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Tuesday, 6 December 1960


Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Leader of the Opposition) . - Our criticism of the Government over the past eleven years lies in part on its failure to consult Parliament regularly on international affairs. For instance, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has never once consulted Parliament before leaving for a Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference in London and has rarely, if ever, reported to Parliament on his return as to what happened at such important meetings. We think that foreign affairs are matters of vital concern to us all and should not continue to be subjects for Cabinet alone to decide or for one Minister only to know about. The Parliament should be asked to vote its approval or disapproval of all matters of major importance concerning foreign affairs.

The Prime Minister's statement now before us is very important and covers many subjects. Indeed, it is one of the most important that has been made in recent years. But it has been made in the dying hours of the current sittings and he and I are the only two members of a House of 125 members who will be given an opportunity to speak in the debate before the Parliament closes. This is not democracy; it does not even make common sense. The debate will be adjourned, I understand, after I have spoken and the matter will not come up again for further debate until the House assembles on 28th February next. I hope that in the interests of Australia, this will be the first business to be debated when Parliament re-convenes, because shortly afterwards the Prime Minister will attend yet another Prime Ministers' Conference and will possibly go to another meeting of the United Nations.

It seems to me right and proper that the opinions of those honorable members on both sides of the House who wish to make their contributions to the discussion on foreign affairs should be heard. The debate should not be restricted to two members or even to ten members. Every member of Parliament has a right to voice his opinion on current international problems, affecting as they do the peace of the world and the safety of mankind. No Parliament should be deprived of its right to give its opinion to its Government in this important field of policy. I hope that the Prime Minister will recognize that principle and will agree to a resumption of the debate, as I have suggested, when we meet again ten weeks hence.

Let it not continue to be said that the Prime Minister, in- his capacity as both Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs, refuses to consult the House before leaving to attend a Prime Ministers' Conference or a meeting of the United Nations and does not bother to report to the Parliament when he returns, unless he is pressed to do so. With regard to affairs in South Africa and to the recent meeting of the United Nations, we claim that it was our demand that forced the debate on the first issue and world publicity of the Prime Minister's failure before the United Nations as well as our demand for a debate which forced him to make a statement on the second issue. As a result, we had debates on both issues.

I have had little opportunity to study the Prime Minister's statement, and I do not blame him for that. He made the statement to-day after I had requested it only last week. He gave me a copy of it this morning and I had only two hours in which to read it and to make a few notes upon it so that I could continue the debate to-day. If I had not continued it to-day, there would have been no debate on it at all.


Mr Menzies - I assure you that you received a copy as soon as the typist had finished lt.


Mr CALWELL - L acknowledge that quite freely. I am glad that the Prime Minister dealt with the Congo situation, the problems of the newly emerging nations of Africa, the prospects of Summit meetings and the problems of West Berlin, Laos and Viet Nam. We are all concerned with the question of a Summit meeting. Members of the Labour Party claim that this party was the first political party anywhere in the world to advocate Summit meetings. This was done through the then Leader of the Australian Labour Party, the Right Honorable Dr. H. V. Evatt. He advocated this proposition several years ago. At the time he was derided and sneered at, but it is now, of course, popular to advocate Summit meetings. We have the Prime Minister's assurance that he personally discussed the matter with Mr. Khrushchev, who assured him that he too wanted a Summit meeting. Among the subjects discussed after that of the Summit meeting was the question of Berlin and Germany, and then the question of the control of nuclear weapons. All that is to the good. We were sorry that the Summit meeting broke down earlier this year. We were sorry that the United Nations failed at its recent meeting to resolve the problem. But we hope with the Prime Minister that a Summit meeting will soon be held. Indeed, if a Summit meeting is not held and mankind cannot find some way out of the jungle, there is not much hope for any of us.

The questions of Germany, and of Berlin in particular, are important. They are important to the Germans; they are important to the Russians; they are important to everybody. I sometimes try to study the Russian reaction to proposals for the reunification of Germany, and I can understand the fear which the Russian people have. It is a fear that the French and British also have about a reunited and re-militarized Germany. It is the fear that a re-militarized Germany might plunge Europe into a third world war. Until we have a Summit meeting and until we have disarmament, it does not seem likely that the world will make much progress towards the release from enslavement of those unfortunate people in the middle countries of Europe who to-day are denied their freedom.

I should like to see the people of Hungary and Poland choosing their governments just as freely as do the people of Austria, Italy and France. If the Russians can be persuaded, as they were persuaded to make a treaty in respect of Austria, there is no reason to believe that the time will not come when similar treaties will be made in respect of Hungary and Poland, and perhaps in respect of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. I think that all Australians hold that view.

There is another matter which I want to mention, Sir. That is the problem of the under-developed and under-privileged countries of the world. This is a problem that we should consider. The Prime Minister said that he could not deal with every matter; and, of course, he could not. But this problem of how to feed the hungry peoples of the world is a very real one. One-third of the people of the world go to bed hungry. One-third of the people of the world suffer from malnutrition. The annual per capita income of the people of India is no higher than £26 sterling. If we of the West, who are the privileged people of the world, think that we can continue in that position for another generation or two, we are hugging an illusion. The great mass of mankind which is suffering most lives in the area between West Pakistan and China. We must think a good deal more than we have been thinking about what we intend to do about the underprivileged peoples of the world.

I think that the Prime Minister might have told us something, too, about the Government's attitude towards Cuba and about what is happening in that country, because something could happen there which could set off another conflagration and endanger world peace. If I had time, I should like to offer a few opinions myself about those so-called democratic regimes which were toppled in South Korea and Turkey in recent times. We have recently seen revealed just how rotten is the state of democracy in some of these alleged democratic countries.

I do not propose to detain the House for very long, Sir, but I should like to offer a few more observations on what the Prime Minister has said, and to make some criticisms, too, of the Government's policy in foreign affairs over the year which is now closing. The year 1960 has not been a successful one for the Government in the United Nations - and not only there, but also before the bar of world opinion. I believe that the Government misjudged Australian opinion when it adopted its equivocal attitude on apartheid in South Africa and when it gave its outright support to the claim by the Nationalist Government of that country that the matter was one of domestic policy, although apartheid had been condemned by every other free nation. In contrast with the Government's hesitancy on this issue, there was the speed which it showed in condemning the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for shooting down a U2 aeroplane over Russia, although the President of the United States of America had already admitted to the world that he knew of the flight and had approved it.

Then came the Prime Minister's intervention on the question of Summit meetings at the recent meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. His actions and resolution on that occasion isolated Australia from the great majority of the world powers and angered the Afro-Asian bloc. Indeed, it angered Mr. Nehru, the well-loved leader of more than 400,000,000 Indians. We cannot afford to be bad friends with more than 400,000,000 people who are our near neighbours - people about whom we have never had any cause to complain and whose leader is under criticism by some people in this country, not because he is an enemy of Australia or because he has ever done any harm to Australia, but because he has followed a policy of neutralism. In the weakness of his country, what other policy could he adopt?

I was glad to note the Prime Minister's observation that we should not be worried about whether the new nations moved into one orbit or another. That sounded like common sense to me. I should like to mention, also, the way in which the Gluckman case was handled. That incident did Australia no good internationally, and it yet remains unexplained. Some people may regard it as a minor incident, but anything that puts Australia in a bad light is something to be deplored and to be cleared up if possible.


Mr McColm - Such as the incident of the Manila girls and similar incidents.


Mr CALWELL - The incident of the Manila girls is quite easily explained. If the honorable member believes that a foreign power ought to be able to send aircraft into this country and fly people out without asking the Australian Government's permission, he would sustain a situation which nobody else in this Parliament has ever tried to sustain. If he takes that attitude, the sooner he disappears from the Parliament, the better it will be for Queensland and Australia. Lastly, there are the events in South Korea and Turkey, which I have already mentioned.

In spite of all these things, Australia, as a small power, can nevertheless be a moral force if its government is prepared to act with vision, courage and independence on international questions. I used to say of Lord Casey, who was formerly member for La Trobe and Minister for External Affairs, that he used to listen in to Whitehall or Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and to Washington on Tuesdays, Thursdays and' Saturdays, and then write Australia's foreign policy on Sundays. I believe that we should have our own foreign policy. And we should not determine our foreign policy in antagonism to any of our allies. Our own special position demands that we look after our own affairs. We should be guided by what is best for Australia and we should try to do what we can to help our allies. But we should never be satellites of any other powers, no matter how friendly we are with them. No nation will think badly of us if we take that stand.

I think that the exercise of vision implies recognition of the fact that the political complexion of the world is changing rapidly. Within a few months, African nations have emerged from a state of colonialism into full independence. The Prime

Minister's statement dealt adequately with the historic aspects of this development. We all are glad to see the peoples of Africa now gathered in a number of independent nations, and we wish their countries well. Nobody in this country would wish them any harm. But the emergence of these new powers and their admission to the United Nations has swung the balance of power away from the established powers of the world to the new nations of Africa, Asia and South America. Unfortunately, too few people yet realize the significance of this fact. We in the Western world are still inclined to adopt a superior attitude and to treat the new nations either as not having the competence to manage their own affairs or as not having minds of their own. We should do well to remember that they are now equal with their former overlords in the councils of the nations, and we should treat them as equals and as being in every way responsible and trustworthy.

The new countries, like Australia, have a vested and intimate interest in world peace. Like Australia, they lack scientific know-how and military might to make them world powers in the accepted sense. Like Australia, they need time, money, material resources and men to assist and speed their development. Their needs are even greater than are ours. Great and all as our needs are, we are bound to give the new nations what help we can. It was good to hear the Prime Minister say that we were giving assistance in the Congo, that we had given assistance under the Colombo Plan and that we shall give further assistance to countries that really want to lift the living standards of their people because they feel that they too should enjoy the bounties of the earth.

Australia's position can make this country a bridge between the old powers and the newly emerged nations, Sir. This does not mean the shedding of old allegiances or friendships. On the contrary, the adoption by Australia of an independent stand at the United Nations would strengthen our position and help us to influence the position of the new powers. Australia should work to strengthen the United Nations in all its activities. There should be no weakening of the position of the Secretary-General, nor any loss of confidence in his ability or in his integrity.

He is worthy of our full support. But the time has come when the position of the Security Council should be reviewed and its membership broadened. There is also need for a re-examination of the veto, against which Dr. Evatt fought so strongly and, unfortunately, so unsuccessfully, at San Francisco, in 1945. The time has come as well for the United Nations to look seriously at the question of establishing a permanent security force, already provided for in the charter, and under the full control of the United Nations Assembly. Security forces have undertaken excellent work in the Middle East and in the Congo, with the support of every nation. The United Nations intervention in Korea had the support of the non-Communist world, and Australia made the contribution requested of it with the full support of this Parliament.

We cannot continue to exclude Communist China from the United Nations organization as the representative of mainland China. Recognition of Communist China, and its admission to the world organization, does not imply condonation of its internal political system, or the abandonment of Formosa. Formosa should be guaranteed separate representation in the United Nations Assembly, and the Formosan people themselves should be allowed to decide their own destiny. Ultimately, they and the mainland Chinese will do that. The Chinese people have always solved their own problems in their own way. In any case, it is always idle, foolish and dangerous for Europeans to try to prescribe solutions for Asia's problems, or to suggest how Asian peoples should act.

The policy of two Chinas is winning support in the United States, and has a powerful spokesman in Mr. Chester Bowles, one of Senator John F. Kennedy's principal aides and advisers. I would not be surprised if, some time after Senator Kennedy is sworn in as President, American policy in regard to China changes. For one thing, I hope that the proposal of Mr. Bowles that Matsu and Quemoy should be evacuated is adopted. That will at least remove tension in that part of the world, and thus remove the possibility of war between the United States and Communist China. There should be no possibility of any American servicemen being killed in the defence of islands that are only 5 miles off the coast of mainland China. I think that the policy of the new United States administration will prevent that happening.

The Prime Minister has spoken of the tension that exists between Russia and China. There is tension between those two countries. There has always been tension between Russia and China. Let us not forget that in the days of the Russian czars and the Chinese emperors the maritime provinces of China were ceded to Russia. That was done under threat from Russia in 1864, and the day will come when China will demand the return of that territory. It is still occupied principally by people of Chinese or Mongolian blood, and it is regarded by the Chinese people as an area that is historically theirs. Every invasion of Europe has come out of Asia. The only one that did not was the Hittite invasion, which went from Europe into Asia, but Genghis Khan and Tamerlane were two of the great warriors that came out of Asia and raided deep into Europe. Perhaps the Russians fear that a united, militarized China could be a danger to them. The Chinese want peace and disarmament just as much as we do, and I hope that the summit meeting, when it is eventually held, will produce solutions to most of the problems that confront them and us. I sympathize with the Russian people in their fears with Germany on the west and China on the east of their territories.

Somebody interjected about Formosa. There are 10.000.000 people on Formosa. T would not hand them over to the Chinese Communists. They are entitled to live a life apart if they want to do so. The United Nations has already provided for a North and South Viet Nam and for a North and South Korea. Many of the countries in the West and the East believe in partition or put up with it. There is no reason in the world why, in seeking world peace, we could not have the best partition of all - an ocean partition - dividing one part of the world, and an island at that, from mainland China. I am positive, too, that China, having adopted the Communist philosophy for the time being, will use it to serve her own interests just as she has used other philosophies through history, and in time will discard it as she has always done in the past, and she will always continue to do.

Let me say something now about happenings in connexion with New Guinea. I think the Australian people are indebted to the Prime Minister of Malaya for his initiative in trying to relieve the tension that exists between Indonesia, the Netherlands and Australia in connexion with that territory. If he has failed temporarily, it is not his fault. He has certainly done a very good job, and we wish him well next time he makes an attempt. We also wish the peoples of Laos and Viet Nam well in all their undertakings. We have no doubt that, given time and goodwill, all the countries that are troubled to-day by threats of take-overs and military occupation by Communists or other totalitarian or aggressive forces can, and probably will, survive as free peoples.

I wish to make particular reference to Dutch New Guinea. I have no criticism to offer on what the Prime Minister has said about Dutch New Guinea. We of the Labour Party have made our position abundantly clear on this issue, which affects all Australians so very much. I just want to emphasize that the position of the Labour Party has been made clear many times, and that we have never deviated from it. That position was laid down very clearly by a resolution passed by a Commonwealth-wide conference of our party in Brisbane in 1957. I shall not state the resolution verbatim but, in substance, it is that we believe that Australia, the Netherlands and Indonesia should negotiate a tri-partite agreement - and register it with the United Nations - for the maintenance of the peace and security of the whole area covered by Indonesia, the island of New Guinea, and adjacent islands under Australian and Indonesian jurisdiction.

That implies maintenance of the status quo in the whole area, at least until such time as all the people of Papua and New Guinea can vote as one people and determine for themselves, without interference, their own future national status. No part of the island of New Guinea is Indonesian just because Indonesia says so. It can only become part of Indonesia if, 20, 30 or 40 years hence, the whole of the people of the island of New Guinea decide, by their vote, to make it so. But the indigenous people of the whole island of New Guinea might very well decide - and it is quite likely that they will - to become part of the Melanesian Federation, or to become part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. I repeat that it is for them, and them alone, to decide, in accordance with the principles of selfdetermination, how they wish to be governed, and no neo-imperialist power has the right to prevent their doing so.

We hope that there will be peace in that area of the world so close to us. We hope, too, that there will be peace in this part of the world. We wish the United Nations success in 1961. We hope that when we come to this time next year, when 1961 is also passing into history, a Summit meeting will have been held, and that it will have been successful.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Pearce) adjourned.







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