is only a 1957 version of Hitler in a very poor way, should still be strutting the world stage dictating terms and laying down the law, and getting away with it. Although I do not like to say so, I feel that that is a direct reflection upon the capacity and standing of the United Nations.

The other day, I heard a radio news commentator point out that two-thirds of the former users of the Suez Canal were now avoiding it and sending their ships round by the Cape of Good Hope. The more 1 think about it. the more it appeal a to me that the best way of bringing Nasser to his knees would be lo impose economic sanctions, because if the nations of the world declined to use the canal and to pay tolls in order to hil his coffers, the time would come, perhaps not very far in the future, when he would be forced to his knees by bankruptcy. He would then grovel and be prepared to come to terms instead of strutting arrogantly as he is doing at the present time. Obviously, this man has no more respect for international treaties and obligations than Hitler had, and we must regard him in much the same light as we did Hitler. He cannot be trusted, and I for one have felt rather shocked at the manner in which the United Nations Secretary-General has, almost fallen over backwards in trying npt to offend President Nasser.

I think that one of the most heartening developments in the Middle East has been the decision of the United States of America to participate in the Baghdad pact, even though to a very limited degree. As honorable members know, the United States is to participate only in the Military Committee of that pact, but this is a positive step in the right direction. It is interesting to note, in studying the history of the Baghdad pact, that Egypt has always bitterly opposed it. From the very first suggestion of this pact, to which the United Kingdom, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, and Persia are signatories, Egypt has bitterly opposed it. To-day, Egypt is merely a Soviet puppet, and Nasser is saying and doing exactly as Moscow tells him. We should understand the situation very clearly, and I am pleased and heartened at the decision of the United States to participate in the Military Committee of the pact. 1 want honorable members to cast their minds back to a speech made in this House on 22nd February, 1956, by the Minister for External Affairs. On that occasion, the Minister quoted the following remarks from a speech made by Mr. Khrushchev on 29th December, 1955 -

If certain politicians think that our confidence in the victory of socialism, in the teachings of

Marxism-Leninism, is a violation of the Geneva spirit, they obviously have an erroneous notion of thai spirit. They ought lo remember, once and for all. that we have never gone back and never will go back on our ideas, on our struggle for the victory of communism. They need never expect any ideological disarming on our pan.

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