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Thursday, 11 April 1957

Mr CAIRNS (Yarra) .- Any consideration of foreign policy must begin with the fact that total war, with the use of nuclear power as an instrument of policy, is quite impossible. This has been widely recognized all over the world. It is widely recognized throughout the churches of the world, and the message of Pope Pius XII. on Christmas Day, 1955, is an indication of this recognition. He said -

The spectacle offered to the terrified gaze as the result of the use of atomic weapons is of entire cities wiped out, a pall of death over the pulverized ruins. There will be no song of victory, only the inconsolable weeping of humanity, which in desolation will gaze upon the catastrophe brought about by its own folly.

Scientists throughout the world are in agreement that there will be no survivors of such a catastrophic war. The military experts themselves are agreed upon this. I shall read from an article by LieutenantColonel A. Green in the Australian Army Journal No. 93 as an example. This is perhaps the closest we can get to official military views. Lieutenant-Colonel Green said - !t is this effect on which such strategists as Air Marshal Sir John Slessor rely when they declare that the prospects of major war have receded since nuclear war will be profitless mutual suicide.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has admitted that he holds the same view and that it is shared by the Great Powers, when he said on Tuesday night -

There is, we believe, a clear realization on the part of all the Great Powers that a major war would be almost inevitably a thermo-nuclear one, and would almost certainly lead to mutual destruction.

The impossibility of the nuclear weapon as an instrument of policy has been revealed. It was revealed last week in the decision of the British Government that, in the event of a nuclear war, the British Isles would be completely indefensible. This proposition brought some criticism from parts of the United States, but it is a fact that the defence of the United States is based upon a similar assumption and that the capital cities of the United States are accepted as indefensible in a war of this nature.

Despite this fact, we do rely upon nuclear power as an instrument of policy. In order to support my view on this question, I shall cite Mr. H. J. Morgenthan, an American of some conservative feeling, in his book " Politics Among Nations ". At page 284 he said -

.   . for the two great giants that determine the course of world affairs only one policy seems left, that is to increase their strength and that of their satellites.

I suggest that the policy of the Western powers and of the other great giant in the situation is almost exclusively to increase their power and their strength in the view that this will intimidate them into safety. It is not only one of the great powers that is relying on this doctrine of strength. This doctrine of strength underlies the position of almost every honorable member on the opposite side of the House who has contributed to this debate. This means that both the great powers and those satellites that support them are slow to agree to any action to terminate what the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) called " the rat race ". This means, as was pointed out by the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) tonight, that the initiative to stop this rat race should be taken by some one. The deadline cannot be far off. The initiative to stop further tests of nuclear weapons and to propose control and inspection must be taken up. No other action, I submit, is defensible.

Australia has contributed little or nothing to establishing this initiative to seek an end to further nuclear tests or to seek a proper system of control and inspection in this respect. Instead, we have turned continuously to two other main parts of policy. The first is what was called by George Kennan in 1951 the containment-pressure on Communist countries, plus subversive activities inside them. The second is the doctrine of limited war as it was expounded by the Prime Minister in defence of what he calls our national interest. The limited war I have in mind is a war such as that in the Suez area, Malaya, or Cyprus. The argument is that the United Nations cannot solve these problems, so we have to " go it alone " in the defence of what we self-righteously very often believe to be our national interest. I suggest that we must endeavour to ascertain what kind of success we have had.

Mr Osborne - Does the honorable member put Malaya, Suez and Cyprus in the same category?

Mr CAIRNS - I suggest that we should see what kind of success we have had.

Mr Osborne - Does the honorable member suggest the same kind of limited wai in Malaya, Suez and Cyprus?

Mr CAIRNS - I do not want any assistance from you.

Mr.ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Lawrence).- Order! The honorable member must address the Chair.

Mr CAIRNS - I am about to make statements that are based mainly on debates in the House of Commons, which have been reported in English newspapers such as the London "Times", the "Observer", the Manchester " Guardian ", the " New Statesman " and the " Economist ", and the Minister for Air (Mr. Osborne) can make reference to the reports in those newspapers if he wishes.

Mr Osborne - I asked you a question.

Mr CAIRNS - I am not here to answer your questions.


Order! Honorable members must address the Chair.

Mr CAIRNS - Containment-pressure and anti-Communist subversion have had some success in Viet Nam, where reliance has been placed, as was pointed out by the previous speaker, to some extent on economic development. There has, perhaps, been some success also in Poland, but Hungary has been a tragic failure. Let me refer to the position in Hungary. Anti-Stalinism in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics stimulated people in all Communist countries into the belief that increased social and economic freedom and development were possible, and in many places these beliefs were resolved into action. In Hungary, the Rakosi regime had a cruel record of persecution and restriction. Even the Communist party itself makes a frank admission of this. Russian action which followed was violent and unjustified, even from the point of view of the Russians themselves. In this regard, the Russian action had an effect similar to British and French action in the Suez dispute. There was wide mass support for action which could have increased the chances of freedom and social welfare in Hungary, But instead there was failure. What was the cause of this failure in Hungary? I will not use my own words to answer that question. Instead, I will use the words of Mr. V. L. Borin, the foreign affairs expert of the Anti-Communist party in Victoria, as published in the December issue of a magazine called the " New Country ". This bitter anti-Communist said - . . the strategic objective in Poland and Hungary had to be limited to getting maximum concessions for the people in support of Gomulka and Nagy. That was all which could be achieved within the framework of the objective conditions of revolution; and everything that was done outside this framework was the madness of political simpletons and a crime against the heroic people ready to fight to the death. In Poland, the struggle of Communists for their freedom, backed by their revolutionary masses, did not overreach the given possibilities. It installed Gomulka in power. An intellectual refugee in Melbourne or New York-

And, I might add, most of the supporters of the Government - cannot see any difference between Gomulka and Rokossowski because they are both Communists. But in Poland . . . the people . . . certainly can see the difference.

This bitter anti-Communist went on to say -

When Imre Nagy emerged from the struggle of the Hungarian Communists for their freedom, and became Prime Minister, this was the limit of the revolution in Hungary.

This was not a fascist revolution. It was a revolution which might have contributed a great deal towards freedom and welfare for the Hungarian people without becoming a weak and ineffective spearhead of Western anti-Russian policy. But Nagy was pressed into going beyond that point. He was pressed by Radio Free Europe, set up and operated by the Americans, who promised assistance from the West.

Mr Osborne - Is the honorable member quoting his own view about this?

Mr CAIRNS - I am quoting facts, as I said before. Cardinal Mindszenty* declined support to stabilize the position. Nagy was finally pushed into renouncing the military pact with Moscow and into asking the United Nations for assistance. I will state the position again, not in my own words, but in the words of V. L. Borin, who is bitterly anti-Communist -

The moment Imre Nagy renounced the Hungarian military pact with Moscow and asked the United Nations for assistance, the revolution in Hungary was as good as dead, and the Hungarian nation has had to pay the heaviest penalty for this blunder of a revolution without political leadership.

Who was responsible for this blunder? Again, I give the answer in the words of this bitter anti-Communist. V. L. Borin -

But not a single one of the heroic Hungarians taking part in the revolution can be blamed for this crime. The responsibility lies squarely with . . the Council for Free Europe and Radio Free Europe, who for several years had the monopoly of sponsoring and directing the revolution behind the iron curtain.

Insofar as the responsibility lies in that direction, it lies with the governments of the Western Powers, particularly that of the United States, as is obvious to any one who will take a second thought about the matter. The responsibility lies also upon those who are more concerned to use the tragedy of the Hungarian people to feed the fires of bitter, negative anticommunism in Australia than to do anything for the Hungarian people - and there are a number of persons in this chamber who come within that category.

Let us now look at the third aspect of our foreign policy, this limited war in pursuit of our national interests. Suez is the best example. The objective of the British-French attack on Egypt was to gain physical control of the Suez Canal. It was dot to separate the combatants in the IsraelEgypt war, because, first, the necessary troop and air concentrations for the attack took six weeks to prepare. Six weeks before the Israeli attack on Egypt, tanks, lorries and Bren carriers were being painted desert yellow at Catterick and Salisbury in England. Secondly, the paratroop landing at Port Said was made 48 hours after hostilities had actually ceased between Israel and Egypt. The combatants had already separated. If the United Nations is useless, then what was the use of making this attack in order to bring the United Nations into the situation? If what has been said about the United Nations by Government supporters during the past week is correct, what was the use of intervening in the Israel-Egypt conflict in order to involve this broken reed, the United Nations?

But the British-French attack on Egypt was not made in order to force the United Nations to act, because, first, Britain and France vetoed the United Nations decision for the cessation of hostilities 24 hours before they attacked Egypt. Secondly, Britain and France had continuously opposed United Nations action for six years, and they had continued to support Egypt. Only a fortnight before the Suez Canal was nationalized they delivered a destroyer to Egypt, and, remarkably enough, the destroyer was called H.M.S. " Ming ".

If this attack on Egypt was part of a policy to secure what was regarded as our national interests, it has tragically failed. The tragic failure has been recognized alike by the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), and by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth). The bitter speeches that have emanated from those honorable gentlemen are proof of the fact that they recognize this tragic failure. According to the honorable member foi Angas, it is the United States of America that has failed, while the Prime Minister attributes the failure to the United Nations. 1 wish these two gentlemen would come to agreement on the matter.

Let us consider the costs of this failure Egypt is still in control of the canal and is in a vastly stronger position to-day than ever before. The Egypt-Israel dispute is farther away from settlement than it was before the intervention. The British Prime Minister has said that British military costs were at least £50,000,000. Loss of production caused by destruction of installations in Syria has amounted to £20,000,000 a month. The increase in oil transport charges costs £40,000,000 a month, and there is an added quarterly drain on dollar reserves amounting to £50,000,000. There has been a severe loss of British prestige. In this regard I should like to refer to an opinion expressed by Count Puckner in 1939 in a book entitled "Wei stark ist England "-

Great Britain's rulers cannot use her power in an arbitrary manner. They cannot throw it into the scales in support of something which is condemned as unethical by the British people and by world opinion. If, in her dealings with another country, Britain's policy were ever to be on an inferior moral basis, then the world would see the spectacle of Britain's famed diplomacy deprived of its most powerful weapon and condemned to impotence.

Count Puckner was right in 1939. Britain's strength did depend upon her refusal to use her power in an arbitrary manner; upon her refusal to support things which are unethical and are condemned by the British people and by world opinion. But in the Suez war, the source of Britain's power was thrown away in an act of sudden passion and miscalculation, to use the Prime Minister's term in reference to another matter. The supporters of the Government say that everything would have been all right had the action gone on to success. But let us have a look at this matter from a practical point of view. The opinion of Government supporters ignores the fact that the United States is much concerned with Middle East oil, for which it pays Saudi-Arabia alone about 500,000,000 dollars a year. The United States will not risk a situation in which the Arabs would be incited into destroying installations and agreements. The United States would not have supported any such action. This should have been recognized, and I think it was recognized by the Minister for External Affairs from the very beginning.

The United States is anxious to keep Russian troops out of the Middle East. When, after the Suez bombing by the British and the French, Bulganin issued his " rockets " ultimatum, the United States carefully avoided any committal of American troops in that area because it did not want to involve the Soviet Union in that kind of action, and thereby introduce Soviet power into that area. Finally, even if Britain and France had obtained complete control of the canal, it would not have been workable control. They would have been a small island in a sea of hostile Egyptian and Arab enemies. The oil installations and pipelines throughout the Arab world would have been exposed to continuous sabotage. The position would have been far worse than that of 1954, when occupation of the canal proved completely untenable.

What was the alternative to this tragic blunder? The alternative was continued negotiation. There had been agreement in the United Nations at New York, in the week between 9th and 16th October, on the six principles that came out of the London conference. The Egyptions had agreed to accept those principles, and Fawsi proposed a conference at Geneva to draw up an international contract. The canal was being operated successfully during this time at normal rates. In addition to this, we have to look at several other aspects, and I want to turn to those in conclusion.

I suggest that we have to re-design our policy in relation to Europe and the Arab and Asian areas, so that emphasis will be laid upon giving the people of those areas more scope to determine their own affairs and more independence in the determination of those affairs. We must throw greater emphasis upon economic matters and less emphasis upon military matters. A comparison between the £20,000,000 spent on the Colombo plan in five years and the £1,200,000,000 spent on the methods and means of war provides an illustration of the kind of priority that this Government has given in those matters. I suggest that we must seek to take the initiative in obtaining an end to atom bomb and hydrogen bomb tests. I think that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom made a most desperate resistance to suggestions from the Labour Opposition there that this should be done, when he suggested that we were nolonger certain that we could detect these tests if they were carried out. Upon this point, and upon most others, the Labour party of this country is in complete agreement with the Labour party in the United Kingdom. I suggest that the Australian Labour party has attempted to answer thechallenge involved in international relations. That challenge was well stated by Sir Winston Churchill, when he said, in relation to the coming of the hydrogen bomb - . . the entire foundation of human affairs was revolutionized and mankind placed in a situation both measureless and laden with doom.

The answer of the Australian Labour party is consistent with principle. We have been accused of idealism. I think that a little idealism in this world is not uncalled for. I have tried to show that our proposals are workable and certainly more realistic than the series of tragic errors which have been supported by this Government but not, I feel, by the Minister for External Affairs.

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