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Wednesday, 11 May 1960


Mr HAYLEN (Parkes) .- I have listened with great interest to the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) who has spoken on the proposed International Development Association, which is known as Ida. My purpose in speaking for a few moments is to draw upon some experience of my own in travel overseas and, if I may, to endorse the findings of my colleagues who have spoken before me - the honorable members for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean), Reid (Mr. Uren) and Yarra (Mr. Cairns). At this point of time, it is rather surprising and perplexing for honorable members on this side of the House to hear that the Government now espouses a theory that there should be general unpolitical aid to the peoples of Asia - the great Asian communities. I wonder what they think, living in communities two-thirds of which go to bed hungry every night, on finding this sudden volte face, this dramatic change, in the European or the democracies' view of their plight. As Kipling said in what is now regarded as a long, hackneyed piece of poetry -

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.

But surely, from our experience, the twain will never meet as the result of patronizing the Asian people with aid. Certainly they look forward to receiving assistance; but we who, for centuries, have ravaged these countries - the imperial white men and exploiters from overseas who have wrecked the economies of China and India - come along now with a few paltry dollars, in association with a banking system which has been set up under the agency of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and say, " Look how generous and kindly we are. We come bearing gifts in cash and kind and loans. We are bountiful."


Mr Forbes - Are you talking of Australia?


Mr HAYLEN - I am not denegating the statement you made towards the end of your speech; but when we accept these things, we must be sure that we get a success from them, and we must analyse why so many have been a failure or a partial failure. We must drop the patronizing attitude that we have adopted generally in dealing with these affairs.

The honorable member for Reid rightly referred to the amount we are providing as too little, too late. It is only a spoonful in the ocean of the great rehabilitation that has to be done in the Asian countries, particularly in South-West Asia. To whom will it be given, and to what purpose will it be put? Once again putting his finger on the international significance of the problem, the honorable member for Yarra has asked, " What about the corrupt countries? " They are the countries which still believe in the squeeze; where something goes to the head of the government and never gets past him. Surely it is not the intention of the democracies and the taxpayers of the world who, in association, are trying to do some useful work in Asia, that this aid should end there? We are offering it because we want to preserve the peace of the world. It is tardy recognition of what we have not done in the past, and we must take a realistic view and analyse these things and how far they go. We have been bombarding Asia with aid from alphabetically named organizations. Unrra has poured millions of pounds into all sorts of projects. We have given aid to Chiang Kai-shek, to Korea, to China when it was in the throes of civil war and to other countries. A tremendous amount in money and goods was freely given, but it never got past the corrupt governments and the squeeze merchants of those countries.

I was in China in 1947 as the representative of the present Leader of the Australian Labour Party in this House (Mr. Calwell), who was then Minister for Immigration. I found that seine trawlers that we required most urgently on our coast had been sent to Soochow Bay where they were turned upside down. Nobody bothered to inquire what modern fishing trawlers would do to the economy of China, where every fisherman in his little sampan goes out each day and gets his quota of fish. These trawlers were new, modern things, which would mean starvation for many thousands. They were towed up the bay and left to rot, covered with mud and with moss growing all over them. We also sent there intricate machinery, which was never used. We sent blood plasma, which was rejected. We sent food, which was flogged on the black market. Anywhere on the Nanking-road, any day or night, Australian food and clothing and everything else, which was sent as a composite gift, was traded on the black market.

These goods were sent as gifts, but now we propose to send money. I am traversing the early aspects of our aid to the East. In every city of China that had access to the seaboard, Unrra aid was flogged on the black market. On one occasion, one of the contending armies was given blood plasma, but the other, the Communist army, was denied that aid for dying men. The mind of the Chinese is perplexed about what the white man is doing with this aid. It is no good telling him that it is not political. The scheme would not have been evolved, in any case, but for the fear behind it and the belief that the best way to win the goodwill of the Asian was to buy it. If we intend to do that, we might just as well throw away the 1,000,000,000 dollars mentioned in this bill. It will not have any effect, except some temporary alleviation of conditions in one place or another. The money will not pacify the Asian or cause him to have a more peaceful approach to his neighbours who are better off economically than he is.

After Unrra we had Ecafe. This was a most ambitious attempt to analyse the economic problems of the Far East. After a very colourful show of aid and of research, it disappeared. Now we have the Colombo Plan. Man's inhumanity to man is never more displayed than in these charitable bequests or aid programmes on a huge scale. Some one always gets in on these schemes and creates the feeling that all is not well, and then the matter is brought to the verge of scandal, as we saw in Ceylon. We sent ships full of flour to Ceylon, but it was second-grade flour. Some of the shipments of wheat that went to the aid of the people of India and Ceylon were shipments of wheat that had been damaged by flood. What sort of a reaction can we expect from these Eastern people, proud and sensitive as they are, when we send this wheat and say, "This is what we will give you from our store " ?

Because of this and other such happenings, the Colombo Plan in many instances is suspect. Some of the peoples of the East, removed by centuries from the Stone Age, but economically still living in it, are on the verge of starvation, grabbing their meals every day as they can. We give them a complex tractor with which to plough their fields. But this does not bridge the gap between their primitive methods of farming and the more advanced methods that we adopt. Enormous wastage occurs when care is not taken in these matters. Wastage occurred with Unrra, as we saw with regret. It is still occurring with the Colombo Plan. Any traveller who has returned from SouthEast Asia will agree that wastage has occurred. Aid with the idea of winning the approval of the small countries is not always successful; we should not say, " Sing for your supper ".

I cite what happened in Laos, when trouble occurred in this portion of SouthEast Asia at the foot of China. When an inquiry was made into the aid that was being given to countries in this area that had lost all semblance of democracy - some had elected dictators and others had retained their traditional kings, their absolute monarchs - it was found that all aid stayed with the powerful groups or cliques running the country. We had a report from American senators and later a report by a special committee of the United Nations which included an Indian, a New Zealander and, I believe, an Englishman. These reports showed that phantom armies were being paid out of money sent to the region. Whole regiments that had never existed were included on the pay-roll. Food sent there was kept by the big-wigs and the plight of the peasant and the worker in Laos was worse than ever it had been. The net effect of sending aid was to destroy any respect for the giver. No amelioration of the very hard lot of the peasants resulted. Hidden in the jungle were Rolls-Royces, Cadillacs and cars of other makes. The complete shambles which occurred here supports the contention of my colleagues that it is essential that those who administer economic aid must be sincere and knowledgeable and must not hold the view that assistance should be given first as military aid and, then, if that fails, an effort should be made to win some friends by giving hand-outs.

The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who attacks these problems with great imagination and skill and who is a man always worth listening to on these matters, keynoted this argument with an extract from a journal which shows that the tough, crusty old bankers of England now realize that we cannot win friends in Asia by pouring money into the area, but that we must have some feeling in our hearts for these people and must realize that they are fellow human beings. We must keep in our minds the picture that two-thirds of them go to bed at night with their stomachs twisted with hunger. If we do this, we will not talk so much about the terrible Communists and how they are still trying to fight us. The comments of the chairman of Barclays Bank meant what 1 have just said. The words must have been wrung from his very vitals, because this is not a banker's statement. He said that loans given by Ida must be entirely without political strings. I think that is a very big leap forward in our approach.

I have criticized the inefficiencies of Unrra, drawn attention to the romantic approach of Ecafe and shown the great inequalities and lack of imagination in the Colombo Plan. All these schemes have served their purpose as an approach to an understanding between us and the AfroAsian peoples. If we do not reach a basis of agreement, we might between us bring Armageddon about us. This aid should be given without any feeling of pride and without the white man's arrogance, but with humility and understanding. We must use the brains of our economists, as the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has suggested. If we do this, we may find something in Ida that will give us an effective programme; but we must be careful that we do not measure the aid we give merely in money. These people must have money, but they also need social workers and human understanding to effect a bridge between the giver and the receiver. We must try to effect a pacification of the Asian and to understand his point of view.

I have spoken on this measure only to stress that there must be a proper understanding of the Asian problems and the Asian mentality. This is more important than dollars. The Asian people have a great spirit of resuscitation and a great feeling of nationalism. When we speak of Asia, we must realize that the great country of China does not ask for favours from the rest of the world. In blood and sweat and agony its people are striving to build a great industrial community, and every eye in Asia is fixed upon them. We should not place too much emphasis on the philosophy of the Chinese Government of the day, for the essential feature of the nation is that it is being built into a great industrial community. We may say that the farms will fail, the communes will fail, the coal output will fail. All these things may fail, but the nation will rise again. I have had the privilege to discover at first hand what sort of spirit is imbued in the Chinese people. That is a rigid plan, set under the Marxist regime; but under another plan the subcontinent of India is lifting itself by its own boot-straps. India is doing everything humanly possible to lift its standards and it seeks no aid except the general aid which comes to it. But it is not supine, it does not lie on its back, it does not kneel in prayer for aid from other countries. India is doing a big job.

Some of the most important countries in Asia are on the march for greater nationalism and greater development and I believe that two great industrial countries will emerge. First, China will emerge and then, in due course, India will emerge. The smaller states, scattered as they are, will have difficult problems of rehabilitation because they are cut up into smaller segments, and, as the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns), who is never afraid to apply the right word to any conduct, whether international, national or about our own home-town has said, many of those countries have corrupt governments that are not worthy to hold dominion over the people under their sway.

The welfare of those people has to be looked at. When you are using the finance of the corporate communities to bring aid to people you must break down the communities that would put a barrier between the needs of the peasant, the farmer and the worker in those countries and their own greedy self-interest. That point has been emphasized in this matter. I think generally the United Nations agencies and aid originated to a great degree when the Chifley

Government was in power and the former leader of this party, Dr. Evatt - the present Chief Justice of New South Wales - was President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. We do understand, from the commitments we made during that time, the proper need for economic aid to be given to under-developed countries but we have never flourished it as you would flourish a pound note before a starving man. We have always felt that we were paying back, or making good, some deficiency, both in services and kind, which had been neglected for so long between the two great communities in the world - those who have and those who have not.

Therefore, although critics from this side of the House have referred to the inadequacy of the amount when it is measured against the 700,000,000 people of China, the 300,000,000 people of India or the 80,000,000 people in the one little island of Java, we do see the immense problem we have and we do realize that there is an immense amount of work to be done. The International Development Association seems to be a sane development of the plans which we had in the past, when it was thought to be all right if you got a boat, went along and distributed some largesse to these people as we did to the missionaries in the Sandwich Islands. We have tried by loans, by development, by education and by a general appreciation of the plight of the countries concerned to bring the people to understand that we are prepared to help them.

I say that we must find the bridge, that golden bridge, which spans the gulf of ignorance and by which one nation is enabled to understand another, because what is more valuable than Yankee dollars, English pound notes or Australian money is the spirit of understanding. But if we are to niggle about one place being semiCommunist and another one being fiercely nationalistic and distribute favours and make hand-outs as though the people were soup and blanket natives to be dealt with, we will wreck the plan of international aid because the people we are dealing with are proud people and suspicious people. It is up to us who have the money - the nations prepared to carry out this plan - to see that when we give assistance it is given in the right spirit. We might then foster a feeling for peace which at present is sadly lacking in this world.

It may be that when these people attain an economic position closer to our own they will understand the need for summit talks, the need for perpetual peace, the need foi peace in our time. If we have been able to buy that understanding with the money which abounds in the democracies we will have done something for the Asian people and we will have made some reparation for the ravages of the century. Nobody in those countries forgets what has happened. If you pick up any text-book in those countries and have it translated, you learn that it tells of the days in which these people lost their economies through the ravages of the imperialistic white man. We have to cure that. We cannot just walk into these countries with a few pounds and say, " Let us forget and be friends again". That approach will not work, because there is a fiercely nationalistic upsurge and we must work hard on the problem of getting peace in our time and an understanding of the problems of the world.

Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. [Quorum formed.]

Bill committed pro forma; progress reported.

Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral's message):

Motion (by Mr. Roberton) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to approve acceptance by Australia of membership in the International Development Association, and for purposes connected therewith.

Resolution reported and adopted. In committee: Consideration resumed. Bill agreed to, and reported without amendment or debate; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time.







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