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Wednesday, 25 June 1941


Senator ABBOTT (New South Wales) . - Honorable senators will recall that when I moved this motion at the end of last year, I was given leave to continue my remarks. On the eve of: my term of office as a senator I wish to be quite frank with the Senate. I shall not press this matter to a conclusion at. this stage,, but I wish to .place certain factors on record, because I hope- that whether this motion be or. be not passed - after all that does not matter, so much - I shall perhaps,, with the friendly attention and. assistance of my fellow senators, have been privileged to sow a small seed that, in time may grow into an important plant, of which they themselves, and all the world, will be proud. All I ask in this motion is that this Senate shall make a very strong declaration to the world that all loT:.ers of freedom - democratic countries, and: particularly tks British family of nations - will at the conclusion 'of this war absolutely refuse to- accept a so-called peace which does, not ensure absolute security against a recurrence, of the dreadful evils caused by war that is devastating the world to-day. That is all I wish, to do., If honorable senators analyse this long motion they will, find that that is all it means. But it does purport to make .a suggestion based on our. own constitution and on the constitution of our American cousins; it does attempt to point .out that the real road to world security lies- in, the application of the Federal principle to any world body that may be set up after the war. It is unthinkable that at the conclusion of hostilities every reasonable man in the world will not bend his might towards the attainment- of a solution of this pressing problem. We thought wehad a solution in the League of. Nations. Some people say that the .League of Nations failed"; I have never said that. I 'believe that from the very weaknesses, errors, and mistakes of the League of Nations, we should derive the necessary lessons to eliminate the deficiencies that made aggression" possible, and thus bring to successful fruition the good, work that was started, by the League. At least, the League of Nations did establish for us the ideal of world collective security, and I want this Senate to proclaim to the world that we shall' cling steadfastly to that ideal. This afternoon, I asked a quest-ion which was answered by the Leader of the Senate (Senator McLeay).

I deliberately asked why the Australian Government was at present contributing: £34,000 annually towards the upkeep of the League of Nations, and although the answer was not so strong as I should, have liked it to have been, I was very pleased to hear the reply. . It contained- the following declaration : -

There is a wide recognition, of the need for maintaining in being some organization for international collaboration .. . .

I believe everyone will agree with that sentiment, but may I call the attention of the Senate to what I think was 'fi stronger expression by a very great manwhom we all admire for the sterling work he has done in hurling defiance at the Germ

The vote is being criticized in Parliament by Nationalist members. "It is my opinion, I may be Wrongs that it would be stupid if the only instrument binding the world together were left in the lurch by South Africa ", declared General Smuts.

Only the ideal of the League remained. Even the buildings no longer were available, but was not tlie ideal the soul of the whole matter?

In the. circumstances there was a strong obligation- upon South Africa to help maintain this instrument, which may yet provide a way through difficult times. '

General Smuts undertook to maintain the subscription to the League this year and perhaps next.

I shall" not go into the. details of' my motion because I have sent literature concerning it to honora'ble senators. I" trust that they have read the booklet which was prepared, at the time when om- armies were sitting down in supposed safety behind the Maginot line. Since then much water has run under the bridge.


Senator Cameron - Dirty water, too.


Senator ABBOTT - Yes. Since then, there ha.ve been several opportunities to bring this motion before honorable sena tors, but I trust I shall not be charged with . laxity or want of enthusiasm in that respect. I remind my colleagues that when those opportunities did present themselves, major international crises were occurring and we could not have devoted our minds completely to the consideration of other matters. I am not in the least bit perturbed about that,, because -as many honorable senators recollect, some time ago a motion was passed in this chamber with the support of the Leader of the Opposition- (Senator Collings) and most other honorable, senators, twenty-one of whom are still members- of this chamber. Twenty-one senators signed the constitution of a body which we carried on in a mild way, and through which we sent material to many parts of the- world. Literaturewas sent to the Foreign Relations Committee of the American Senate and to the corresponding body of the House of Representatives in that country. It was also sent to many members of the British House of Commons, and honorable senators ' opposite will be pleased to learn that 'amongst the recipients there were about 7.0 members of the Labour party. Encouraging expressions have come from many parts of the world, and although no specific motion, may he carried now, I am thankful for the privilege of acting for my country in this Senate 'by putting forward this ideal. I am not concerned with, whether or not this matter culminates in a specific resolution, because, as I havesaid, we have sown a seed which I think, will grow more and more in the minds of men and women throughout the world as we come to. the closing stages of this unhappy and disastrous struggle.

I should like to cite a few expressions of support for this ideal, because I hope that our efforts will not languish, and that in the future, individual senators will give it their utmost support. Several days ago, through the. courtesy of the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin), I received .a letter from the secretary of. the Australian Labour party, Mr. MacNamara, enclosing a reprint of a letter which he had written quite off his own. bat to the Melbourne Age, and not, I presume, as the result- of any views I have expressed. It is a valuable effort, and the striking point about it is that the writer was thinking apparently almost on the same lines as I was, although he did not suggest a form of machinery by which the ideal could, be implemented.

Mr. HerbertMorrison some time ago said ;

Tlie Nazis' new European - order is that of the slave plantation . .- .

I conceive- an -International Air Force. It will- then' not again he possible for the thug; with bombers, ' to -terrorize the Continent, smash homes and cities, crush the innocent bodies of women and children,, and. blast to powder the fruits of man's toil and the monuments of his greatness. Whatever a peace may bring or take away that at least must go on forever.

The - separate Air Forced- the tommygunof the international .gangster - must ' be abolished.

I have here a. rather, interesting note from a 'well-known- "member .of -the American' Senate, Senator Elbert Thomas, who has", figured largely, in the press' because of his participation .in those debates which are of such' interest tothe British' Commonwealth of. Nations. He said; inter aiia-

I have often pointed' out that in the technique of Fede'ral control there is a solution of many of the world's" ills,- such a solution; especially, as the great contribution you arc now making.'. - .-" - ''.':.

Your/views are constructive'. May .they have a .real bearing" when the proper time comes.

All I ask'in the motion I have moved is that it should be forwarded at the appropriate time' to the proper authorities. I do not suggest that now is necessarily the appropriate time. We have to do everything to win the war, and crush the tyrants ; . the time will then be appropriate. But, ' when the time .is appropriate, let us be prepared .to take steps to stop for all time this gangstering. Mr. W. W. Waimark, a. well-known American journalist, who with a. colleague of his recently, toured' this country inquiring into Australia's war effort, wrote the following letter to me recently from Des Moines, United States of America : -

I was delighted to learn of your activity in Australia. Here and there, through just a few personal contacts and through bits of news which I saw from time to time in the press, both in Australia and New Zealand. I gathered the impression that there is at least a considerable body of support in those countries for what you and I believe in.

In a letter to mc, Mr. David Adams, of the British Labour party, who is known to many of us, said : -

Yesterday in the House of Commons. London, the Parliamentary Labour party had under discussion the question of peace aims to bc sought after the conclusion of the war. The party are unanimous in requesting the British Government to declare their peace aims without delay, which declaration may have an important and favorable influence upon neutrals and our allies in the strengthening of the opposition to the dictators. This would particularly apply to the nations in Europe which arc now under the heel of Hitler.

I will pass on your booklet to others interested in this great movement.

Through the editor of the K-H NewsLetter Service, I have received the follow^ ing communication- from Commander Stephen King-Hall, M.P., one of the directors of K-H- Services Limited :-

Both the Commander and I have read with great interest your booklet "The Key to World" Security "". Certainly- now is the moment for. us to begin to think about the kind of world which .we wish to see emerge from the war, and we are trying from time to time, through the" medium of tlie K-H NewsLetter, to impress upon our readers the importance of this question.

In another letter which I received from the K-H News-Letter Service I find these words : -

The. moment when British statesmen can show, in a clear and positive manner, how a British victory can guarantee to Europe, not only liberty, but also economic peace and security, this country will find ranged on ils side new allies all over the world, anxious to make certain that it is the British pattern of post-war society which shall shape the lives of to-morrow's children.

Some time before he visited America, recently, Sir Robert Garran, who is wellknown in this country as a high constitutional authority, in discussing this motion with me, told me that he thought that,- after the war, it was almost inescapable that there must be a surrendering of limited sovereign rights. That brings us to the idea of a central body, and I am sure that many others are thinking along similar lines. The Hon. C. R. Attlee. addressing a Labour conference in England, said : -

The problem to-day is not merely the defeat of German aggression, but the establishment of conditions which will make aggression impossible. Without the rule of law there will be war in the future as in the past ... If aggression is to cease, there must be some force by which the aggressor can be compelled in the last resort tq desist; if there is to be a rule of law, there must be some means of enforcing that ]aM

Mr. NoelCoward, who visited Australia recently, .has written to me as follows : -

With you I feel that wo cannot give too -much serious consideration to- a sane plan for reconstruction and world peace. Although we have not met" in: person I feel .privileged to meet you through your work.

From a former member of .the House of Representatives I have received the following communication : -

I have read carefully and with keen appreciation your IIa.nna.rd speech and booklet' " The Key to World Security ", and all congratulations must go out to you as being the first man in the world to make such a move in his National Parliament. No more fortunate time could have arisen for the consideration of such a motion, and in that regard you must press on with it and in no way weaken your endeavour. If I remember aright it was "Billy" Hughes, at the Versailles Conference, who made the point and the only one to 'do so, that Wilson's fourteen, points would never work because there was ho police force to make them effective".

A great -captain of' industry, the late Mi:. Ii. Ri Lysaght; head-, of the large Australian engineering firm, of John -Lysaght (Australia) Proprietary Limited^ , and a man who was respected by all sections of industry, employers and employees .alike, stated.:-^ ' ' . ' -

j.   ' cordially agree -with your views. Whether, the suggestion you make can be carried into .effect .... will largely depend -upon ,the outcome of the present -war, but at any rate the world-wide publication of the pamphlet, particularly if your motion is adopted by the Australian Senate, can do nothing but good.

I have referred to this letter because I Iia ve heard a whisper that I have submitted a mere pacifist motion, and that this is the wrong time to put it before the world; but I believe with Mr. Lysaght that it can do nothing hut good. Can it do anything but good if Ave should, say to Hitler " We will have none of your aggression in the future, and. we will not let up. We will not leave any stone unturned, until we have made you and your system impossible in the future world"? When 'we have devised, a scheme that will be fair to every nation, we shall be led almost irresistibly to the federal avenue of approach -to this problem. The adoption of that method of approach would, guarantee the preservation of the democratic system, in every country, because an.. election of representatives of all nations to a central body would not -be possible without a uniform electoral office and system of voting. Any method of election similar to the faked ballots held under the Hitler regime shortly before the war would be the antithesis of that which is dear to democratic countries.

I have- said many times that an international relations committee of this Sena,te should be appointed, consisting of an. equal number of members from each side of the chamber, the chairman to be a member of .the Government of the day, regardless of the party which happened to be in power. . Such a body could examine international problems, anC when those matters came before the Parliament for- debate, 'there would be a highly informed and thoughtful approach to them as they arose. The Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane wrote to me as follows : -

May I say at once that I am in complete agreement, not only with your ideals, but also with the outline of your scheme. ... I believe, too, that you. are entirely right in claiming that no such federation is possible without some supreme judiciary to settle claim's and without some armed forces .which shall, ensure the enforcement of the judiciary's conclusions.

HisGrace, Dr. Gilroy, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, made this comment- -

I applaud your, sincere effort .to promote that which all nien of goodwill desire.

The director of 2SM radio station,

Sydney, writing to a friend of. mine who passed the letter on to me, stated -

I have read Senator Abbott's pamphlet with great inte'rest. I believe it should be in the hands of every thinking man. I should advise the Senator to send some copies to. the Apostolic Delegate for. his own perusal and for forwarding to the Holy Father. I am sure both will be grateful for such a clear statement.

I have received many similar letters, including one from the Right Reverend the Archbishop of Hobart, who, writing from St. Mary's Cathedral, remarked -

May I offer you my sincere congratulations on your praiseworthy attempt to focus- world attention on your suggestion?

Sir DrummondShiels, acting on behalf of Sir Howard D'Egville, as secretary of the Empire Parliamentary Association, wrote in these terms -

Your letter onthe 24thMay with enclosure has been received during Sir Howard D'Egville's absence on a visit to Canada. . . . I am sure he will read your thought-provoking pamphlet with as much interest as I have done.

When this motion first came before the Senate the Christian Science Monitor of the 13th April, 1940, which is reputed to have one of the best international news services in the world, had the following double-column heading to a description of my proposal : - " Abbott Arms Proposal Held Key to World Peace ". Incidentally I may mention that from that heading I got the idea of the title for my booklet " The Key to World Security ".

On the eve of my servicein the Senate I have not asked honorable senators to consider some light, foolish or frivolous motion. What the details of the scheme may be is immaterial, so long as the framework provides that we shall never consent to any peace without undoubted security for the future. As the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said recently, we prefer to die on our feet than to live on our knees. We are prepared to die on our feet in order to insist that, when victory has been won, it shall be such a victory that, together with the great republic across the water, and other freedomloving nations of the world, we may provide machinery - and it could be done by remedying the weaknesses of the League of Nations - so as to guarantee to the world for all time that aggression of this kind shall never occur again. I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.

Leave granted ; debate adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 5.18 to 8 p.m.







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