BRITISH INFORMATION SERVICES
AN AGENCY OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT
OF THE 9A3
WINSTON CHURCHILL, Prime minister,
October 27, 1944. Discussions' -* Cowr ,
October 31, 1944. Elections at Ha
ANTHONY EDEN, Secretary of State for Pofrs airs, September 29, 1944.
LORD SIMON, Lord Chancellor, October 3, 1944.
Punishment of War Criminals.
LORD LEATHERS, Minister of War Transport, October 4, 1944.
The Merchant Navy and the Future.
SIR JOHN ANDERSON, Chancellor of the Exchequer, October 4, 1944.
Bretton Woods: Preliminary Discussions.
LORD PORTAL, Minister of Works, October 5, 1944.
Temporary Housing Legislation.
LORD WOOLTON, Minister of Reconstruction, October 7, 1944.
The Government's Proposals for Reconstruction.
HERBERT MORRISON, Home Secretary and Minister of Home Security,
October 10, 1944.
LORD CRANBORNE, Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs,
October 11, 1944.
LORD BEAVERBROOK, Lord Privy Seal, October 12, 1944.
HAROLD BALFOUR, Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Air,
October 20, 1944.
International Co-operation and Civil Aviation.
ERNEST BEVIN, Minister of Labour, October 11, 1944.
Unemployment Insurance in the Transition Period.
HUGH DALTON, President of the Board of Trade, October 17, 1944.
Post-war Planning in Wales.
THE EARL OF HALIFAX, British Ambassador to the United States,
October 24, 1944.
Vol. II, No. 11 November 1944
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House of Commons, October 27, 1944
The present stage of the war is dour and hard, and fighting must be expected
on all fronts to increase in scale and intensity. We believe that we are in the last
lap, but this is a race in which failure to exert the fullest effort to end it may
protract that end to a period almost unendurable to those who have the race in
their hands after struggling so far.
The enemy has two hopes. First, is that by lengthening the struggle he may
wear down our resolution. The second and more important hope is that division
will arise between the three great Powers by whom he is assailed and whose con-
tinued union spells his doom.
It is his hope that there will be some rift in this alliance-that the Russians
may go this way and Btitain and America that-that quarrels' may arise about
the Balkans or about Poland or about Hungary which he hopes will mar the
harmony of our counsels and consequently the symmetry and momentum of our
converging advance. There is the enemy's great hope and it is to deprive that
hope of all foundation of reality that our efforts must ceaselessly be bent.
You would not expect three great Powers so differently circumstanced as Britain,
the United States and Soviet Russia not to have many differences in views about the
treatment of the various numerous countries into which their victorious armies
have carried them. The marvel is that all hitherto has been kept so solid, sure and
sound between us all.
Constant Care Needed
But this process does not arise of itself. It needs constant care and attention.
Moreover, there are those problems of distance, occasion and personalities which
I have so often mentioned to the House and which make it extremely difficult to
bring the heads of the three principal Allies together at one place and at one time..
I have not, therefore, hesitated to travel from court to court like a wandering
minstrel. But always with the same songs or the same set of songs.
The meeting at Moscow was a sequel to Quebec. At Quebec the President and
I felt very much the absence of Russia. At Moscow Marshal Stalin and I were
deeply conscious that the President was not with us, although in this case the
American observer, Averell Harriman, accomplished Ambassador of the United
States, made us feel at all times the presence of the great republic. There was a
special reason for our dual conference at Quebec.
British and American fighting forces are intermingled in the lines of battle as
the fighting men of no two countries have ever been intermingled before so closely
or so easily. We must meet, therefore, we must discuss.
As to Russia, Great Britain has so many problems in eastern Europe to solve
in common with Russia and practical issues arise on these problems from day to
day. We must disperse misunderstandings and forestall them before they occur.
We must have a practical policy to deal with day-to-day emergencies and, of course,
we must carry with us at every stage the Government of the United States.
I am satisfied that the results achieved on this occasion at Moscow have been
highly satisfactory. But I am quite sure that no final result can be obtained until
the heads of the three governments have met again together, as I earnestly trust
they may do before this year is at its end.
2 British Speeches of the Day
United Action Vital
After all, the future of the world depends upon united action in the next
few years of our three countries. Other countries will be associated, but the
future depends on the union of the three most powerful Allies. If that fails, all
fails. If that succeeds, a broad future for all nations may be assured.
I am very glad to inform the House that our relations with Soviet Russia were
never more close, intimate and cordial than they are at the present time. Never
before have we been able to reach so high a degree of frank" and friendly discussion
on a delicate and often potentially vexatious topic as we have done at this meet-
ing from which I have returned and about which I think it would be only respectful
to the House to make some short statement.
Where we cannot agree we understand the grounds for each other's disagree-
ment and each other's point of view. But over a very wide area, an astonishingly
wide area considering all the different angles from which we approach these
topics, we found ourselves in full agreement.
Of course it goes without saying that we were united in prosecuting the war
against Hitlerite Gerrhany to absolute victory and in using to the last every re-
source of our strength and energy in combination for that purpose. Let all hope
die in German breasts that there will be the slightest diversion or weakening
among the forces that are crowding in upon them and will crush the life out of
Upon the tangled questions of the Balkans, where there are Black Sea interests
and Mediterranean interests to be considered, we were able to reach complete
agreement, and I do not feel that there is any immediate danger of our combined
war effort being weakened by divergencies of policy or of doctrine in Greece,
Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and beyond the Balkans in Hungary.
We have reached a very good working agreement about all these countries,
singly and in combination, with the object of concentrating all their efforts and
concerting them with our efforts against the common foe, and of providing so
far as possible for peaceful settlement after the war is over.
Bringing Yugoslavs Together
We are in fact acting jointly-Russia and Britain-in our relations with both
the Royal Yugoslav Government, headed by Dr. Subasitch, and with Marshal
Tito, and we have invited them by joint message to come together in the common
cause as they had already agreed to do at a conference between them both at
How much better that there should be a joint Anglo-Russian policy in this
disturbed and very complex area than that one side should be backing one set of
ideas and the other side the opposite. That is a most pernicious state of affairs to
grow up in any country, because it might easily spread to misunderstandings be-
tween the great Powers themselves.
Our earnest hope and our bounden duty is so to conduct our policy that these
small countries do not slip from the great war into internal feuds of extreme
bitterness. We have invited them to come together and form a united government
for the purpose of carrying on the war until the countries themselves can pro-
nounce their will.
All this is only a guide for handling matters from day to day, because it is so
much easier to come to an arrangement by conversation than by diplomatic cor-
respondence, however carefully they are phrased, or however lengthily they are
expressed, or however patiently discussions are conducted.
Discussions in Moscow
But these workaday arrangements must be looked upon as temporary expedients
to meet an emergency. All permanent arrangements await the presence of the
United States, who have been constantly informed of what is going forward.
Everything eventually comes to review at some future conference or at the
armistice or peace table.
There were, of course, many serious military questions to be discussed. I had
with me the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Ismay, and other officers
acquainted with the conduct of the whole of our military affairs and strategy, and
we had also the advantage of assistance of not only the American Ambassador
but also of the very able United States technical representative, General Deane.
All of these discussions were a part of the process of carrying out and follow-
,ing up the great decision taken now nearly a year ago at Teheran, which I think
without exaggeration may be said to have altered the face of the World War.
But naturally I cannot say anything about these discussions or decisions except
that I found them very good indeed-the best that could be devised to lift the
cruel scourge of war from Europe at the earliest possible moment.
The most urgent and burning question was, of course, that of Poland, and
here again I speak words of hope reinforced by confidence. To abandon hope in
this matter would indeed be to surrender to despair.
In this sphere there are two issues, two critical issues. The first is the question
of the eastern frontier of Poland with Russia and the Curzon Line, as it is called,
and pew territories to be added to Poland in the north and west. This is the first
*issue, and the second is the relation of the Polish Government with the Lublin
National Liberation Committee.
On tlose two points, apart from many necessary ancillary points-on these two
main points we held a series of conferences with both parties. We held them to-
gether and saw them separately, and, of course, we were in constant discussion with
the heads of the Soviet Government.
I had several very long talks with Marshal Stalin, and the Foreign Secretary
was every day working on these and cognate matters with Mr. Molotoff. Two or
three times we all four met together with no one but interpreters present.
I wish I could tell the House we had reached a solution of these problems. It
certainly is not for the want of trying. I am quite sure, however, that we have
got a great deal nearer to it. I hope Mr. Mikolajczyk will soon return to Moscow,
and'it will be a great disappointment to all sincere friends of Poland if a good
arrangement cannot be made which will enable him to form a Polish Government
on Polish soil, a Government recognized by all the great Powers concerned and,
indeed, by all those Governments of the United Nations which now recognize only
the Polish Government in London.
Although I do not underrate the difficulties which remain, it is a comfort to
feel that Britain and Soviet Russia and, I do not doubt, the United States, are all
firmly agreed in the re-creation of a strong, free, independent sovereign Poland,
loyal to the Allies, and friendly to her great neighbor and liberator, Russia.
Speaking more particularly for His Majesty's Government, it is our persevering
and constant aim that the Polish people after their suffering and vicissitudes shall
find in Europe an abiding home and resting place, which though it may not entirely
coincide or correspond with the pre-war frontier of Poland, will nevertheless be
adequate for the needs of the Polish nation and not inferior in character or in
quality, taking the picture as a whole, to what they had previously possessed.
These are critical days and it would be a great pity if time were wasted in
indecisions or in protracted negotiations. If the Polish Government had taken
4 British Speeches of the Day
the advice we tendered them at the beginning of this year, the additional complica-
tion produced by the formation of the Polish National Committee of Liberation at
Lublin would never have arisen.
Anything like a prolonged delay in settlement can only have the effect of in-
creasing the division between the Poles in London and the Poles in Warsaw and
hampering a common action which the Poles and Russians and the rest of the
Allies are taking against Germany. Therefore, I hope no time will be lost in
continuing these discussions and pressing on to an effective conclusion.
French Provisional Government
I told the House on Sept. 28 of my hope that reorganization of the French
Consultative Assembly on a more representative basis would make it possible for
His Majesty's Government at an early date to recognize the then French Adminis-
tration as the Provisional Government of France.
The Assembly has now, in fact, been enlarged and strengthened by the addi-
tion of many further representatives of both the resistance organization in France
and the old Parliamentary group. It constitutes as representative a body as it is
possible to bring together in the difficult circumstances today in France, and it
will be holding its first session in Paris in a few days' time.
This development was closely followed by a further step toward restoration
of normal conditions of government in France. A Civil Affairs Agreement con-
cluded by France with Great Britain and the United States last August, after long
and patient exertion by the Foreign Secretary, provided for the division of the
country into a forward zone in which the Supreme Allied Commander would
exercise certain overriding powers of control considered necessary for the conduct
of the military operations and an interior zone where conduct and responsibility
for interior administration would be entirely a matter for French authority.
For obvious reasons at the beginning, when for those anxious weeks we stood
with our backs to the sea a few miles from the beaches, the whole of France had
to be included in the forward zone. Then, as the tide of battle up to and beyond
France's eastern frontiers, working in closest cooperation with French authorities,
he [the Supreme Allied Commander] found he could hand over his powers to
these authorities, except in the area immediately behind the battle zone. He felt
these authorities had shown themselves fully capable of undertaking the grave re-
sponsibilities which fall to the government of any country on which a vast modern
army on active service is to be based.
The French Administration was accordingly able to announce on Oct. 20 that
with the concurrence of the Allied High Command it had established an interior
zone comprising the larger part of France, including Paris.
This marked the final stage of the transformation of the Committee of National
Liberation into a government exercising provisionally all the powers of the Gov-
ernment of France and a government accepted as .such by the people of France
in their entirety.
The way was thus clear for formal recognition of the Committee as the Pro-
visional Government and His Majesty's Ambassador in Paris was accordingly in-
structed, on Oct. 23, to inform the French Minister of Foreign Affairs of the
decision of His Majesty's Government.
The Union of South Africa and New Zealand have also accorded such recog-
nition. A similar communication was made by the Canadian Government to the
Canadian Ambassador in Paris and by the Commonwealth of Australia frgm
Canberra. The United States and Soviet Governments, with whom we had acted
Discussions in Moscow
throughout in the closest agreement and concert in this matter, were taking sim-
ilar simultaneous action.
Why Recognition Was Delayed
Some critics have asked why should this step not have been taken earlier. The
reason is very simple. The British and American Armies had something to do
with the liberation of France, and the British and United States Governments had,
therefore, the responsibility at this particular moment for making sure that the
French Government emerging in power from their military actions would be
acceptable to France as a whole and would not appear to be a government imposed
on the country from without.
It was not for us to choose the government or rulers of France at this par-
ticular juncture, and for that very reason we had special responsibility.
I have been myself for some weeks past satisfied, not only that the present
French Government under Generalide Gaulle commands the full assent of the
vast majority of French people, but that it is the only government that can possibly
discharge the very heavy burdens which are being cast upon it, and the only gov-
ernment which can enable France to gather its strength in the interval which must
elapse before the constitutional and parliamentary processes, which it has declared
its purpose to reinstitute, can again assume their normal functions.
I also made it clear in my speech on Aug. 2 that France can by no means be
excluded from discussions of the principal Allies dealing with the problem of
the Rhine and of Germany. This act of recognition may, therefore, be regarded
as a symbol of France's emergence from four dark years of a terrible, woeful
experience and as heralding the period in which she will resume her rightful and
historic role upon the world stage.
I have but one other subject to mention, as I stated that these remarks would be
in the nature of a supplement to the statement I made some time ago, and it is
one which is the cause of universal rejoicing. I mean the liberation of Athens and
a large part of Greece.
I was able, when I visited Italy six or seven weeks ago, to arrange with General
Wilson, after a very careful discussion, for the necessary measures to be set in
train which would enable the Royal Greek Government of Mr. Papandreou to
return to Athens at the earliest possible moment, and as a preliminary to this I
advised the Government to move from Cairo to Caserta [Italy] where they would
be in the closest touch with the Commander-in-Chief.
I think these arrangements were extremely well made by General Wilson, to
whom we entrusted the task of watching the exact moment to intervene, and he
found that moment with very happy discretion, so that hardly any loss of life has
occurred and no damage has been done to the immortal capital which is dear to
the hearts of so many nations throughout the world. Vivid, moving accounts have
appeared in the press of the decisive events which have recently taken place and
of the fervid welcome which our forces received throughout Greece, above all in
When we were driven out of Greece in 1941, amid so much bloodshed and
disaster and with the loss of over 30,000 men, we promised to return. The Greek
people never lost faith in that promise nor abandoned their belief in final victory.
We have returned. Our pledge has been redeemed. The lawful Greek Government
sits in Athens. Very soon the Greek brigade which has distinguished itself in
fighting at Rimini on the Italian front, helping to drive the Germans out of Italy,
wil return with honor to its native land.
6 British Speeches of the Day
The tide of war has rolled far to the northward in Greece. Behind the British
troops, the organization of UNRRA [United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation
Administration], in which the United States has played so great a part, is already
moving to the scene, ships having been loaded for many weeks past. Much-needed
supplies of food for the sorely tried Greek population will soon be in the active
process of distribution, if indeed that process has not begun already.
We are going to do our best to assist in stabilizing the Greek currency, which
had been a special mark of sabotage by the Germans, and highly competent officials
from the Treasury are already on their way to Athens, where the Foreign Secretary
is at the present time, and remaining, according to my latest information, until he
can confer with them and with the Greek Government on this subject. We are
doing our best in every way to bring this country back to normal.
Complete Political Freedom
Although of course we are actively aiding the Greeks in every sphere to
recover from the horrible injuries inflicted on them by the Germans, and are thus
adding another chapter to the history of friendship between our countries, we do
not seek to become arbiters of their affairs. Our wish and policy is that when
normal conditions of tranquillity have been restored throughout the country, the
Greek people shall make, in perfect freedom, their own decisions as to the form
of government under which they desire to live.
Pending such a decision, we naturally preserve our relations with the Greek
royal house and the existing Constitutional Government, and we regard them as
the authority to whom we are bound by the alliance made at the time of the
Italian attack on Greece in 1941.
Meanwhile, I appeal to all Greeks of every party and every group-and there
is no lack of party or groups-I appeal to them all to set national unity above all
other causes, to cleanse their country of the remaining German forces, to destroy
and capture the last of the miscreants who have treated them with indescribable
cruelty, and finally to join hands and to rebuild the strength, and to reduce the
suffering of their famous and cherished land.
[New York Times]
House of Commons, October 31, 1944
In asking for a prolongation of the life of this Parliament for another year,
I doubt very much whether Parliament will last so long.
There are powerful factors of uncertainty which pull in the opposite direction
or from different angles. The meetings of the various parties composing the coali-
tion are to take place shortly before and shortly after Christmas.
While we cannot at all forecast what will occur, we certainly cannot exclude
the possibility that a desire to return to the party system will be strongly expressed.
On the other hand we cannot tell when the war against Nazi Germany will be
definitely ended or will fall into the guerrilla stage.
I am confident that all organized parties will see that business through to the
very end. This would almost certainly be the view, I believe, of the great trade
Elections at Home
union movement, where the determination to finishsHitlerism is strong and in-
vincible. I am dearly of the opinion that the coalition of parties ought not to
be broken before Nazism is broken. This was the purpose for which we came to-
gether in the present 'National Government, and it is still the supreme purpose
which affects the safety of the nation and the empire.
Guessing the End of the War
As I said the other day, any attempt to estimate the date when the war with
Germany can officially be declared over can be no more than a guess. Political
convulsion in Germany may bring it to a speedy end at any time, but against that
must be set the iron control of German life in all its forms, including the Army,
which has been established by Hitler's Storm Troops and secret police. This ex-
ceeds anything previously known among men.
Therefore we cannot count upon any of the normal reactions of public opinion.
From every quarter it seems that the civil population are plunged in a dull apathy.
And certainly anyone who stirred against the police would be instantly shot or
decapitated. Therefore I cannot place any dependence on a political uprising in
On military grounds it seems difficult to believe that the war can be ended
before Christmas or even before Easter. Although, as I have said, many high
military authorities with every means to form a correct judgment have expressed
themselves more hopefully and although every effort has been made and will be
made against the enemy, the German troops are fighting with the utmost tenacity
although cut off in many places and in the defense of positions evidently forlorn.
They have been counter-attacking with vigor though as yet without success in
Holland and on the Moselle. A great deal of work has yet to be done to improve
the ports and, build up supplies and concentrate forward the ever-growing Allied
In Italy the fighting is also of the most obstinate character, and the weather has
broken. The eastern front has shown that it is most active on the north and south
flanks. Immense successes have rewarded the strenuous Russian military efforts
and skillful Russian and Allied diplomacy.
The distances are, however, very large, and many hostile defense posts have
to be stormed or turned. In all these circumstances I certainly cannot predict, still
less guarantee, the end of the German war before the end of the spring or even
before we reach the 'early summer. It may come earlier, and no one will rejoice
more than I if it should.
Anyhow, I have no hesitation in declaring that it would be a wrongful act,
unworthy of our country's fame, to break up the present Government instrument
before we know where we are with Hitler's Germany. Those who forced such a
disaster, even thoughtlessly, would take on themselves a measureless responsi-
bility, and their action would be fiercely resented by the nation at large.
Coalition to End With European War
I am thankful to say that there are no signs of any such desire in any responsible
quarter. Let us assume, however, that the German war ends in March, April or
May, and that some or all of the other parties in the coalition recall their Ministers
out of the Government or wish to bring it to an end from such date. That would
be a matter of regret both on public and on personal grounds. But to a great many
people it would not be a matter for reproach or bitterness between us in this Gov-
ernment or in this house, once Germany has been defeated.
British Speeches of the Day
We are told that there must on no account be what is called a coupon election.
By that I presume is meant an agreement between the parties not to oppose each
other in most of the seats and to form a solid front against those who criticize
or oppose us.
In other words, it would mean that the present coalition should go to the
country and obtain from it a renewal of confidence. I have no doubt they would
get it; but there would be some who would say it was too easy.
We must admit that many people would think this would clearly be an unfair
way of testing opinion in the country and, in fact, it would be quite impossible to
obtain party agreement to such a course, many people feeling that it would impede
the electorate in expressing their free choice.
Neither would it be seemly or indeed practicable, once the dissolution had
been announced, for Ministers 'to go all over the country expressing the utmost
distaste for each other's views and practices, and yet be together in the Cabinet
discussing as colleagues all the gravest matters of the hour.
Nor again would it be proper for the Ministers, who were also in many cases
leaders and whose knowledge was needed to guide the country, to remain silent and
apparently indifferent to the fortunes of their parties or candidates. I do not find
it easy to escape from the weight and force of those arguments. The announcement
of the dissolution would, therefore, necessarily mark the close of the present ad-
The Conservative party have a majority of more than 100 above other parties
and independents in the present house, and it would therefore fall to us to make
arrangements for the inevitable general election.
I cannot conceive that anyone would wish that that election should be held in a
violent hurry or while we were all rejoicing together and rendering thanks to God
for our deliverance. There must be an interval.
The Serviceman's Vote
Moreover, we have above all things to be careful that practically everybody
entitled to vote have a fair chance to do so. This applies, above all, to soldiers,
many of whom are serving at great distance from this country. Nothing would
be more shameful or more dishonorable than to deny the great mass of soldiers
and servicemen of the air and of the Navy a full opportunity of recording their
votes, who in my opinion have more right to vote than anyone else in the whole
We should be assured that nothing was done which prevented these men, to
whom we owe almost everything, from taking their full part in deciding the im-
mediate future of their country. I cannot say that every single man in the remote
stations could for certain be able to vote, but everything in human power will be
done to give the fullest possible opportunities for the exercise of the franchise by
the Fighting Services.
It is therefore in fact not legally possible after the new electoral arrangements
have come into force, as they do on Dec. 1 this year, for polling to take place in
less than eight weeks from the issue of writs. A minimum of six weeks must
elapse between the issue of the writs and the nomination of candidates alone.
All this has been conceived with general measure of assent by the House and
with the sole view of securing the fullest and fairest expression of national opinion.
Besides all this the partial redistribution authorized by the recent act has to be
Elections at Home
A start will be made immediately, not waiting for tle end of the German war,
but the process will certainly take several months. It may therefore be taken as
certain that from the moment the King gives his assent to dissolution a period of
between two and three months would be required. This also would be fair to the
political parties and candidates who have to set about one another in the usual
Moreover in the interval there will undoubtedly have to be certain financial
arrangements made and other matters of business wound up.
It follows, therefore, that if events are to take the course I have indicated, it
would seem that, roughly speaking, there is no likelihood of a general election from
seven to nine months from now. Finally, it is contrary to precedent for govern-
ments to hold on to office until the last moment of their legal tenure or legally
extended tenure, and it would be very unwholesome for any practice of that kind
to be introduced.
For these reasons we have decided not to accept any proposals or suggestions
such as I have seen bruited about to reduce the period of this Bill from twelve
months to six months. I ask today for twelve months' prolongation of the life of
the present Parliament.
The Home Secretary, who will be in charge of the Bill, will deal with any points
of detail which may arise in debate.
We therefore think we have given a good reason to the House to say that the
twelve months' period would be a reasonable and proper provision to make at the
Uncertain Length of Japanese War
On the other hand we must assume that the Japanese war will have to be carried
on for an indefinite period after the destruction of the Nazi power. Here again
there may be the possibility of some political upheaval in Japan inducing a sudden
surrender, but it would be very foolish to count uppn this in a race of men of this
desperate and barbarous character. Its whole constitution is dominated by the naval
and military hierarchies who dragged them into their mad aggression.
When the whole of this Japanese problem is examined on military grounds
alone, it would certainly not be prudent to assume that a shorter period than
eighteen months after the destruction of Hitler would be required for the final
destruction of Japan's will or capacity to fight.
This forecast must be continually revised every few months by the combined
Chiefs of Staff. To prolong the life of the existing Parliament Sy another two or
three years would be a very serious constitutional lapse.
Even now no one under 30 has ever cast a vote at a general election or even
at a by-election, since the registers fell out of action at the beginning of the war.
Therefore it seems to me that, unless all the political parties resolve to maintain
the present coalition until the Japanese are defeated, we must look to the termina-
tion of the war against Nazidom as the pointer which will fix the date of the
I regret the break-up of the present highly efficient Government that has waged
the war with unsurpassed success and has shaped or carried out within the last two
years a program of reform and social progress which might well have occupied
the whole Parliament in the ordinary conditions of peace.
In fact I may say, and I must be quite candid about this, that, having served
for forty-two years in this House, I have never seen any Government to which I
have been able to give a more loyal, confident and consistent support.
10 British Speeches of the Day
But while I should regret and deplore the break-up of this force so knotted
together by personal goodwill, by the comradeship of great business and fighting
for a great cause, by the sense of growing success arising from that comradeship,
yet I could not blame anyone who claimed that there should be an appeal to the
people once the German peril was removed.
I have a dear view that it would be wrong to continue this Parliament beyond
the period of the German war.
The foundation of all democracy is that the people have the right to vote. To"
deprive them of that right is to make a mockery of all the high-sounding phrases
which are often used. At the bottom of all those phrases is a little man who has to
walk into a little booth, take a pencil and make a little mark upon a little bit of
paper, and no amount of rhetoric can possibly palliate overlooking that.
The Odor of Dissolution
The people have the rght to choose representatives in accordance with their
wishes and feelings, and I cannot think of anything more odious than for a Prime
Minister to attempt to carry on with a Parliament so aged and attempt to grapple
with the tremendous problems of war and peace and the transition from war to
peace without being refreshed by contact with the people or without being relieved
of any special burdens in that respect.
I can assure the House that in the absence of most earnest representations of the
Labor and Liberal parties I could not refrain from making 4a submission to the
Crown in respect of a dissolution after the German war is effectively and finally
finished. I am sure this is a straightforward, fair and constitutional method of deal-
ing with what is in many ways an unprecedented situation.
Meanwhile I must confess that the position will not become increasingly easy.
The odor of dissolution is in the air, and parties are inclined to look at each other
across the house with an increasing sense of impending division. But we have to
be specially careful in such circumstances that nothing should hamper the vigorous
prosecution of the war.
That, I am sure, is the resolve of all parties and also of most of those indi-
viduals who are especially eager to bring the coalition to an end. I thought it right
to touch upon these matters because they are, after all, of very considerable im-
portance to our constitutional procedure.
But further than this I find it impossible to form an opinion. Jorrocks said of
fox hunting that it was the image of war without its guilt and with half per cent
of the danger. Something like this might be said of a general election.
It is a trial of strength between parties, of which the nation is the arbiter. I
have often thought it was unwise of generals to try to foresee with exactness what
would happen after a battle had been fought. A battle hangs like a curtain across
the future, but once that curtain has been raised or rent, we can all see how the
scenery is arranged, what actors are left upon the stage and how they appear to be
related to one another. In this case it will certainly be much better to wait until
the new situation is fully discussed.
Meanwhile, as we probably have a good many months of the closest comrade-
ship and of the hardest work before us, and as ample opportunity for party oratory
will arise and necessarily be given between the dissolution and the poll, I should
deprecate strongly the over-emphasis of party differences just now and recommend
that we should all bend ourselves with unflagging energy and unbroken unity to
the common task. New Yor Times
[New York Times)
RT. HON. ANTHONY EDEN
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
House of Commons, September 29, 1944
I think everyone who has listened to the Debate will have been conscious
that the international situation is not without its problems. Indeed, I find that as
the Allied Armies sweep forward, so these problems have a habit of increasing and
multiplying. I would be less than just if I did not take this opportunity to pay
tribute to the relatively small staff-I wonder if the House knows quite how
small-only 82 in number in all the departments of the Foreign Office, of the
regular Foreign Service-whose responsibility it is to advise the Government on
these manifold and difficult problems, and guide us in paths which even our
critics will admit are not exclusively smooth and easy.
[The Prime Minister] . yesterday reviewed, as only he can review, in his
own masterly fashion, the course of the war since we last met, and he spoke also of
the international situation, and in these two days hon. Members in all parts of
the House have spoken and commented with candor and discretion on the state
of our national and international affairs. Indeed, I was impressed, I might almost
say startled, by the extent of the discretion everywhere shown, and which even
spread to Ebbw Vale. I heard the hon. Gentleman interrupted and asked whether
in his complaints he included Allied Governments, or was only dealing with His
Majesty's Government. He replied most properly, "I deal only with my own Gov-
ernment." I hope the hon. Member will never forget that. The occasion may come
a little later on when we shall have cause to remind him of that most proper re-
mark. Almost every Member who has spoken has referred to the masterly unfold-
ing of Allied strategy in the two years which have elapsed-almost exactly two
years-since we in this House were assembled in the dark days before the turn of
our fortunes at Alamein. The transformation has indeed few parallels in history.
The wheel has come full circle. The enemy, from the supreme oppressor, has
become the battered victim of ever heavier blows. It will not be for us but for
historians of the future, to describe this momentous change in our fortunes.
I think the House will feel it is right that I, speaking on behalf of his col-
leagues in this Debate, should pay tribute to the man above all others in this and
every land whose genius and determination have carried us through to this point
in our fortunes. In every phase and every hour, it is no exaggeration to say, it has
been our Prime Minister who has directed our strategy and inspired our arms, and
I have liked more than anything else in this Debate that even those who have been
his critics in the past, have had the generosity to join in the fair estimate of his
Achievements of British Armed Forces
There has been something else-ra growing and a justified sense of pride in
the achievements of our own Armed Forces, and the desire that that estimate,
which we know to be a fair estimate, should be understood and fully valued by
all our Allies. We felt that as we read what our Airborne Division has achieved.
Nothing in all that gallant and tragic story has given us more satisfaction, perhaps,
than the knowledge that our Allies in the United States and Russia have under-
stood to the full the meaning of that sacrifice and its value. I believe that in their
determination to fight on against odds, however extreme, they have given expres-
sion to what is the very best in all our Fighting Services. They have, we like to
think, epitomized the spirit of Britain at war. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale
(Mr. A. Bevan) referred, and I think rightly, to the 14th Army. He will have
12 British Speeches of the Day
noticed, of course, as the House has done, the very full report which my right
hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave of that Army, so that its gallant part, in
circumstances of greater discomfort and difficulty than those of any other Army,
should be fully understood by the world. I can assure the hon. Gentleman and.
the House that the Government understand full well the special problems of that
Army. Very recently its Commander-in-Chief-I think I can say, its beloved
Commander-in-Chief-Lord Louis Mountbatten, was back here for consultations
with the Government, not only over our future strategical plans for that area, but
to consider also just those problems to which the hon. Gentleman referred earlier
in the Debate.
We should err if we read into this marked improvement in our fortunes since
last the House met a signal that the main battle is won. It is much too early to
speak in these terms. No one can tell how long the struggle may yet endure in
the West and in the East, and so our overriding need remains for the maintenance
of Allied unity, for the delivery of Allied blows in accordance with plans laid
down at Teheran and carried through since. That need is as great today as it has
ever been since Hitler's challenge was taken up five years ago. If anything has dis-
turbed me a little in this Debate it has been the assumption in one or two speeches
that the victory is almost won. No one is justified in framing his policy on such an
assumption until the two enemies with whom we are still engaged in the death-
grapple have laid low their arms. So, the first duty of all of us is to sustain that
Allied unity without which victory cannot be won. In Europe at the present time
the German propaganda machine has not much material with which to work,
apart from the issue, which I am coming to in a moment, of the terms of peace for
their own people. There is only one hope which could really give them comfort;
that is, if they felt that some wedge could be driven into Allied unity. Only then
could this growing sense of the inevitability of defeat, of which indeed almost
every German prisoner speaks, be broken, and the Germans hope again. That hope,
I am convinced, will be disappointed; and, indeed, its impossibility is what, as I
see it, this House wants to send out as a message to the world today.
What "Unconditional Surrender" Means
It is in that context that I want to deal with references which have been made
from time to time in this Debate to the nature of the peace to be imposed on
Germany. There have been advocates of a hard peace and of a soft peace. I con-
fess that I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester that I am
not greatly impressed by those terms "hard peace" or "soft peace." I think it is
a pity that a controversy in that form should ever have arisen in this country at
all. There can be only one peace which will be acceptable to the people of this
country. That is a peace which takes every precaution in our power to see to it
that neither Germany nor Japan has any avoidable opportunity of starting this
business again. That is not, of course, the end of it. The hon. Gentleman said a
little earlier on that we would be wrong if, as, in fact he suggested, our policy
was only the disarmament of Germany. Certainly it is not. If that were our sole
policy I agree we should be at fault; but it is not so. Let me explain what I mean.
We have heard some criticism of this phrase "unconditional surrender." I would
draw the attention of the House to the definition of that phrase which the Prime
Minister gave a little time back. I want myself to explain what we mean by it.
My right hon. Friend said, in a Debate in this House:
"It means that the Allies will not be bound to them at the moment of sur-
render by any pact or any obligation . . Unconditional surrender means that
the victors have a free hand .... We are not to be bound to the Germans as a
result of a bargain struck."-(Oficial Report, 22nd February, 1944, Vol. 397,
That is my right hon. Friend's quotation. I would only add to it this sentence.
What we mean by "unconditional surrender" is this. We are not prepared to
make a negotiated peace with Germany. The reasons for that go deeper. They
are based on the experience of history and on the interpretation which, without
doubt, the Germans placed on the Fourteen Points on the occasion of the last war.
On that basis I hope I shall carry the body of the House with me. Let me go a
little further. Many hon. Members, I know, have studied the relevant documents
which have been issued about German activities immediately after the last war.
They show-I do not think anybody can doubt it-a devastating indictment of the
complete absence of German sincerity from the very beginning in fulfilling any
of the disarmament stipulations.of the Treaty of Versailles. I believe it to be a
fact that over the whole range of the disarmament stipulations of that Treaty the
German military authorities practised ingenious, universal, and, let us admit it,
to a certain extent successful evasion and obstruction at all possible points. Here
I am not dealing with, what the hon. Gentleman spoke of, the later stages of
German disarmament, but I am dealing with the immediate problems which will
confront us at the time of the German surrender. I believe that this policy did
receive the general support of all the early Governments of the Weimar Republic.
Let the House see where this takes us. It takes us to this point: that we cannot
take those risks again. What do we propose? There are many in Germany, no
doubt, who see the writing on the wall. They understand that if Allied unity is
maintained and Allied military operations are carried through-and no doubt they
will be-with the same vigor and success as in the last months, final defeat is
certain. What is their reaction? The House has been told by my Noble Friend
in another place of the information which we have had from a number of channels
that the German General Staff, recognizing the inevitability of defeat in this war,
are already thinking in terms of the next.
That, as has been pointed out, is nothing new, but that is not the whole of
it. Himmler, the chief and begetter of the Gestapo, is now making preparations
for the organization of continued resistance during the occupation of Germany
by the Allies, and, for this purpose, fanatical young Nazis are being trained. I
know the House is alive to the difference between the new situation and that of
1918. We have had all these years of Nazi training of a certain section of the
population, and every report we get from France and from areas where the Ger-
mans have been in occupation shows that these young Nazis are much the worst,
especially those who have not yet reached military age. That is the effect of these
doctrines upon these people. The Germans know that whatever they or Himmler
can organize now in the way of this kind of resistance can only be temporary; but
they know, too, that their main work, if they are to pursue their purpose, consists
in laying the foundation of a secret organization intended to operate many years
ahead. From our information, these foundations are being laid now. That is
what we believe is going on in Germany now-that Himmler's organization is
laying the foundation for this future secret organization which is to revive the
spirit and meaning of Nazidom in the German people. Well, our reports are
pretty good, and I would not say this to the House unless I were absolutely con-
The point I wish to make is this. When the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr.
McGovern)--I am sorry he is not here, but I must answer a remark he made-
said there was no need for the occupation of Germany, and that the German
people will do it themselves, I can only answer, relating it to our own experience,
that he is living in cloud-cuckoo land. It would be utterly unjustifiable, whether
British Speeches of the Day
we believe in good or bad Germans, if, in the preparations we are now making
with our Allies, and which are virtually complete, for the time when the surrender
comes, for the occupation of Germany, we did not take every precaution in our
power to ensure that what we are suffering today, we shall not suffer again. . .
There are those who believe that there are good Germans, and there are. those
who believe that all Germans are bad. My position is that I am not interested in
which argument is right, because I know that there are men in Germany who are
working already for a recurrence of these events in a later generation. So I say
that the occupation of Germany, and not only the occupation but the taking of
every precaution that can be devised to prevent the recurrence of these affairs, be-
comes the insistent and most important responsibility of each one of the Allied
Governments. I think I have made my position clear.
Now I come to the speech of the hon. Member for West Leicester and the
remarks he made about Bulgaria. He said he hoped that Bulgaria would not be"
allowed to retain any part of her ill-gotten gains. I am in entire agreement, and,
not only am I in agreement, but His Majesty's Government are in agreement
and the Governments of our Allies are also in agreement on that point. It is
indeed essential that Bulgaria should withdraw her troops from Greece and Yugo-
slavia, and no armistice will be signed with her until she does.
My hon. Friend asked me about France, and he said he was not quite clear
what the Prime Minister meant yesterday-whether he intended to convey that
there could be no recognition of the Provisional Government of France until an
election had been held, which, of course, in turn, depends on the return of prison-,
ers from Germany. It certainly was not my right hon. Friend's intention to con-
vey that impression at all. As we understood the decrees issued at Algiers, it is
the intention of the French Provisional Government to set up, very shortly, a
consultative body, and it was to that process, and not to the election, which we
can fully understand cannot take place for perhaps 18 months, that the Prime
Minister was referring. I can only add, as further comfort to my hon. Friend, that
we, like him, wish to see France an equal and a potent partner in all our affairs.
We are already in discussions with our Allies about this problem, which I, per-
sonally, agree is a relatively minor one, of recognition or non-recognition of the
French Provisional Government.
There has been some discussion about the machinery which exists between
our Allied Governments for handling the various work which confronts us and
our daily problems. We have of course our diplomatic channels, and the cables
are sometimes pretty heavily charged. There is also the work of the European
Advisory Commission established here in London as the result of a suggestion we
made at the Moscow Conference a year ago. The task of that Commission was to
discuss and advise us on the questions which must arise as the result of the cessa-
tion of hostilities with Germany, or any of the satellite countries--questions which
call for an agreed solution between ourselves, the United States, and the Soviet
Union, and with other Powers as they develop. That Commission has already,
since it began this year, had nearly 50 meetings and, though its work has not been
publicized, I am confident that it has laid a firm foundation for collaboration
between the three Powers for the post-hostilities period.
Relations Between U.S.S.R. and Poland
Against this background, I want to deal with some of the more difficult ques-
tions raised in the Debate and, more particularly, those of the relations between
Foreign Afairs 15
our Soviet and Polish Allies. I think it will be fair to say, and I have listened to
almost all the Debate, that each point of view has been put quite fairly in this
House. It is all to the good, in my judgment, as Foreign Secretary, that that should
happen, and that foreign lands should know what the people of this country think
on these problems. There is no subject that causes the Government, or myself as
Foreign Secretary, more concern than this, and there is none which, I beg the
House to believe, on which we have labored more persistently to try to make our
contribution to a solution. In 1941, we reached a happy moment, to which we
have never since been able to get back, when we managed to help to secure a
Polish-Soviet Agreement, which was signed here in London. Events cut short
the life of that Agreement, but I can assure the House that our efforts have been
unremitting to try to build again on the foundations which we laid then.
I have been asked certain questions by my Noble Friend the Member for Lanark
(Lord Dunglass) in a very admirably phrased speech. He asked me whether, for
instance, at Teheran my right hon. Friend and I had made it clear to our Russian
Allies how much importance we attached to a settlement of the differences then
.outstanding between them and the Polish Government. The answer to my Noble
Friend is "Yes." We made it plain at Teheran, as we had made it plain earlier
at Moscow, at the conference there, and as we have done many times since. There
has been a suggestion by one or two of my hon. Friends that perhaps we had
failed in the emphasis of our language. I do not accept that. We have spoken as
friends to friends and when speaking thus it is, perhaps, wiser and also more
effective to speak firmly in private rather than to hector peremptorily in public.
Nobody in this House should suppose-and I ask the House to accept the assur-
ance-no member of any party should suppose, that we have failed to make clear
our position or our anxiety.
I am going to make only two observations on the present situation, and in par-
ticular about developments at Warsaw. I have been asked to give some account of
them and I know the House will understand me when I say I do not propose to
do so. It would not be very difficult for me to retail events, but I do not think it
would be helpful in the light of the outcome of the representations which have
been made. Of course we have considered the Warsaw situation. There have been
discussions, arguments, representations between the Allies, but I think, on the
whole, I will not give a detailed account of these. I will make only two observa-
tions. The first is that we ourselves have done everything in our power by military
effort to bring help to the garrison at Warsaw since the first day of the rising and
every tribute that the House can pay to the Royal Air Force, Polish, British or
South African is justified. The second observation is that we have done everything
in our power by diplomatic initiative to co-ordinate the efforts of our Allies in the
same sense. For my part, it is a source of thankfulness that since last week help
is being brought to Warsaw by ourselves, the Americans and the Soviet Union also.
I believe other problems will equally find themselves capable of solution.
A Vexed Issue
There has been some discussion about the Eastern frontier of Poland and on
that I would like to make an observation or two. I have, in one or two of the
speeches, found an assumption that these niatters were a little clearer than in fact
they are, and that they may be simplified or solved by reference to this treaty or
to that. The truth, as the House knows well, is that there has been no more vexed
issue in all history than these Eastern frontiers of Poland and His Majesty's Gov-
ernment, bound as they are by treaty to both their Allies-Poland and the Soviet
Union-will-not swerve in playing their part to try to reach a solution, which will
result in bringing about that to which we are all pledged-all three of us-the
British Speeches of the Day
creation of a strong, sovereign, independent Poland which can play its full part
in the corpity of nations. . .
If I have spoken with caution about these Polish-Soviet relations-and I ask
the attention of the House to this-it is not because of the significance of these
matters in themselves, but because of their inevitable reaction upon our relations
with the Soviet Union. When the world emerges from its turmoil, it will yearn
for lasting peace and the plain truth is that there can be no guarantee of any such
peace unless we, the United States and the Soviet Union, can work together in
enduring harmony, and that is to me the overriding importance of this Polish
sovereign issue. I agree entirely with my hon. Friend the member for Oxford
(Mr. Hogg) in his remarkable speech last night. So that is the chief object of
the Foreign Policy of His Majesty's Government. Nothing is easier than to empha-
size the points of difference. There are too many. A while ago we were all
shocked to read of the devastating explosion at Bombay which was said to have
taken place because somebody may have dropped a lighted cigarette. Bombay
is not in that respect entirely different from some aspects of the international situa-
tion from time to time.
Facing the Difficulties
Reference has been made-and I must deal with it briefly-to the work of the
Dumbarton Oaks Conference. It has been described I believe as 90 per cent
successful, and any such results would be a most heartening achievement. But let
me say at once, I for one had never expected that a complete solution of these
vexatious problems was going to be produced at the first sitting of this kind. If I
may be absolutely frank, it is probably just as well it was not reached, because
these problems are of so searching a character and the work we must do, and that
we have done, must stand the stress and strain of the times. I had much rather
the difficulties were faced than that we should try and improvise and gloss over the
difficulties, and, later on, find that we have not done our work properly. This
time we must do it on a sound foundation, and it is better to take a little longer
in order to do that. I am sure that good work has been done at Dumbarton Oaks-
but a good deal of work remains to be done.
Many hon. Members have expressed themselves about post-war organization
and it is all to the good that they should do that. Here I come to a point which
has been raised from time to time in this Debate. Hon. Members have expressed
the difficulty there inevitably is with Conferences in keeping contact and obtaining
information in this House. It is a true point and one which should be made, and
any Foreign Secretary or representative of this country who attends these Confer-
ences is infinitely strengthened if he has behind him the general consensus of
opinion of the House, and is in a difficulty if he returns and finds that he has not
that authority. That happened in a very minor matter only a night or two ago.
There is one other matter to which I wish to refer before I close. In several
speeches hon. Members referred to the need for our close collaboration with our
neighbors in Western Europe and with the small Powers generally, but particu-
larly with Western Europe. I agree with everything that has been said on that
subject, and I think we can be sure that the friendships which have been made by
the representatives of these countries while they have been here in the war years
will be found to be of great value when they return to their own land. We have
had certain informal discussions about our future relations and these will be
pursued further in due course. The hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Ivor
Thomas) stressed that issue and I agree with him. On the other hand, I think
we would be wise to use these conversations, and our close friendship with these
countries, as a buttress to strengthen the general world structure.
Punishment of War Criminals
We should, I think, be wrong if we thought that in any such arrangement
alone we should find peace or security for ourselves. It is an element in the gen-
eral international system and, as I think the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A.
Bevan) rightly said, it will give us more authority with the other great Powers
if we speak for the Commonwealth and for our near neighbors in Western Europe.
That seems to me the right conception of the structure that we should try to build,
and that is just the task on which we are now, in point of fact, engaged. . .
Let me, finally, say this. Our problem, our continuing Foreign Office problem,
is to play our part in the diplomatic field to bring about the defeat of Germany and
Japan. To that task all our strength must be devoted, but let no one think- and
this is the warning on which I want to close-that with the defeat of Germany
that issue is at an end. The problem of Germany-will be a continuing problem.
It is the key to the foreign policy that this country must pursue, and I think it is
good that hon. Members in this House should argue and present their different
points of view as to how the Germany of the future shall be handled. I agree
emphatically with the hon. Member for Oxford that any diversion from concen-
tration with our Allies upon this problem within our own generation would invite
disaster. The principal danger to Europe-this may not be agreed to by all, but
this is my conviction-after the defeat of Germany will be the re-emergence of a
militant Germany. You may disagree about how you wish to avoid it, but that
is the problem which will be a continuing one for the foreign policy not/ only of
ourselves but of all those who come after us. If that crude, harsh fact be accepted,
then I think our foreign policy may have a fair chance of leading our people and
the Allied peoples and the peoples of the United Nations to a lasting peace.
[House of Commons Debates]
House of Lords, October 3, 1944
I cannot, of course, anticipate what must be an Allied decision, but I should
like to take the opportunity of assuring your Lordships most confidently and
solemnly that there is no ground for thinking that Allied policy in regard to the
lesser war criminals will allow the arch-criminals, who have inspired and directed
the endless infamies of this war, to escape their proper fate. I think that perhaps
a little anxiety was caused, and perhaps a little confusion created, by the report
of some observations made recently in the United States; but your Lordships may
have observed, I think in yesterday's newspapers, that the position was made
entirely clear by an observation of Mr. Cordell Hull. He was talking about the
anxiety as to whether A or B-I shall use harmless initials-was "on the list," and
he said that question was without any significance whatever from the point of
view of what the Allied Powers had in mind in regard to Hitler and other Nazi
leaders. My noble friend Lord Addison indulged for one moment in a form of
reference not uncommon and always taken in good part when he spoke as though
in this matter we were all bogged and dogged by the technicalities and intrica-
cies of lawyers. Let me tell him that lawyers, or at any rate good lawyers, are
not nearly so technical as some laymen suppose. To my mind-and I think that this
is the view of all of us-the public conscience would be outraged if we devoted
ourselves to the punishment of those who perpetrated outrages as servants of the
master criminals and did not concern ourselves with appropriate steps to be taken
against the master criminals themselves.
British Speeches of the Day
The Moscow Declaration
I shall take this opportunity of making one other observation on a matter which
I know causes concern in some quarters. The defense of superior orders-the de-
fense "I was ordered to do it"-is no excuse for those who perpetrate crimes
which they must know to be wicked and unjustified. But while that is undoubt-
edly good law, and I think good sense, the fact remains that it is those who give
the orders who are even more deserving of punishment than those who carry them
out. And I think really, if for one moment I may take your minds back, that the
true position is very dearly indicated in the famous Moscow Declaration, the Tri-
partite Declaration, the declaration of the Prime Minister, of President Roosevelt,
and of Mr. Stalin, of November 1, 1943, on this subject of war criminals. It
divided the subject.into two parts. There is the war crime which we hope to be able
to trace by identification and evidence to those who did the deed or directly ordered
and supervised the deed, a definite war crime committed in particular circum-
stances in a particular area at a particular time. That is the main topic, I appre-
hend, of the inquiries being made by the War Crimes Commission. It is obvious,
when you come to think of it, that you will not get anywhere with prosecuting a
man for a war crime unless you can prove that it was he who did it, and can produce
the evidence which shows what happened. It is not enough to denounce generally:
you have to bring the thing in some way reasonably home to the individual. That
is not easy to do, and I know that the Commission are putting their utmost en-
deavors into the matter.
But the Moscow Declaration went on, in a second part, to make a further an-
nouncement which has been much overlooked. It is very short and I will ven-
ture to read it:
"The above Declaration"-
that is the declaration about what we call ordinary war criminals-
"is without prejudice to the case of the major criminals whose offenses have
no particular geographical localization, and who will be punished by the joint
decision of the Governments of the Allies."
It is very important to remember that that has stood as part of the Moscow
Declaration ever since it was first made. As that sentence indicates, the matter is of
course for the Allies and not for any single Government. I think I have ob-
served in this House before, when we have debated this subject, that when you
consider the supreme criminals their fate is quite as much a political as a juridical
question. And the Moscow Declaration thus contemplates the punishment of the
major war criminals as well as the lesser ones.
Assurances from Neutrals
As regards the risk to which the noble Lord, Lord Addison, referred, of the
leaders attempting'to find refuge in neutral countries, your Lordships will have
noticed in recent weeks the series of assurances which have been coming to hand
from various neutral countries. The Allies have addressed the sternest warnings
to neutrals and assurances have been given by one after the other that they will
not receive Axis war criminals. Perhaps the latest case, the one which is of im-
mediate interest, is the case of Argentina. His Majesty's Government have made
no secret of their resolve to neglect no means of ensuring that the Nazi leaders
and their accomplices and all Germans accused of war crimes shall not be per-
mitted to find refuge in neutral territory from the consequences of their crimes;
and they have made it dear that they will regard any shelter given to such criminals
as a violation of the principles for which we are fighting.
The Merchant Navy and the Future 19
As regards the Argentine Government, that Government, who are well aware
of the attitude of His Majesty's Government in this matter, recently gave to His
Majesty's Government definite assurances that in no event will persons accused of
war crimes be allowed in Argentine territory, and that such persons will not be
allowed to create capital deposits or to acquire property of any kind in their
country. His Majesty's Government have welcomed these assurances and I think
they have now appeared in the Press. Nevertheless His Majesty's Government are
continuing to use every means in their power to satisfy themselves that the guilty
Nazis and their loot shall not be able to reach Argentina or any other destination
outside Europe. All measures of control at our disposal are being used to keep a
check on the movements of such persons and their property and use is being made
of our system of passenger crew. control to ensure that they shall not succeed in
e ee [House of Lords Debates]
Minister of War Transport
House of Lords, October 4, 1944
This debate has ranged over a wide field. The subjects on which it has touched
do, I know, relate to the subject-matter of the Motion, but there have been ques-
tions, such as that of air transport, which are rather outside my jurisdiction and I
shall leave some of them aside. I shall, however, do my best in the statement which
I now propose to make to cover most of the subjects raised. If I fail to do so I
shall be very ready to be prompted. Hitherto the main shipping problems which
have confronted me as the Minister of War Transport are those of finding sufficient
shipping for the effective prosecution of the war. I am happy to say that the em-
phasis is now changing, except in relation to the passenger carriers, of which we
still have too small a number. The execution of the military plans will still make a
very heavy drain on our shipping resources after the defeat of Germany. We must
remember that the war in the Far East will be fought out in areas at great distances
from the bases at which military operations can be mounted. At the same time we
shall be incurring heavy commitments for the relief and the rehabilitation of the
liberated areas. Nevertheless the cargo shipping now in hand and in sight should
be sufficient for all these purposes, so far as it is humanly possible to foresee.
"Agreement on Principles"
Shortages of types, including passenger carriers and specialized ships generally,
will persist, but the building program for the large bulk carrier of standardized
design can soon be shortened up. The very success in providing the standardized
ships needed for the operations for the maintenance of war requirements has neces-
sarily created the problem of a post-war surplus in these types of ship. The re-
markable achievements of American yards, together with the great shipbuilding
programs in this country and in Canada, have played an absolutely indispensable
part towards victory, but it is inevitable that these wartime ships will leave the
world's Mercantile Marine after the war in a very unbalanced state. The two things
were inseparable; if we were going to do the war job well we were bound to be
faced with this after-war problem, and we must not shirk it. The return to normal
peaceful commercial conditions will be difficult. In fairness to all maritime nations,
we have to see that no one is put in a better position than the others to return to
20 British Speeches of th' Day
commercial trading. No one must have a flying start. At the same time, each of
the United Nations rightly wishes to bear its due share of the common tasks arising
out of the completion of the war.
It was with these considerations in mind that the Government entered into the
"agreement on principles" as to the continuance of co-ordinated control of shipping
which was published last week as a White Paper. It has for long been dear that
Government control over shipping would continue to be necessary for the prosecu-
tion of the war in the Far East, for the maintenance of Armies of Occupation in
Germany, for the movement of troops and for their repatriation, for relief and
rehabilitation and for the supply of all the United Nations. It was dear too that
the continued co-operation of the maritime Allies would be needed after the expiry
of the agreements under which their ships are at present used in the common war
effort. I felt that the European Governments, even though they are not all so
deeply involved in the Far Eastern war as the British Commonwealth and the
United States, would be ready and indeed anxious to continue to provide their
share of the shipping needed. It was with this conviction that, in collaboration
with the United States Government, we set before them the proposals which led up
to the present agreement. Our proposals were accepted by the other Governments
concerned in the spirit of co-operation which we have learnt to expect from them
throughout the four-and-a-half years during which we have worked together.
All the Governments that signed the agreement have accepted as a common
responsibility the provision of shipping for all military and other tasks necessary
for, and arising out of, the completion of the war in Europe and the Far East
and for the supplying of all liberated areas as well as all the United Nations gen-
erally and territories under their authority. An organization is already at work
elaborating in greater detail the means by which the participant Governments will
collaborate in the day-to-day measures necessary for the completion of their common
tasks. We regard this agreement as an important measure towards that international
collaboration which we hope to see as widely extended in the post-war period as
it has been while the Governments of the United Nations have been striving to-
gether for victory.
The agreement covers only the transitional period of the war with Japan and
its immediate aftermath. It is not directly concerned with post-war shipping ques-
tions as such, but it had a direct bearing on these problems. On these we shall
be able to see our way more dearly as the transitional period progresses. More-
over, throughout this period, when all our ships are still necessarily engaged in the
tasks of war, we shall be free from the fear that other countries may have the
opportunity to secure an unfair advantage in post-war trade by earlier release of
their vessels for commercial purposes. The agreement secures in effect that all
shipping, whether or not under the flag of one of the contracting Governments,
will be operated in conformity with the purposes of the United Nations. If,as is
possible, it should prove at a later stage that there are more than enough ships to
meet immediate and essential purposes there is a provision in the agreement for
release of shipping for commercial trading by common agreement between the
Governments "in accordance with a mutually acceptable formula which shall not
discriminate against the commercial shipping interests of any nation, and shall
extend to all the contracting governments an equitable opportunity for their re-
spective tonnages to engage in commercial trades."
We-that is the United Nations-have been obliged during the war to build
a high proportion of bulk-carrying vessels of standard design because in this way
The Merchant Navy and the Future 21
we obtained the maximum output of cargo-carrying capacity. These ships include
certain features necessary for war purposes due to the need for carrying aircraft,
tanks, trucks, locomotives, landing craft, and so forth. The consequence is that
heavy derricks, high 'tween decks, clear holds, large hatches, and so on, are out-
standing features, and the vessels have to be a substantial size-namely, about
10,000 tons deadweight. These features will limit the usefulness of the vessels
in many peacetime trades. I have, however, had under constant watch the appro-
priate time at which we could alter the balance of our building program. It is now
dear that tramp tonnage of this type need no longer be produced as soon as the
vessels now ordered on Government account are off the stocks. In addition, our
standard cargo liners and our standard tankers will soon be sufficient to meet all
the needs that we can foresee for the war against Japan.
With the full support of my right hon. friend, the First Lord of the Admiralty,
I have been in touch with the shipping industry, as he has been in touch with the
shipbuilding industry, with a view to relaxing where we can the severe wartime
restrictions on the types of vessels our yards have been allowed to build. The re-
laxation will allow the construction of types of vessels suitable for peacetime needs.
In particular, smaller sized ocean tramps and intermediate types of cargo liner are
likely to be built in growing numbers, while I hope that we can soon resume the
construction of passenger liners, a type of ship that will be very urgently needed
for the movement of our Forces and their eventual repatriation and other essential
movements of displaced populations, returning administrative staff and so forth.
Such a change-over can only be gradual, but it should be progressive and, as soon
as more can properly be done, we shall not delay in permitting it.
I should perhaps make it quite clear that control of shipbuilding will have to
remain at least until the end of all hostilities and that construction on private
account will still have to be controlled by licenses. Furthermore, there are still
shortages of raw materials and finished products, and to this extent vessels must
still be built with a certain amount of austerity in their equipment and fittings.
In general, while we must still give priority to immediate war needs, I can assure
your Lordships that we are also giving most careful consideration to post-war
questions, even though, with so many factors as yet obscure, we can only formulate
our ideas in the most tentative way. I am, of course, in close consultation with the
General Council of British Shipping from time to time.
Shipping Vital to Our Prosperity
There are certain principles which can already be laid down. First of all "this
country must continue to serve the world with a large and efficient Merchant
Marine." It is difficult to be more precise at this stage but I would say that our
Merchant Navy must be at least as large as before the war and so much larger as
British enterprise and efficiency can make it in a world from which we hope arti-
ficial obstacles to trade will have been removed. A Merchant Navy is, of course,
essential to this country for two major reasons. In the first place shipping services
provide a large part of the foreign exchange resources with which this country
must balance her payments. The very serious overseas disinvestment to which we
have had to resort during the war makes it vital to our standard of living and to
all our post-war social plans that our earnings on foreign exchange should be
immensely increased. In this, shipping services have an important part to play. In
the second place, the war has shown once again how essential to the very existence
of our country is a merchant fleet to bring in the food and munitions that we need.
Our own tonnage, severely depleted by war losses, would have been inadequate to
meet those needs but for the valuable assistance we have received from our shipping
Allies and ultimately from the huge shipping program of the United States.
British Speeches of the Day
The prosperity of our shipping and that of the other maritime nations will
depend mainly upon the success of the plans being made for the extension of world
trade in general. Indeed, until these plans are further advanced it is too early to
determine in detail what will be necessary to secure the welfare of the shipping
industry or the shipbuilding industry, which closely depends upon it. The industry
has always stressed that the welfare of British shipping depends on a greater free-
dom of trade between nations. A world governed by the economic doctrines of
Dr. Schacht would not give our shipping or our shipbuilding the opportunities
of prosperity we wish to see. We are ready to collaborate with othe? like-minded
governments in establishing conditions under which the shipping of the world
can be efficiently and economically carried on. We shall therefore seek to secure,
in collaboration with other countries, the,establishment of conditions of fair com-
petition so that the trade of the world will be carried by the ships of those coun-
tries who are able to do so to the best advantage of producers and consumers alike
in all countries.
Before the war our chief enemies all subsidized their ships, and gave them all
kinds of indirect assistance, so that enemy owners were often able to compete against
ourselves with. faster and more modern ships, built with State aid and with a view
to wartime employment. We can look forward at least to the elimination of these
unfair and destructive practices. I may perhaps add in parentheses here that the
Chancellor of the Exchequer has already stressed the importance of providing ade-
quate wear and tear allowances on ships. He has recently intimated that in the
legislation which he will in due course submit to Parliament he intends to pro-
pose that the 20 per cent initial allowance shall apply to ships ordered now and
to ships at present on offer by my Department for post-war delivery.
Some Economic Problems
I think I might say a word about the very difficult question of surplus ships.
It is indeed an enormous problem. I could almost frighten your Lordships with
the number of ships that are involved as surplus, as we now assess it, at a period
of two or three years after the war. During that immediate period a great many
of these ships will be able to find employment, but the demand is bound to taper
off and leave the world with a prodigious surplus. I cannot do more today than
say that I am indeed most mindful of it. I think it is probably bne of the biggest
individual problems that have to be dealt with. I am dealing with it, but I am
dealing with it in such a way that I cannot make any report at this stage. I just
wanted, however, to make your Lordships feel that I am moving and will continue
to move until we get a satisfactory settlement of this very serious and difficult
On the question of the air, to which I had not intended to refer, my own
view is that the development of civil aviation will go a long way to create a new
kind of trade of its own and that there will still be left a very large volume of
passenger traffic for the ships to continue with. While some of that special traffic-
for example big business people making their journeys in very quick time, almost
regardless of what they have to pay-will go by air, I feel that a great number,
probably more than we have ever seen before, will seek to travel by ship. I think
the day is a long way off when we shall see any big inroad into the cargo-carrying
of our shipping by the intrusion of the air.
Another point, with which I was not originally proposing to deal, has been
mentioned by several noble Lords, and I should be wrong in not making some
reference to it. That is the very difficult problem of replacement and the disparity
The Merchant Navy and the Future
between war risks insurance recoveries and the cost of new building. This disparity
has widened as time has gone on. At one period it was not so wide, and it is not
seriously wide in all cases today, but in a large number of cases I must confess
there is a gap which must have consideration. The White Paper of 1940 which
announced the rates of hire to be given to shipping also made a reference to this
very point. There was, perhaps a little vaguely in terms, a promise that this matter
would have consideration at a later time. Now that we are reaching the point when
new ships are likely to have a chance of being put down on a peacetime basis,
and we are getting nearer to the time when we shall be face to face with this re-
placement problem, this matter will have consideration. That is being dealt with
now, and the Chamber of Shipping and the Liverpool Shipowners' Association
have been in touch with me about it.
In the conditions which we hope to establish the factor determining whether
British shipping will regain its former place in world trade\ will be the enter-
prise of British shipowners. We cannot ignore them on the one side and expect
them to deliver the goods on the other. They must not seek merely to resume
the services that they carried on before the war, but we hope that they will seize
new opportunities, such, for example, as that of carrying trade formerly carried
in enemy ships. We shall welcome every sign that the shipowners are seeking
new and more efficient methods both of constructing and running their ships.
For this reason we particularly welcome the recent establishment of the British
Shipbuilding and Research Association whose general object is to promote re-
search in shipbuilding and allied trades. I give that a hearty welcome.
Conditions of Work
A reference was made by my noble friend Lord Westwood to the conditions
on board ship. I take the view that we have moved forward in recent years-
I mean before the war-towards much improved accommodation for the crews
on board ship. One only sees the advantages in the new ships which have been
built during that time. You always have, for quite a long time, a lag in the case
of older ships which cannot really be altered in many cases. These advances
come through structural alterations, and many of the older ships could not endure
that type of alteration, so you do not get all at once the improvements which
have been developed. Even although we feel that a big advance has been made
in recent years, the matter is now having renewed consideration and, with so
many new ships to be built, we must see to it more than ever that this accom-
modation is completely satisfactory.
Now for a few moments I wish to speak of the post-war position of the
officers and men of the Merchant Navy, who have throughout rendered such
splendid service. We owe a tremendous debt to those who manned our ships in
the very dark days that now lie behind us and who have done so much to make
possible the great victories our fighting men have secured. It is a remarkable
fact that, notwithstanding all that our seamen have borne, we no sooner called
for volunteers for the Second Front operation, with all its unknown dangers,
than they rolled up to volunteer for the work of putting our men and equipment
on the other side. Out of the officers and men in the coasting trade and those
from overseas ships who had the opportunity to volunteer in the few months
preceding D-Day, over 70,000 volunteered to play their part in these operations.
We must see that the future of these men is safeguarded, and this is another
reason why we must maintain a large and efficient Merchant Navy.
As noble Lords are already aware, I received from the industry some time
ago, their first outline plan for a scheme of continuity of employment for our
British Speeches of the Day
seamen after the war. There have been a number of unofficial talks with repre-
sentatives of the industry on this plan, but consideration could not be pressed
forward until the Government reached conclusions on the principles of the Social
Security plan. Now that these have been published, the project is being re-
examined in the light of the Social Security proposals. It was necessary to await
these before we could proceed further. I have also received from the Merchant
Navy Training Board, which includes representatives of all sides of the industry
as well as of my Department and the Ministry of Education, proposals for the
future training of those who wish to enter the deck department either as officers
or ratings. These proposals represent a very considerable advance on anything
that has hitherto been attempted in training and selection for the Merchant Navy.
The Training Board is now considering what sim'iliar arrangements should be
made for the engineroom and catering departments, and I have no doubt that
their proposals will similarly represent a very real improvement on what has
been done in the past.
Prosperity Linked with Foreign Trade
Turning to shipbuilding, the welfare of that industry will depend largely
upon the prosperity of the British shipping industry, which in turn will depend
mainly upon the volume of seaborne trade. The future of our shipyards will
also depend on the readiness of the shipbuilding firms to go out and seek orders
at competitive prices for the building of ships for foreign owners-once a very
important item in our export trade. We are very much alive to the national im-
portance of this industry, which employed nearly 90,000 workers before the war
and employs considerably more now. Its importance is due to two major factors
parallel to the two factors I have mentioned in relation to shipping. First, we
must have a large shipbuilding industry as a means of national security and,
secondly, the building of ships for overseas owners can make a very valuable
contribution to our export trade. These two factors are very closely connected.
We cannot maintain a shipbuilding industry large enough for our defense needs
solely on orders from British owners. We must have a very considerable and
steady flow of foreign orders. This means, of course, that the equipment and
layout of our yards must be the best possible-and must be kept constantly abreast
of every development. There will be no room for backward or restrictive prac-
tices on the part of management or labor.
\ During the first four or five years after the end of the German war there
will be a large flow of shipbuilding orders, due to the desire of British and Allied
owners to replace both their war losses and their obsolescent tonnage, particu-
larly in the specialized types. Once this has been done a great slackening off is
inevitable. My right hon. friend the First Lord of the Admiralty is fully alive
to the desirability of evening out, as far as possible, the total load on our ship-
yards by adjusting the naval building program to the variations in merchant de-
mands. It cannot be expected that the increased wartime capacity can be kept
busy by regular peacetime demands. The amount of shipping that the world's
trade requires is unlikely to expand indefinitely, and must impose a limit upon
the number of orders for new ships. The whole question of the prospects of the
shipbuilding industry is now under dose review and in due course the Govern-
ment will make a further statement. In conclusion I can assure your Lordships
that the Government are determined that the British Merchant Navy, ships,
officers and men, shall be reconstituted as a large and efficient fleet. We shall
see that the industry and those who work in it shall have fair play.
[House of Lords Debatesl
Bretton Woods: Preliminary Discussions
SIR JOHN ANDERSON
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Mansion House, October 4, 1944
This traditional ceremony would, I am told, have been held last year but it
fell through because of the sudden and tragic death of my predecessor, Sir Kingsley
Wood, who was personally known to so many of you. I have the best reasons for
appreciating how much our country owes to the wisdom and courage with which
he handled the national finances while he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. The
solidity of our position and the control established over inflationary tendencies
which would cause hardship to large numbers of our people, both afford the hope
that we may move to problems of peace, serious though they will be, down a
well-planned road. This result will be a fitting memorial to Sir Kingsley. It is
right for me to pay this tribute here to the man who made my task so much
easier than it might have been.
It is customary on this occasion, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer stands
up before the representatives of finance and commerce in the City of London-
and I am still bold enough to believe that the City of London will be again the
world's center for finance and commerce-to expect him to say something of
interest. Whether that tradition adds to the enjoyment of the other guests or,
indeed, to that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer who is honored by the invita-
tion, must be a matter of opinion. But I will defer to tradition and try to say
something which, I hope, may be of interest to some of you.
No Mean Achievement
You will not expect me today to make any formal and far-reaching declarations
of Government policy. We are meeting in a more intimate atmosphere in which
I might, as the phrase goes, "think aloud" on one or two subjects on which in
due course decisions will have to be taken.
In doing so I am, with your leave, going to by-pass the problems of our in-
ternal finance. Thanks to the sound lines of policy laid down in the early years
of the war and thanks also to the remarkable way in which our people have sus-
tained the great effort which they have been called upon to make, our financial
and economic position is, today, after five long years of most exacting war, strong
enough to be a legitimate source of pride. In the fifth year of the war, when our
expenditure was higher than ever before, we met a greater proportion of it than
in any of the previous four years from current tax revenue. The very large sums
which we have had to borrow each year can truly be said to have been raised in
ways which have avoided the risks awaiting any Government which must, by hook
or by crook, raise large sums of money in a limited time to meet inescapable
obligations. It is, I think, no mean achievement that from the total borrowings
during the war of nearly 13,000,000,000 less than 30 per cent took the form of
a floating debt in the hands of the public; and that in the process of raising over
4,000,000,000 from the public, on medium and long-term securities, terms have
steadily improved in favor of the Exchequer.
We are now, when some relief from the burdens of war seems at last to be
in sight, contemplating the acceptance of-fresh obligations in various directions.
It is my duty to see that the Government and Parliament do not accept such obli-
gations without counting the cost. If the people of this country are prepared to
work for a better standard of life, as they have worked for victory-not with the
same intensity but with the same purposeful resolution-all will be well. Any
expenditure can be justified which is matched by increased productive efficiency.
British Speeches of the Day
This is the light in which every new proposal must be judged. I will have to
develop this, then, at greater length on some other occasion.
No Government Commitment
Meanwhile, there are other subjects on which I wish to talk to you today and
I ask you first to go with me to Bretton Woods in whose pleasant groves my
friend, Mr. Morgenthau, the Secretary of the United States Treasury, summoned
the International Monetary Conference. This Conference produced the document
called the Final Act, which has been published. It is, I confess, a difficult docu-
ment, inevitably long and technical. There are some obscurities of language in it
which have led to misunderstanding and must be clarified. The time for detailed
exposition will come when the whole matter has been debated in Parliament. But
it does seem to me important that while necessary and useful preliminary discus-
sions are taking place in the Press and among interested groups, that one or two
misunderstandings, which unless they are corrected may darken counsel, should be
The document is a draft of an international agreement, which technical experts
of the United Nations submit for favorable consideration by the governments and
legislatures concerned. Neither our government nor any other government is
in any way committed to the acceptance of it.
Our True Interest
At the same time if we find that the United States and other countries important
in international trade and finance decide that it is acceptable to them, we must not
reject it lightly. If we have to choose between standing outside international insti-
tutions' or taking a leading part in making them work, particularly when they
are institutions for economic co-operation, I have no doubt where our true interest
lies. Anyone who doubts this has only to look at a map of the world and see
how widely spread our interests are and with how many countries the frontiers
of those interests march.
Moreover, we should betray much of the hope for peace if we failed to carry
forward into those difficult years the unity and co-operation that have existed
between us and our chief Allies during the war.
The second point I want to make is that the Bretton Woods document explicitly
recognizes that, while we might agree upon objectives and methods when the
world's trade is settling down, countries like our own have to face an extremely
difficult period of transition in which they must keep their hands free to deal
with their difficulties as they arise and as seems best. It is in our interest to make
that transitional period as short as possible and equally endeavor, while it lists,
to develop our policy so that others will be willing to co-operate with us.
For these reasons, the first plea I make with regard to the results of the Bretton
Woods Conference is that what was done there should be studied carefully. I say
"what was done there" deliberately for some of the criticisms are about things that
were not done there. It is complained that the Conference did not deal with com-
mercial policy and the removal of trade barriers, with the stabilization of com-
modity prices, with schemes for bulk purchases and long-term contracts, and so
on. I admit all these criticisms at once but the answer is that the Conference was
not summoned to deal with these subjects. It was dealing with the essentials of
international monetary policy without which policies of economic co-operation in
other parts of the international field could not be sustained. Bretton Woods is not
the end of the story. Indeed, the success of some parts of the Bretton Woods plan
will depend in turn upon schemes of co-operation in other related fields.
Bretton Woods: Preliminary Discussions
Nondiscrimination in Trade
I do not want to range too widely today, but there is one point that I must
bring to the attention of some of the critics of the Final Act. I mean those who
appear to think that the line of safety for us after the war is to reserve our full
rights to enter into discriminatory commercial and currency agreements not only
as a temporary measure during the transitional period but permanently. Various
ways of achieving this have been suggestedcand one of the criticisms of the Final
Act is that it would prohibit or frown upon such arrangements. Now I think it
is doubtful whether in fact the Final .Act is decisive on this point but there is
another and wider issue involved. It is an issue of good faith. Under Article VII
of the Mutual Aid Agreement, the master agreement under which we have received
assistance of prodigious amount, we agreed to work for the elimination of all
forms of discrimination in international commerce. The only qualification was
concerned with imperial preferences. We are bound by this agreement and we
are going to honor it. Incidentally quite apart from the Mutual Aid Agreement,
by our commercial agreement of 1938 with the United States we also accepted
the policy of nondiscrimination in trade. I would ask those who recom-
mend what is in essence a barter system as basis for our international trade: Do
they really wish us to follow a course which goes back on what we have formally
agreed with the United States, and flouts one of the principles of international
commerce to which the United States Government attach importance, and which,
as a matter of fact, I believe in our own interest is sound principle? If we dis-
criminate, other people can discriminate. If we indulge in barter, other people
can indulge in barter. It is a difficulty in all agreements and contracts, that one
party cannot have it all his own way.
I recommend these issues to your very careful consideration.
Stability Does Not Mean Rigidity
I am also told that the Bretton Woods Conference means a return to the gold
standard. Now, I doubt whether those critics who use the words "gold standard"
as a term of opprobrium always have a perfectly clear idea of what they mean.
But perhaps one can assume that what they are thinking of is a system under
which the external value of sterling was fixed, and internal credit policy was made
subservient to the maintenance of that value. To that system, if it ever existed
in such a crude form, we do not propose to return. I have not minced my words
about that in Parliament.
But it is said that Bretton Woods has tied our exchanges in virtually the same
way, whereas experience between the wars has shown the necessity of flexibility
or adaptability in exchange rates.
To read some criticisms, ope would imagine that Britain's foreign trade funda-
mentally depends upon exchange rates which rush up and down almost like a
barometer in a cyclone. Now that is nonsense. For a country whose whole economy
is widely influenced by international trade some reasonable stability in the value
of sterling is of primary interest. We have not much less interest in the reasonable
stability of other peoples' exchanges. I do not go the whole way in believing that
the greater part of our troubles between the wars was caused by unstable exchanges.
Nor do I believe that countries with a major interest in international trade lightly
alter their exchange rates. Those alterations disturb internal as well as external
values. But there is no doubt that instability of exchange rates, of some important
countries, at some periods between the wars, was a disturbing factor in international
trade. After the huge economic disturbance of this war we must expect difficulties
in arriving at an equilibrium in the balance of payments.
British Speeches of the Day
The Bretton Woods document follows a middle course in this matter. So far
from imposing a system of rigid exchange rates it expressly recognizes the need
for adjustment of exchange rates to correct disequilibrium. If we believe that it
is in our own interest to have reasonable stability of exchanges, but at the same
time to have a method for the orderly adjustment of exchanges when occasion
arises, I do not see very well how one could have a very different principle from
that stated in the Bretton Woods document.
Consultation Does Not Mean Dictation
It is of course true that to a certain extent we would bring our exchange policy
under review by an international body, on which we should be represented. But so
would every other country. We would not surrender any ultimate right to follow
our own policy, but we would accept an obligation to recognize that the adjust-
ment of the exchange value of sterling, or of any other major international
currency, is a two-ended process and that we owe it to the general interests of
international trade to consult with an international institution, before we make
changes which will affect our commercial, as well as our financial, relations with
other countries. For those who are particularly anxious on the question of our
freedom to adjust our exchanges, I would commend a study of section five of
article four of the document, the last paragraph of which makes it obligatory on
the management of the fund to allow changes in exchange rates in order to correct
a fundamental disequilibrium.
Before the conference at Bretton Woods took place, I made it plain that the
Government would watch with great care our position regarding our exchanges.
For myself, I am absolutely unimpressed by loose criticism that by accepting the
plan we shall have returned to the gold standard, in the sense of putting our
policy under the dictation of others.
There is much more that has to be said about the Bretton Woods document,
and I feel confident that it will be said; but for the moment I have chosen these
three points-the international aspect of the document, the provisions for the
difficulties of transition, and the treatment of exchange values-for comment
here before you who have such a wide knowledge and such a great responsibility
for international commerce.
The New Partnership
I should like now to turn to an entirely different subject-the relation between
government and industry, commerce and finance after the war. You will .not
expect to find me greatly concerned to test each issue of policy by asking whether
this is true private enterprise, or that is good socialism. I am even tempted fo
think that those who make extreme judgments in these matters overlook one not
unimportant motive in human conduct-the ordinary desire to do a job properly
for its own sake. An honest ship well found is an honest ship whether its ultimate
owners are a large and scattered body of shareholders, or a public authority. Pride
of craftsmanship and enterprise are not the sole prerogative either of private or
of public trade. Whatever may be the ultimate shape of our economic structure
in this country, it is quite clear that after waging a terrible war we shall have
too much to do to waste time on sweeping up all private enterprise and turning it
into some other kind of enterprise. Private enterprise has a public responsibility.
I believe this to be true at anytime, but in any case I am certain that it is true
for the very difficult conditions of resettlement of industry and trade in the
immediate years after the war. We must all recognize this new partnership and
develop it to the full. It will be the duty of government to exert itself to achieve
conditions in which private enterprise can play its part worthily and well: it will
Temporary Housing Legislation
be a big part. But those conditions cannot be achieved unless private enterprise is
willing genuinely and regularly to consult with government on the main lines of
policy, and accepts the determination of government to take a much closer interest
in the general lines of industrial and commercial policy than it has taken in the
A gathering like this would not seriously wish for any other policy in the
situation in which we shall find ourselves. The interest of government in private
enterprise does not mean interference by government at every stage. The closer
the voluntary consultation, the less frequent will be the need for interference.
I need hardly remind you of the bearing of taxation policy upon industry and
trade after the war. I tried to give some evidence of my own appreciation of this
fact in my budget last April. It is part of the public responsibility of the Chan-
cellor of the Exchequer in these days that he must pay continuing attention to the
relation between taxation and industry. But, speaking quite plainly, it will be
much easier to ensure that that attention has fruitful results, if trade and industry
recognize their public responsibility by close and free consultation with government.
Character and Credit
Finally, I want to say a very brief word about our external financial position
after the war. We shall emerge with heavy overseas obligations, but at the same
time our credit throughout the world will stand very high. I hope I am not being
unorthodox in suggesting, at such a gathering, that the basis of national credit is
the character of the people, their courage, their determination and skill, and above
all their productive efficiency. I do not think that anyone need be apprehensive
about our possession of these real assets. Now that means that our financial indebt-
edness can be translated into physical terms of production. I tell you, and I speak
under a sense of responsibility, that I believe we can see our way through. We can
meet our obligations in a realistic way: that is by producing goods that other coun-
tries will want. The process will take time, but it depends in the main, not upon
skillful financial adjustments, but upon the willingness of our own people to recog-
nize that, as they fought their way to freedom, so they can work their way to
security and progressive improvement in all their material conditions. It depends
also upon recognition by our creditors that they have a common interest with us
and must collaborate. They must be reasonable and not seek to treat war debts
on the footing of ordinary commercial obligations. Practically the whole of our
external obligations incurred during the war are to our Allies and associates in the
war. We have incurred a debt to them-but have they not also incurred some
kind of a debt to us which they too can pay, by their confidence in us which has
stood a much sterner test and by their practical co-operation with us?
Minister of Works
House of Lords, October 5, 1944
My Lords, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill* I would like to deal
first of all with the local government aspect of the question on which it was stated
in another place the Health Ministers have been in consultation with the repre-
sentatives of local authorities. There are three main points: How are the bunga-
The Housing (Temporary Accommodation) Bill.
British Speeches of the Day
lows to be managed and controlled? What is to be the incidence of the cost?
How can the necessary land be secured with sufficient speed? The Government
are to acquire and own the houses, but to the utmost possible extent the whole
scheme will be treated as part of the housing operations of the local authorities.
The bungalows will be put up on sites chosen, acquired and developed with the
necessary roads and sewers by the local authorities. The local authorities will
choose the tenants, fix and receive the rents, and make an annual payment to the
Health Minister, the amount of which will be determined in accordance with the
provisions of Clause 3.
Central and Local Government
The relation between the Health Departments and the local authority is that of
partnership, as in the case of a housing scheme under the Housing Acts, but it is
a partnership in which the Government undertake to bear a much higher propor-
tion of the loss than in the case of a permanent housing scheme. (The usual
proportion is 2 from the Exchequer to 1 from the rates.) The actual terms in
each case will be settled under Clause 3 but on the estimates which the Govern-
ment have put forward in the discussions with local authorities (assuming a rent
of 10s. a week exclusive of rates) the estimated charge on the Exchequer will be
at the rate of 45 a year, and the estimated charge on the local authority in England
and Wales will be a rate contribution of 4 and an average of a further 14 for
site charges. To meet the case where bungalows have to be erected on expensive
sites (a matter of special concern to London) the Government propose that, if
through the excessive cost of land or unavoidable waste in development site charges
will be excessive, the local authority will be asked to bear only 20 per cent of
that, if that exceeds the normal 4. Provision is also made for a further adjustment
if it proves that these cases are not adequately met in this way. The scheme seeks
to preserve the basis of partnership without exposing the local authority to any
Speed in the acquisition of land is essential to the success of the scheme. Land
must be ready for the reception of the bungalows in advance of the completion of
the houses. There are two clauses dealing with this important question. Clause 5
gives a power to enter on land at the earliest possible stage to ascertain whether
it is suitable for the erection of bungalows; for example, to take levels. Clause 6
gives a power to obtain temporary possession of sites required up to the end of
1945 which have been approved by the Health Minister and the planning authority
as suitable for the erection of bungalows. This clause enables the Minister to
authorize a proposed purchase after considering representations from owners and
occupiers on whom notice has been served by the authorities. On this authoriza-
tion the local authority will have power to enter forthwith and will be under an obli-
gation to proceed to purchase the land. This power of getting speedy possession
is of special importance in the early stages of these operations: that is why the
Government have adopted a procedure based on a principle accepted by Parlia-
ment in the Unemployment (Relief Works) Act, 1920, and also why this clause
is limited to the first year, roughly up to December 31, 1945.
One further point should perhaps be mentioned. There has been some appre-
hension that the bungalows would stay up too long, and that either the Govern-
ment or the local authority would for financial reasons delay their removal. This,
as your Lordships will realize,: is a very important point. The matter is dealt
with in Clause 2 of the Bill. The Government may remove the bungalows at any
time and they must remove them if requested to do so by the local authority at
any time after the expiration of ten years unless the Minister thinks that housing
Temporary Housing Legislation 31
conditions require that they should remain. This question will be handled by
the Health Ministers in consultation with the responsible local authorities. It is
the intention of the Government that no considerations of finance shall result in
the retention of the bungalows once housing conditions allow them 'to be dispensed
with, and that intention is made clear in the Statute.
The Prototype and Three Other Types
When I last addressed your Lordships on temporary houses, it was immediately
after the erection of the steel prototype house, which was shown to as many
people as possible, and was open for inspection for two months in London, and
was also shown in Edinburgh during the month of June. The Government wanted
,to hear the views and criticisms of the people who went to see it, before they
decided on the actual details of the prototype. As you all know, many criticisms
and suggestions were made, and in June these were all gone through. As a
result the Health Ministers decided upon what they considered to be the final plans
for the temporary house. In considering all the criticisms one was glad to find
that the people actually living in the house-to whose opinion I attach very great
importance-were very pleased with it from all aspects. This temporary house
was put up in the form of a mock-up. Towards the end of July it was announced
in answer to a question in another place, that the Government had approved of
the details of this temporary bungalow-the question of the super feet, the height,
the fittings, the insulation and also the various improvements that had been incor-
The present Bill was introduced in another place on August 2nd and it was
given its Second Reading on' September 26th. From the early summer the Gov-
ernment have been investigating other types and methods of construction. I want
to point out to your Lordships that these could not be finalized until the original
prototype with the improvements had been approved, as most of the same details
had to be incorporated into these other types. For each type the standard fittings
had to be used. Three of these types have been approved by the Burt Committee,
which advises the Government on alternative methods of house construction. They
consider that the materials and methods of construction of these other types satisfy
the requirements of the emergency house. One of these types consists of a light
steel frame with asbestos cement for the external walls. Another makes use of
prefabricated units of wood covered with asbestos sheeting. The Government
propose to enter into arrangements for the production of these types as soon as
suitable terms can be arranged. They have also under consideration a type of
house constructed of concrete on wooden slabs. Other types will be brought into
production if they can be developed satisfactorily.
As the Minister of Production stated in another place, the Government will
apply exactly the same costing system to these houses as they have applied to
munitions of war and of which they have had great experience. If we get the
Bill we shall then have to undertake the negotiation of contracts first of all on an
agreed maximum price, with the usual clause which enables the Government to
go into the question of costs and to see whether they should not be reduced as
the result of mass production, and whether the margin between the cost to the State
and the cost to the manufacturer is a fair one.
Men and Materials
The question of uncertainty about the provision of these houses is the numbers
which can be produced and in what period. The war in Europe-as your Lord-
ships will realize, and as the Minister of Production said in another place-is not
British Speeches of the Day
yet over, and the date of the end of it is difficult to assume. Will the war end in the
way the last war ended or will it drag on in some form or other? We have to
look at these three or four prototypes and see how many can be manufactured
with the materials and capacity available. Some of these types should get into
production quicker than others, while types such as the steel house will take
longer owing to the need for providing equipment such as jigs and tools, which
have to be made. Since we last discussed this question in this House, we have
seen the destruction wrought in London; and realize the vast task that faces us
in making the repairs required by the houses in London. An ever-increasing labor
force is being brought in to deal with this situation. The fact of this very large
force of building labor being engaged on this work for a very considerable time
reduces the building labor available for permanent houses. But it is not only
a question of building labor; there is also the question of materials. Take
plasterboard, the total output from this country will be required for approximately
six months in London. This is a material that is, as your Lordships know, required
for house building, either permanent or temporary. I cite this as an example
of the difficulties with which we are faced in some cases from the point of view
of materials, and which, I assure your Lordships, are being looked into very closely.
The Government have previously stated that they cannot allow any materials
required for temporary houses to impinge on the program for permanent houses.
What is the policy lying behind temporary houses? It is to mobilize another
form of industrial capacity; in other words, to make use of factory labor to relieve
the strain on building labor. By these means the maximum amount of building
labor is released to build permanent houses. To meet this one has to consider site
Sman-hours and the saving that can be effected, but there is no reason why the
advantage gained by site man-hours in temporary houses cannot in a like manner
be demonstrated in permanent houses. This was alluded to in the debate in
another place last week, when the demonstration of different types of permanent
houses at Northolt was mentioned. There is a type of construction shown there
which can be used for flats or houses, made of traditional building materials which
can be erected in 900 site man-hours as against 2,200 in the case of normal
methods at the present time. I feel sure that if the building industry and the local
authorities (some of whom are already experimenting on these lines) are given
the opportunity they will erect types of permanent houses that will give similar
results, and at the same time they will be making a great contribution to the speedy
solution of permanent housing problems.
The question to which I should now like to allude is that of the building
industry itself. I would point out to your Lordships the great difficulties through
which that industry has passed during the five years of this war. No house-
building to speak of has been allowed in this country during that time. Men
have been taken away from the building industry for the Forces and for munitions,
so that by far the greater number of men in the building industry today are over
41 years of age. Others have had to be directed to the East Coast for aerodromes.
In fact, building operatives have been doing every type of new construction other
than building houses. They have now had to be brought to London, to repair the
terrible devastation which has occurred in various areas in this great city. At the
same time it must be remembered that many of the key men in the industry- and
anyone who has been in industry will realize their importance-have left or have
been taken away from the industry. Local authorities and builders have lost their
draughtsmen and others who are all-important at the present time. I mention
these matters now because I think it is only fair to point out the great difficulties
which must be surmounted if the building industry is to provide the permanent
houses which will be required.
The Government's Proposal for Reconstruction
In conclusion, I know that your Lordships will realize the importance of this
Bill, and the necessity for the Government placing orders for the hulls, fittings and
all components for these temporary houses. We need this Bill, as my right
honorable friend the Minister of Production has emphasized, so that these can be
ordered, and the capacity needed obtained.f L s
[House sf Lords Debates]
Minister of Reconstruction
Newport, October 7, 1944
In the White Paper on social insurance*'which I recently presented to Parlia-.
ment on behalf of His Majesty's Government are these words, which the Mayor
recalled at luncheon today:
"The aim of national policy must be to secure the general prosperity and
happiness of the citizens."
They are words of great importance. The whole future of our country and
the shape of our civilization depend on whether we can summon up a national
spirit of creative energy, a spirit of adventurous enterprise, a belief in ourselves
and our destiny. It is of these things that I want to speak today, and I find in this
Exhibition, which you invite me to open, an appropriate and stimulating platform.
Here is proof that the industrialists of Monmouthshire have confidence-and
that in a most enterprising way they are taking realistic and practical thought for
the future. South Wales and Monmouthshire will be heartened by this Exhibi-
tion, and I wish it success. Many people in this country are concerned about the
future; some are worried and perplexed; some, I find, are sceptical. They remem-
ber the hopes-and indeed the promises-made during and after the last war.
Pieces That Make a Picture
When Mr. Churchill asked me to be Minister of Reconstruction, I determined
to take my time to look around, to weigh up the position, both at home and abroad,
to consider the financial, as well as the industrial, position before I made any
plans. A long experience of business has made me cautious both of hasty con-
clusions and easy promises.
We put forward our plan when we thought the time had arrived when we
could safely direct the attention of Parliament and people to these post-war prob-
lems without detriment to the war effort. That time has arrived, but do not
suppose that we are parties to all this wishful thinking that the war is all but
over. It is not. The Germans are fighting everywhere with the vigor of despair
and with the ferocity with which people defend their hearths and homes-and far
away in the East there remains an enemy-with a population twice as large as
ours-who have always cast envious eyes on British possessions and British trade.
There must be no softening about the Japanese: they were the natural allies
of the Germans, and the whole available power of this country must go to their
defeat and undoing. That comes first, but now we can get on with our plans for
the future structure of our society.
We have, in a series of White Papers and Bills, put our ideas before the
country. They have, of necessity, come before you piecemeal, from the several
Cmd. 6550 and Cmd. 6551.
British Speeches of the Day
Departments of State that will have to give practical effect to the proposals. But,
like the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle, they make a picture; they fit in; they are co-
ordinated into a whole. I won't say that there is a master plan-because that
totalitarian attitude to life fills me with misgiving. They leave room for the indi-
vidual to play his part in determining the future of the nation; but there is a
central thought behind them all-and that thought is so to harness the powers of
central Government that the individual citizen shall have freedom to develop his
powers, his character and his strength, unimpeded by the devastations of poverty,
of unemployment, of unnecessary ill-health, of untutored ignorance, or of the fear
of penury in old age.
We are determined to wage war on want and on unemployment, with all the
miseries that these things bring-and. about which you, alas, in this part of Britain
have learned much in the bitterness of your experience. That is the central thought
behind our schemes. If you prefer it-that is the "Master Plan." Nowhere have
I heard this idea challenged; but the sceptics inquire, "What steps are you taking?"
and other says, "Can we afford it all?" '
Let me take these two issues separately. What have we done? We began
with Education. Mr. Butler's new Act is a great act. It has widened the door of
opportunity. In the years to come we shall be a much better-educated people.
From this Act two things will follow: the young will have a chance of all the
happiness and all the opportunities thatcome from education; we shall have the
national wealth and advantage that comes from having educated all our brain-
power, regardless of class, and we shall no longer have that sense of injustice
in our midst that comes from men who realize that they are kept down in life'
because the poverty of their parents prevent them from having a chance in life.
I say that this Education Act is pregnant with hope for our future well-being
and happin s.
After a chance in life, the next thing is houses-houses that are homes. The
obituary notices of discarded politicians in this country are full of the promises
they made about houses. I am making no promises. I will remind you that in
the first year after the last war we built 30,000 houses. I will tell you that in
London alone the bombs have destroyed 130,000 houses, and that over 800,000
are in urgent need of repair to keep out the cold and the rain. As soon as labor
and materials are released from war work, we shall organize the whole resources
of the country to build the maximum number of permanent houses in the two years
after the war, and we shall supplement these permanent houses with temporary
houses built of materials that will not get in the way of permanent house construc-
tion. And we will build good houses-houses with room in them, houses designed
to relieve the labors of housewives, and houses in which families can be raised
to good health.
These are not promises; I am telling you of the practical steps which the
Government is taking at the present time to prepare for the day when labor is
available. The plans-and the prototypes-are ready, and local authorities have
been invited to see them. This is practical planning.
And now another very practical thing. We have agreed on a national water
policy. The public has taken little interest in this-but housewives will welcome
it. A tap in every home-that's our plan. It may take some time; it awaits
material and labor, but what a blessing it will be. What shame is on us, with
our knowledge of sanitation and with our natural abundance of water, that we.
did not have this elementary thing years ago.
The Government's Proposal for Reconstruction 35
Employment and the Special Areas
SAnd now I come to the major issue in our reconstruction plans. It is the
maintenance of a high and steady level of employment. I hope you have studied
it in South Wales and Monmouthshire. It has gone round the world; it has
been reprinted in other countries. It expresses the obligation of Government to
wage war on poverty that arises from unemployment; it puts forward practical
plans for the regulation of purchasing power and for stimulating it in periods
when trade is falling off. It lays down the obligation of Government to get a
proper balance of industry especially in those areas such as yours which are too
greatly dependent upon a very few types of industry. I know that the specter
of unemployment must still haunt the villages of South Wales. Between the wars,
economic depression meant widespread misery and unwanted idleness. Now, you
have thriving factories there. I can imagine the fear in the minds of those who
work in those factories that the blessings of peace may bring to them a return to the
Before the war, I was one of the Treasury Commissioners dealing with the
Special Areas; I know what the conditions were. It was because we knew and
cared about these things that we put forward, as a Government, proposals for
securing fuller employment. The Government is determined to see that the new
factories which have been established in the area are continued, either in munitions
or civilian production. This is important, for I realize that this area has for many
years been dependent on heavy industry; it has been very short of factory floor
space. I can tell you that in this area very early building priority will be given
for new factories. The standard factories which are going up for war purposes
are going up with an eye to the transition period, and with getting more industries
in this district. They will be available to industrialists on the same terms as
those already built.
For your encouragement I can tell you this-the Board of Trade are now
receiving many enquiries from businessmen about the industrial possibilities in
your area; enquiries ranging from businesses on the largest scale to the smaller
types of industry, which are necessary for the balanced distribution of industry
and labor. It should be possible to secure the balance of industry in this region,
particularly as Monmouthshire has such remarkable natural advantages as an
industrial area-as this Exhibition shows-advantages which, in the national
interest, must be developed. As the munitions program slows down the slowing
down will be done in such a way as to minimize unemployment in the change-over.
Then again, the Government have promised to give first priority to the building
of the road bridge over the Severn, and plans are in hand for speeding up all
communications with Monmouthshire and South Wales.
The Nation's Health
These are facts which some of you know already, but I repeat them to show
you that the future of your industrial area is in the forefront of our minds. These
plans are an integral part of the larger policy plans. To them you must add the
proposed National Health Service, and I have no doubt that when this measure
does reach the Statute Book we shall achieve a very great improvement in the
country's health, particularly in the health of the less well-to-do members of the
And this week you have heard of the Government's social insurance plans,
and our proposals there are so fresh in your minds that there is no need for me
to dwell on them. As these plans unfold, and education is extended, national
health is improved, employment is steadied, and poverty is abolished, a striking
British Speeches of the Day
transformation will take place in our social institutions, which will march well
with the role in world affairs which this country has filled in the past five years,
and the part which undoubtedly she will be called upon to play in the difficult
decade to come.
And now the second question: Can we afford all these improvements in the
lot of our people?
My answer is twofold. My colleagues in the Government and I believe that
the plans laid down are within the limits of the powers of the community. If
that were not the case, then we should not be going on with them, for it is the
business of Government to keep within practical bounds the economic and social
aims of the country within any given period. These are not idle dreams of a
brave new world; they are practical and workable plans.
Can we afford them? The answer is this. We can afford them, and we shall
realize them if we are prepared to work for them. If we work together with
determination, exercising initiative and enterprise in management, and giving fair
play as between employer and workman, we shall rebuild the prosperity of Britain
within a generation. But we shall have to go all-out to get it, and it will call for
much tolerance and a high sense of justice and of national purpose. We shall
need all these things. Let me tell you the state of the national balance sheet. All
this prosperity that we now see is artificial. We are living on credit. Day by day
we borrow more and more, and we are piling up a vast load of lebt-partly it is
true, to one another, but we all kpow the interest has to be paid, and will be paid.
But look at our position abroad. Before the war we had enormous invest-
ments and funds abroad-all over the world-and from these, in times of bad
trade, we drewv what we needed to purchase our food and raw materials. To pay
for these in wartime we have had to lose 1,000 millions. In addition to that, we
have borrowed over 3,000 millions. So we are 4,000 millions worse off in our
foreign balances. And if we are to live in the future as well as we did in the past,
we have to make and to sell goods overseas with which to buy our food, and our
materials, and to pay the interest on our debts.
The prospect for the future is one of hard toil-one of constant and unremit-
ting toil for a generation. The hardship the Nazis have inflicted on this land will
not end for many years after the fighting ceases. We have spent the lives of our
young men; we have thrown into the struggle the accumulated wealth of years.
We shall emerge strong in faith, steeled to endurance, and with a great task
I believe so profoundly in this vision of a new Britain that I would venture
to appeal to those engaged in industry to join in this great industrial revival in the
spirit of a national crusade. For the purposes of war we have done it. Let us
join, in mutual respect, to do it in peace. Do not let the grievances of the past
govern the relations of the future. We are primarily an industrial nation. Let us
develop our industrial capacity to the full. Industry-and by that I mean both
employers and trades unions-must lose no opportunity of forcing industrial
output to the highest point and turning out goods with the maximum efficiency.
It is pointed out in the Government's White Paper on Employment Policy that
various restrictions may impede the full flow of goods at low prices and thereby
endanger the standard of living that would otherwise be possible for the com-
munity. The Government is not prepared to countenance in any industry arrange-
ments by which prices may be stabilized, but only at the expense of output and
The Government is equally anxious that labor should play its part in clearing
away the obstacles to an expansionist economy. There are trade union practices
which have just as serious an effect upon the volume of production, the volume of
employment and the standard of living, as do the practices found among indus-
trialists. These practices arose when labor found it necessary to protect itself
against unemployment; they were understandable, but I hope the positive way in
which the Government now propose to prevent unemployment, and to make ade-
quate provision by social insurance to maintain a standard of life for people
temporarily unemployed, will open the way to the removal of restrictive practices
and release the full productive power of labor to the national good.
The Spirit of the Merchant Venturers
To employers of labor I can say that in your hands lies the initiative; Britain'se
future depends on your enterprise. There is great joy in building business, in
finding new and better methods, in harnessing the new discoveries of science to
the service of production-and of mankind. Whatever may be the level of tax-
ation after the war, it is certain that the great financial rewards of the past will
not be repeated in the future. Businessmen can no longer depend on the stimulus
of making and keeping great wealth-but there are other rewards than wealth.
The commercial prosperity of Britain will be your reward.
When this war is over, the world will be anxious to trade with us. We are its
biggest customer; they want our goods. We want our food from them.
So I say to manufacturers: get ready to adventure forth; get ready to travel
the world over in search of trade. Such were the Merchant Venturers who made
Britain in the past.
This enterprise that I open today convinces me that the old spirit remains. In
many countries our sons have shown the world the quality of British manhood in
the struggle of war. This is the quality of our nation-and together, inspired
by national purpose, we will show again that peace hath her victories too. Victory
over what? Victory over poverty, victory over all those things that hinder or mar
our right to national greatness. [Oicial Relae
[ Ogicial Release)
RT. HON. HERBERT MORRISON
Home Secretary and Minister of Home Security
House of Commons, October 10, 1944
The object of this Bill* is to provide standing machinery for adjusting con-
stituencies to changes in the distribution of population, so as to prevent a position
arising in which there would be a grave maldistribution of Parliamentary seats.
The Bill is based upon a unanimous recommendation of the Committee on Elec-
toral Machinery, which contained representatives of all the main political parties,
including those highly-skilled and technical persons known as the principal or
national agents, and I am indebted to the Committee for giving me their very
valuable advice on a number of fairly complicated problems.
The House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Bill.
British Speeches of the Day
New Standing Machinery Needed
This Committee not only pointed out that a system of representative Govern-
ment involves standing machinery for the registration of electors, but also took the
view that it involved standing machinery for the determinination of local areas
as suitable constituencies for the election of Members to this House. The adjust-
ment of both constituencies and the registers is essential, they said, for the same
reason, namely, that population is always in a state of movement-and at no time
has that been more true than during the present war. The Committee said that
machinery for the adjustment of constituencies ought to be a normal and regular
part of the equipment of the British Parliamentary system. In the absence of such
equipment, experience in the past suggests that it requires a positive upheaval to
secure any adjustment by means of a redistribution of seats. The subject remains
in abeyance indefinitely, history teaches us, until the maldistribution of seats is so
notoriously bad that at last something has simply got to be done. Indeed, the
argument of the Committee is supported by the history of redistribution in the
last 100 years. In this period redistributions took place in 1832, 1867, 1885 and
1918, in each case in connection with extensions of and alterations in the qualifica.
tion for the franchise.
Redistribution has previously been looked upon as an exceptional operation
linked with changes in, .or extension of, the franchise. There is, however, no
necessary or essential connection between changes in the franchise and redistribu-
tion, for it may well be that extension of the franchise might not upset materially
the balance of electors between one constituency and another. There is no essen-
tial connection between the qualifications for the franchise and the distribution
of Parliamentary, seats. Nevertheless, redistributions over the last century have
taken place in connection with, or as a consequence of, extensions or changes in
the franchise. The principle is now accepted that so far as it is practicable each
Member ought to represent an equal number of constituents. The existing mal-
distribution is due not to design-there is no wicked plot on the part of any
Government as far as I know-but is simply the result of the fact that there has
been no machinery for making changes in the distribution of seats to correspond
with the extensive changes in the distribution of the population. So, in any scheme
of distribution, the object to be aimed at is not exact mathematical equality but
a reasonable approximation to equality. Substantial margins of toleration are
necessary. If we run the doctrine of equal electorates too far, we shall find our-
selves divorced from reality and from the particular circumstances of, for example,
sparsely populated areas. All we can aim at is an approximate equality, and in
doing so we must allow for substantial margins of toleration and recognize that
that should be so.
After all, Members of Parliament do not represent mere aggregations of indi-
viduals, bundled together in mathematically equal groups. They seek to represent
areas which are identifiable and, if possible, have their own traditions, and, more-
over, it is the duty of Members not only to represent their constituencies but to
try and speak their minds about what is best for the interests of the nation as a
whole. The Speaker's Conference of 1917 recommended toleration where the
electorate was 30 per cent below, or 70 per cent above, the standard figure. Those
were the limits of toleration recommended by that Conference. By 1941, no fewer
than 164 constituencies were outside those fairly wide limits of toleration. In
some cases electorates amounted to only 30 per cent and 40 per cent of the
standard and others had three and four times more than the standard.
No one defends these anomalies and the recent Conference under Mr. Speaker
shows the general agreement on the view that arrangements ought to be made
to check maldistribution in its early stages, and to prevent the growth of such
gross inequalities as have accumulated during the past 25 years. What happens,
of course, is that a Government recognize that redistribution has become due or
overdue, and then it is a matter of finding Parliamentary time. In the judgment
of the committee and in my own judgment it is far better to have standing
machinery so that we can steadily adjust as we go along, and the issue can be
put before the House of Commons so that the House and the Government of the
day have to face it automatically, as changes occur.
The provision of standing machinery for securing periodic redistribution as
and when adjustments are required is not difficult. It is agreed that there ought
to be in existence standing Boundary Commissions, charged with the duty of
reviewing the state of constituencies periodically, preparing schemes of redistri,
bution in accordance with certain principles prescribed by Parliament itself, and
submitting such schemes for the approval of Parliament. It has been agreed-by
the Government, in accordance with the recommendations which were submitted
to us, that the Chairman of this series of Boundary Commissions should be the
same Chairman, and that that Chairman should be the Speaker of the House of
Commons. I wish, Sir, to express the Government's thanks to you-and I am
sure the thanks of the House also-for your willingness to undertake this task,
and also once more to thank you warmly for presiding over the recent Conference
and to congratulate you on the high measure of agreement which you were able
to get from that well-assorted body of political personalities. Anyway, they were
a good mixed representative bag, representing the House of Commons and their
Lordships' House. My hon. Friend. the Member for South Croydon (Sir H.
Williams) asks me to say they were a very distinguished body of gentlemen. I
willingly do so. I think they did a first-class job of work and I have no doubt
that my hon. Friend made his contribution, and that he was heard from time to
Clause 1 of the Bill provides for the setting up of four Boundary Commis-
sions, one for England, one for Scotland, one for Wales and Monmouthshire, and
one for Northern Ireland. There has never yet been a separate Boundary Com-
mission for Wales, but with my well-known sentimental regard for Wales and
the Welsh people, I willingly accepted this proposal for a separate Boundary Com-
mission for Wales and I hope it goes well. The Government are glad to accept
the recommendations which were made to this effect by the Speaker's Conference.
There is no question of any paid post being created by the appointment of the
Boundary Commissions themselves. The Commissioners themselves will be, gen-
erally speaking, persons already holding offices in the public service and they will
receive no payment beyond expenses necessarily incurred. The officers serving
under them may, however, be remunerated as provided for by Part II of the First
Schedule. The duty of the Commissions which is laid down in Clause 4 will be
to keep under review the representation in the House of Commons of each of
those parts of the United Kingdom, and to submit to the Home Secretary, or
to the Secretary of State for Scotland, as the case may be, periodical reports, stating
either that in their opinion no alteration is required in the distribution of the
seats, or that an alteration is required, in which case the report will show what
changes they recommend. But these recommendations will not, of course, be bind-
ing upon Ministers. It will be competent for Ministers to accept, or reject or
amend the recommendations of the Boundary Commissioners, subject always to
British Speeches of the Day
two points, first, that they will have to explain the reasons for their decision, and,
secondly, that Parliament must at all times be supreme in the matter.
Special provision is necessary as regards early steps to correct the existing mal-
distribution, but subsequently, unless the distribution of population should change
suddenly, the periodical reports are likely to recommend only comparatively small
changes in the distribution of seats. If Parliament accepts these recommendations
after review by the Government, this machinery will prevent the growth of gross
maldistribution and will, by a series of changes, keep the distribution of con-
stituencies in step with changes in the distribution of the population. That should
be possible without an enormous loss of Parliamentary time, and without the
Government being worried as to whether it can afford the time for a major Re-
Parliament, in the first, place, must give the Commissions guidance on the
principles to be followed in deciding whether redistribution is necessary, and
how the schemes of redistribution shall be effected. Rules for this purpose are set
out in the Third Schedule to the Bill. These rules follow generally the recom-
mendations of the Speaker's Conference. We have settled, and the Bill carries
out the idea, that at all stages of the procedure Parliament must be on top. It
would be quite wrong either for the Boundary Commissioners or for the Gov-
ernment to be able to influence the distribution of seats without specific Parlia-
mentary approval at all stages. Therefore, Parliament will settle the principles,
Parliament will deal with the recommendations of the Boundary Commissioners
as modified or not and submitted by the Government of the day, and at no stage
will there be any situation which is not entirely under Parliamentary control. I
am sure the House will attach importance to that.
No Reduction for Scotland and Wales
The first point to be settled is, of course, the total number of Members to be
elected to the House, and how they shall be divided between England, Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland. The Speaker's Conference recommended that the
total number of Members for Great Britain should remain substantially as at pres-
ent, that is to say, 591 Members, excluding the university representatives, and it
was also recommended that there should be no reduction in the existing total
representation of either Scotland or of Wales. Effect is given to this recommenda-
tion in the Third Schedule to the Bill. The provision is, of course, favorable to
Scotland and to Wales. The figures are that in 1939, again disregarding the uni-
versities, the number of electors per Member was for Scotland 44,642; Wales
47,220; England 54,775. But these differences are not excessive, taking account
of all the circumstances of the case, and bearing in mind that our aim is not an
exact mathematical equality, but a reasonable approximation to equality. . .
I understand that the position of Northern Ireland is a separate issue because
there, the numbers are fixed by Statute. I imagine they would be greater than any
of these, and for the very good reason that Northern Ireland has a Parliament
of its own.
The differences fall within the proposed limits of toleration, and they can be
justified as things are. They can be justified, for example, on the ground that
particular account should be taken of geographical factors. The constituencies of
the Highlands of Scotland and the Western Isles, and the constituencies in North
Wales, have some claim to special consideration in view of the sparseness of the
population and the size of the areas concerned. These are points that will always ,
have to be taken into account. But I must make it clear that whilst we have, and
quite properly I think, carried out the recommendation of the Speaker's Confer-
ence in respect of Scotland and Wales, it does not mean, and of course it cannot
mean, that the Government or the House are committed to the view that figures
of not less than 71 for Scotland, and not less than 35 for Wales, should stand
for all time. There may in the future be such changes in the distribution of popu-
lation that some alteration of those figures will in fairness be required. Unless
and until, however, such substantial changes take place and fresh legislation is
passed, these provisions which I have mentioned will operate. There cannot, of
course, be any commitment beyond that. It must be for future Parliaments and
future Governments to decide what is right at the time-and I wish them luck.
Steps to be Taken
As already stated, special arrangements are necessary for correcting existing
maldistribution. The Speaker's Conference recommended that the first step should
be to divide those constituencies which are abnormally large, that is to say those
in which the 1939 electorate was not less than, approximately, 190 per cent of
the quota, which quota amounts to approximately 53,110. That 190 per cent of
the quota produces a figure of 100,909. There are 19 such constituencies with
not less than 100,909 electors and there is one with an electorate of 100,834. All
these constituencies are in England. This scheme will involve a temporary increase
in the membership of the House, and the Conference recommended that the total
temporary increase should not exceed 25 Members. The division of the 20 con-
stituencies in accordance with the Conference formula will as it happens produce
this maximum of 25 additional seats. There are, however, six other constituencies
with over 95,000 electors, but as I have said taking the basis which I have indi-
cated and which the Conference indicated that produces 25 Members. Evidently
there was some intelligent work done somewhere, either in the Speaker's Con-
ference or the Home Office. I am prepared to give the credit to the Conference but
I think it was probably done in the Home Office.
As I have said, there are six other constituencies with over 95,000 electors.
Whether, on a legal interpretation, the word "approximately" covers electorates
which are two per cent or more below the standard is by no means clear. In any
case it would obviously be extremely difficult for the Boundary Commissioners to
formulate any principle on which they could properly decide that one of the con-
stituencies with an electorate of over 100,000 should, for the purposes of this
scheme of immediate redistribution, be displaced in favor of a constituency with
an electorate of under 100,000. To place on the Boundary Commissioners the
responsibility of discovering what. grounds, if any, there may be for preferring
one or more of the six smaller constituencies to one or more of the 20 larger
constituencies, seemed to the Government to be an inappropriate course, which
would place a burden on the Boundary Commissioners not suited or fair to them.
So we came to the conclusion that the best way of giving effect to the object
which the Speaker's Conference had in mind would be to limit the proposed
scheme of immediate redistribution to the constituencies with electorates of over
100,000. We had to draw a line somewhere. We so drew it, and have produced
nameable, specific constituencies. We thought it best to take that question away
from the Boundary Commissioners and that Parliament should settle it, and,
therefore, schedule in the Bill the 20 constituencies with electorates exceeding
100,000. The Boundary Commissioners could then go straight ahead with the
redistribution of these divisions. In this respect, the Bill departs from the pre-
cise recommendations of the Speaker's Conference, but I hope, with confidence,
British Speeches of the Day
that the House will recognize that the provisions of the Bill, on the whole and in
the light of the facts, provide the best method of giving effect to the object which,
undoubtedly, the Speaker's Conference wished to further. All these 20 con-
stituencies are in England, and therefore Clause 2 of the Bill, which provides for
the immediate division of these abnormally large constituencies, refers only to
the Boundary Commission for England.
I come now to the recommendations in regard to double-Member constitu-
encies. I think it would be fair to say that such constituencies have not com-
mended themselves for some time to Parliamentary opinion as a whole, but, some-
how or other, quite a number of them have survived over the years. The Speaker's
Conference proposed-reflecting this general body of Parliamentary opinion-that
constituencies at present returning two Members should be abolished, except where,
after local inquiry by the Boundary Commissioners, it is found, in any particular
case, that abolition is undesirable. It added a proviso that no county or borough
shall continue to return two Members if the electorate falls short of double the
quota by more than, approximately, 15 per cent. This would mean the automatic
abolition of double-Member constituencies below the limits of toleration as
recorded in the electoral registers of 1939. As regards the others, there is a pre-
sumption in the Speaker's Conference recommendations in favor of the abolition
of double-Member constituencies, unless there are good reasons why they should
be preserved. . Possibly one good reason would.be the physical difficulty of
making a division. I should think that would be the main consideration, but I
do not think it would be wise to fetter the judgment of the Boundary Commission.
The Boundary Commission should have a fair field in which to reach a judg-
ment, but I should have thought, as I have said, that the main consideration would
be some peculiar physical difficulty in dividing up an area. Discretion in excep-
tional cases, as I have mentioned, will remain with the Boundary Commission to
recommend the continuance of double-Member constituencies if, after local in-
quiries, there are grounds for making exceptions, and Rule 3 of the Third
Schedule, gives effect to the proposal which I have indicated to the House.
The City of London
That brings me to the ancient City of London. A resolution in favor of the
retention of two seats for the City of London was passed by a majority of 15 to
13 by the Speaker's Conference-a pretty close affair, as one can quite imagine
it would be. In considering the City of London, weight has to be given to other
considerations than the number of electors, that is to say, as regards the main-
tenance of a separate identifiable constituency for the City. It is always possible
to get excited about the Cityof London and my right hon. Friend the Member
for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) and I have had our share of it in
past days. But this is always to be remembered, that the City of London has a
great place in municipal history. It has a great place in Parliamentary history
also, and on the issue of the abolition of the City, as a separate identifiable Par-
liamentary constituency-I am not talking about one or two Members at this
point-the Government think it right that it should be preserved. I, as a good
Londoner and a student of the City's history-centuries ago the City of London
played a great part in the establishment of British constitutional usage-would
be sorry to see the separate Parliamentary representation of the City abolished
even though the figures make a strong case for consideration the other way. We
therefore lay it down that the City of London as a constituency shall be pre-
served. . It is felt that to merge the City-and I think I shall carry the House
generally with me--or any part of the City with adjoining constituencies, is not a
proposal likely to receive wide support. There is, however, room for argument
whether, having regard to the comparatively small number of electors, and, on
the other hand, to the historical and sentimental considerations, there should, or
should not be two Members representing the City of London. The facts are that
the 1939 Parliamentary electorate of the City of London was 38,022, as against
the quota for one Member of 53,110. . If the House should, in due course,
make changes in the franchise of the business voter, whereby the spouse will not
vote, then the City electorate will be smaller still. Obviously there will be a prima
facie case-I go no further-for consideration at the appropriate time whether
the City should return its present two Members, or one Member. It seems to us
that as regards the first ad hoc redistribution it would not be right to put the City
of London in this Schedule, because there are many other constituencies with
anomalous representations, some in the County of London and some elsewhere.
Some of them are on the big side, and some on the small side, and, in the interest
of smooth working and in order to avoid embarrassing all of us, my advice would
be that this point should be argued in relation to the general distribution, and not
in relation to the redistribution of the abnormally large constituencies.
We thought that the right course was to deal with the matter on the lines of
Rule 3 in the Third Schedule. This provides that the City of London, as con-
stituted at the passing of this Act, shall continue to be a separate constituency, but
also that the question whether the City shall return two Members or only a single
Member shall be settled by Parliament when the Bill for giving effect to the first
general scheme of redistribution has been debated. Of course, in the first general
distribution it will be dealt with by a Bill. We do not think it right to put the
burden of settling whether there shall be one or two seats on to the Boundary
Commission. It is not a matter like many of the ordinary double-Member con-
stituencies. It is a matter which ought to be settled by the Parliament and the
Government of the day, and, if this proposal is accepted by Parliament, the
Boundary Commission will have no function at all in relation to the City of Lon-
don. The question whether the City shall have one or two Members will, as I
have said, be left to Parliament to settle when the first general scheme of redistri-
bution is before them. We are not asking the House to prejudice that issue one
way or another at this stage, and I am certainly not in a position, although I have
my own views on the subject, to commit His Majesty's Government to a view
on whether the City should have one or two Members. I think I have now dealt
with all the provisions of the Bill; it is not a very difficult Bill.
[House of Commons Debates]
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
House of Lords, October 11, 1944
My Lords, the Motion to which the House has been addressing itself this
afternoon has, I think, turned out to be, if I may so express it, unexpectedly topical.
When the noble Lord, Lord Winster, tabled his Motion he was not, of course,
aware of the impending publication of the conclusions of the Dumbarton Oaks
Conference, with which the greater part of the debate has been concerned. His
British Speeches of the Day
intention, as I understand it, was to promote a general discussion on the problems
involved in setting up an international organization after the war, and to give an
opportunity to this House to express their views on a matter which, as the noble
Viscount, Lord Cecil of Chelwood, said, is absolutely vital to us all. I thought,
if I may say so, with all due deference, that the noble Lord, Lord Winster's own
speech painted perhaps an unduly dark picture of the future. I do not think I
ever heard such a jeremiad, and must confess I thought it was a little strange
to hear such scepticism as to the possibility of international co-operation from
the Socialist Benches; but perhaps the noble Lord was speaking rather for him-
self than for his Party as a whole.
But at any rate, whatever one may feel about the noble Lord's own personal
opinions, no one could possibly complain of the object which he had in view in
tabling his Motion, and indeed it has led, I think, to a most valuable and im-
portant debate. I would quite agree with what he said that the more we discuss
these difficult problems and the more we bring them before the minds of the British
people the more probable it is that a sane and sound public opinion will be built
up. And this is, moreover, I think, a subject which your Lordships' House is par-
ticularly fitted to discuss, for we are lucky enough to have among our members
some of the greatest living authorities on this subject. There is my noble relative
Lord Cecil, who took a main part in framing the Covenant of the League of -
Nations, and there is the noble Earl, Lord Perth, who as the noble Viscount, Lord
Samuel, said, was the Secretary-General of that institution throughout all its great-
est days, and I think himself played a very large part in its success. Those noble
Lords speak, as I say, with unrivalled experience on these extremely difficult ques-
tions, and both of them have made very valuable and helpful contributions to the
debate this afternoon. I thought it particularly satisfactory that both Lord Cecil
and Lord Perth, and also the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, who was speaking for
the Liberal Party and made such a penetrating speech-all those noble Lords, with
their long experience, expressed a very great measure of approval of the results
that have been achieved at Dumbarton Oaks.
Resemblances and Differences
That I believe to be a remarkable tribute to the wisdom and foresight of those
who framed the Covenant twenty-five years ago. It is a notable fact that these
new proposals should approximate so closely to those which were drawn up at
that time after the last war. After so many years of hard experience it has not
been found necessary to consider proceeding on any very different lines from those
which had already been laid down in the Covenant. That, at any rate, is the view
of the experts who assembled at the recent talks to devise new proposals for a
world organization after the present struggle. There are, of course, variations, I
might perhaps be bold to say improvements, on the original organization in several
important respects. I am not today proposing to go into any detail on those points
which were raised first by Lord Winster and later by other noble Lords who have
spoken this afternoon. The House will, I am quite sure, understand that the
moment would be premature for any unilateral declaration by any Government on
this subject. But I think I might be allowed to make a few general comments.
First, I would suggest that the peace system now envisaged in this document, which
has been published, is both more flexible and in some respects less legalistic than
the League on certain occasions proved to be. As I think the noble Viscount, Lord
Samuel, said this afternoon, this should facilitate the making of peaceful adjust-
ments in the light of changing conditions, and also-this is equally important-
it should render it possible for the new organization to tackle international prob-
lems before they degenerate into open disputes.
At this point, perhaps, I might say one word as to a point which was raised
by the noble Viscount, Lord Cecil of Chelwood. He asked what organs of the
proposed organization would deal with what he called "non-contentious" political
problems. He quoted a queer one, the question of Danzig, which in my experi-
ence at Geneva was the most contentious problem I ever came across. But I know
there are other non-contentious political problems. The answer to him is this. No
detailed plan has yet been specially devised to meet these cases. That might well
be a matter to'be discussed at the United Nations Conference when it comes along.
As I understand it there is nothing to prevent the General Assembly dealing with
them. It could set up ad hoc organs for dealing with any of these problems.
A Set of Teeth
Now I go on to the second point which we should note with regard to the
proposed organization-a point already made by my noble relative Lord Cecil. It
places the responsibility for international security foursquare on the shoulders of
the nations best able to bear it. As he said, that is the main essential for any
successful peace system, and I believe it should make for rapid and effective action
in preventing war. The third point which I would underline is that the proposals
allowed for the supply to the organization of a really serviceable set of teeth-a
thing that was not always available to the League as we knew it before the war.
The military provisions which have been extremely carefully worked out, are in-
tended to ensure that armed force can, if necessary, be brought to bear swiftly
and effectively either to maintain or to restore peace. This, as we all know from
very bitter experience, is absolutely essential if aggression is to be restrained.
Indeed, the forces of international law and order need to be so strong that aggres-
sors will know they are bound to be beaten if they ever embark on a policy of
violence. That is the only way by which aggression will be not merely defeated
but, what is more important, averted. I believe it is here, as has been said this
afternoon, that the new Air arm will be of immense importance. The noble Lord,
Lord Winster, was a little bit sceptical about these military proposals, but I am
sure that the House as a whole will agree, that whether they are perfect or not,
they represent a very real advance on anything we have known up to now.
Finally, I would refer your Lordships to the establishment of the Economic
and Social Council. I believe that this should make it possible for the new organ-
ization, if it is adopted by the nations who will ultimately have to discuss it, to
deal with vital social and economic questions even more effectively than the
League was able to do. As your Lordships know, the League had no such central
planning or co-ordinating organ in this particular sphere. Even so, its record of
work was far from negligible. It did very valuable work, but it had not this par-
ticular central organ. I was glad that the noble Lord, Lord Winster, felt that
he could support this particular provision. I would, however, remind him that
these social and economic provisions are utterly valueless without a good security
organization. He said in the course of his speech-or I understood him to say-
that the restraint of aggression was a negative policy or a negative function.
I do not agree that it is a negative function at all, whether by itself or in com-
bination with any other function. It seems to me that it is essential to have re-
straint from aggression in order to ensure the prosperity of the world. Whatever
may be done in the economic sphere, I believe that the security sphere will remain
the most important of all.
Clearing the Ground
The Dumbarton Oaks talks are, of course, as has already been said, only the
first step. The discussions as yet have not arisen above the official level and,
46 British Speeches of the Day
moreover, the conclusions only represent the views of the delegates of the four
nations represented-the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, and China.
The purpose of the talks, which were themselves the result of very careful prepa-
ratory work in all the capitals concerned, was merely to clear the ground for
further discussions at an inter-governmental level, including all the United Nations;
but I do think, and I am sure your Lordships will agree, that it is a matter of
warm congratulation that so much progress has already been registered. We may
well pay tribute to the patience and skill of the delegates who took part in con-
versations which have led to agreement on a great many questions which were of
an extremely complex, and might easily have been of very controversial, character.
There were, of course-some of them have been mentioned this afternoon-several
outstanding points on which it was impossible to reach agreement at the official
level. As the Prime Minister said in another place on September 28, it is hoped
that these outstanding issues will be the subject of further discussion between
Heads of Governments before the end of the year with a view to submitting agreed
proposals to a full conference of the United Nations. I say that particularly for
the benefit of my noble friend Lord Addison who asked a question on this particular
point in the war debate last week. That is clearly the right course, for I am sure
your Lordships will agree that, in deliberating on matters of such great importance
and delicacy, it is wise to proceed with very considerable discretion. I should have
thought there never was a case in which it was truer to say, "More haste, less speed."
Lord Winster urged that the public should not be kept in ignorance with
regard to these matters. As I said to your Lordships yesterday, I entirely agree.
It is essential in the view of His Majesty's Government that there should be the
fullest discussion of these proposals, both here in Parliament and at the proposed
Conference of the United Nations. I would certainly share the view expressed this
afternoon that machinery is not of the slightest use unless there is the will to use it.
The people of the world, if they are to support this proposed organization, must be
fully informed about it. Unless their support is gained, the organization will fail.
At the same time, it will be generally agreed that it was thoroughly sensible that the
representatives of the four Powers, on whom the main responsibility must fall for
ensuring international peace and security, should have met together and should have
produced an agreed working draft before entering into the wider discussions with
other nations. But there is no wish, as far as I know, in any quarter-certainly no'
wish on the part of His Majesty's Government, and I am certain the same is true of
other Governments-to present the people of this country or the peoples of our
Allies with anything in the nature of a fait accompli. Now that this draft has
been produced, we wish' to have it fully ventilated and fully discussed.
The British Commonwealth
In particular, this is a matter where the United Kingdom Government must
move hand in hand with the Dominion Governments. The general ideas involved
have already been the subject of full discussion at the meeting of the Dominion
Prime Ministers which took place this Spring, and we have kept in close and
constant touch with the Dominions since that time. Already, as probably some of
your Lordships will have read in the newspapers this morning, Mr. Mackenzie
King, in an extremely important statement, has warmly welcomed the wide meas-
ure of agreement reached and has promised that these proposals will receive serious
and earnest study by the Canadian Government. I am quite certain that that will
also be the attitude of the other Dominion Governments. The more closely we
can work with them in this-as indeed in all other matters-the better for the
world, for I am quite certain that it is on the close collaboration between the
nations of the British Commonwealth, within the framework of a world order,
that the fate of the proposed organization will largely depend.
International Co-operation and Civil Aviation 47
This moulding of a new instrument for the preservation of peace and security
is a great task. It is probably the greatest task that any of us shall ever have to
face. Moreover, as Lord Cecil said this afternoon, it is in accordance with the
general wish of mankind. The raw material of the instrument in fact already
exists. It is at this very moment being tempered and strengthened in the furnace
of war. It is for us and other peace-loving nations to see that we fashion it so
Swell and use it so wisely that we preserve for our children those enduring bless-
ings which we ourselves have never known. [ o L
[House of Lords Debates]
Lord Privy Seal
House of Lords, October 12, 1944
My Lords, I can speak again only with your permission, but I am sure you
will be satisfied if I speak very briefly. My noble friend who raised this subject
need make no apologies. Indeed he ought to rejoice at his achievements. Most of
the questions raised by him I answered when I made the statement of Government
policy, but there is one thing with which I did not deal and that is the chosen
instrument. The chosen instrument is the policy of Parliament. It was decided
by both Houses. The conferring of a monopoly of subsidies on British Overseas
Airways Corporation was done in 1939 in the life of this Parliament. The Bill
was passed by the same Members who now sit in the House of Commons and, I
am pleased to say, by the same noble Lords who now carry on debates on aviation.
Only Parliament can knock that measure down again. If there is strong feeling
that the British Overseas Airways Corporation should cease to enjoy those func-
tions, Parliament must show its disposition and work its will. It is incredible
that the chosen instrument could be dealt with lightly, when we recall that every
Conservative member of the House of Commons in 1939 voted for the chosen
instrument and every Socialist, I think, or most of them, voted against it. The
position is now reversed: every Socialist, I understand, wishes to sustain the British
Overseas Airways Corporation as the chose instrument and many at any rate of
the Tories are against it. It has been a wonderful conversion-a double-barrelled
conversion. There has been nothing like it since the noble Lord, Lord Keynes,
was converted to the gold standard.
Chicago and Ottawa Conferences
I am asked whether the noble Lord, Lord Swinton, will go to Chicago. Yes,
I think Viscount Swinton* will go to Chicago if he returns to London in time.
He has many and heavy duties to perform in West Africa. I am not sure that he
will get back in time but no doubt, if he returns in time, he will want to go to
the conference. I am asked what is our policy at the conference? Our policy is
fixed. It was fixed some time ago. . We propose that international regulation
should be imposed on civil aviation controlled by an international authority. That
authority would lay down technical standards and would regulate air transport
on such matters as frequencies and rates of carriage. We seek to eliminate un-
economic competition. By "uneconomic competition," we mean wasteful and im-
Lord Swinton has just resigned the post of Minister Resident in West Africa to take
up that of Minister of Civil Aviation.
British Speeches of the Day
provident subsidy races. We agreed with the principle of international regulation
of subsidies and we look forward to the day when subsidies will be paid no longer.
For this reason it is necessary to have a conference on regulations and arrange-
ments. . .
Now as to the chosen instrument. I am not sure that my noble friend Lord
Rennell has himself made up his mind on the subject of the chosen instrument.
I think that, perhaps, he is doubtful about how the chosen instrument should be
disposed of. I always give great attention to anything which he says, and though
I will not be sure of this, I have heard that he has expressed some doubt about
the possibility of dispensing with the chosen instrument and has intimated that
he had in mind other methods of dealing with the situation. There are many
like him, and until people, including noble Lords who are Members of this House,
do make up their minds there can be very little expectation of dealing with the
chosen instrument-if there is any suggestion that the statutory position of the
B.O.A.C. should be changed.
Next I come to the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon. His speech, as usual, held
the attention of the House, and we were all made butts for a little bit of his fun-
which is as it should be. I would like, if I may, to add a little to what he said
concerning the record of Lord Swinton at the Air Ministry. Not only did Lord
Swinton lay down the policy of shadow factories with great daring and, no doubt,
with immense difficulty. . He did more than that. He laid down the bomber
program. The bomber program was his work as Minister. He put through the
Halifax, the Stirling and the Manchester (which is now known as the Lancaster).
Never can we forget the advantages and the benefits which Lord Swinton con-
ferred on us at a time when people were not prepared to make extensive prepara-
tions under threats of war.
With regard to the conferences referred to by Lord Brabazon, the Ottawa Con-
ference is an official conference only, and Ministers do not attend such conferences.
The conference at Chicago will be an international conference and no doubt Lord
Swinton will go there. The Commonwealth Conference on the official level is for
the purpose of discussing Empire routes and landing places, types of aircraft re-
quired, military routes across the Pacific, the sectionalization of through services
and technical standards. That is roughly the basis of the official discussions in
Transports Had to be Sacrificed
One more point which was raised by Lord Brabazon I wish to deal with very
briefly. No criticism whatsoever can be directed against the British Government
for having failed to provide transport aircraft, and I call Lord Brabazon to witness
the truth, honesty and justice of that statement. In 1940 and 1941 when I was
Aircraft Minister, and in 1941 and 1942 when Lord Brabazon himself was in
office, we had to do everything we possibly could to get fighters and bombers
which were urgently required for the defense of Great Britain. Raw materials
were difficult, machine tools were terrible, jigs were impossible. Every kind of
difficulty confronted us, and if anyone had approached Lord Brabazon or myself
and had said: "You must now produce some transport aircraft" he would have
been met with an absolute refusal by either one of us. It is to the glory of the
country that we did not deal with transport aircraft at that period. It was a mag-
nificent decision on the part of the Government. We were doing all that could
be done to put every fighter and bomber that could possibly be built at the dis-
posal of the R.A.F. There was not anything which we did not throw over, there
was no trouble that we did not encounter, no sacrifice that we did not make to
get fighter and bomber aircraft for the defense of Britain.
International Co-operation and Civil Aviation
Mention has been made of design staff. Design staff was kept occupied to the
fullest extent on the problems that confronted us. If we had had any design staff
to spare we could have modified more American aircraft, for we were getting
a flow of such aircraft which were no use to us for any operational purpose at that
time. They had to be modified. Where could we have got design staff at that
time for transport aircraft? What would have been the use of talking to a man
concerned with the provision of such staff about transferring some to work on
The New Minister
Npw I come to the noble and gallant Admiral, Lord Chatfield. He has spoken
about B.O.A.C. and the subsidy. The B.O.A.C. is a monopoly of subsidy only.
That statement seems to arouse some antagonism in some quarters from time to
time. I do not think I can put it in any other way, I do not think I can express
myself in any other language and adequately represent the position. I was de-
lighted to hear the noble and gallant Lord talk about free enterprise. It is a much
finer phrase than private enterprise. I hope that the phrase will commend itself
to many speakers in this House and elsewhere. With regard to the noble Lord's
question as to Lord Swinton's position, as I have said before, Lord Swinton will
not be like the Admiralty controlling the Mercantile Marine. Lord Swinton will
be in the position, as it were, of the Minister of Transport controlling civil
aviation. . .
My noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh spoke about the railway plan. I
agree that it is a splendid plan and, as he described it, a glimpse into the future
S. and I was delighted to hear him, on behalf of the railways, taking such an
intense and penetrating interest in civil aviation. I hope that the railways will
develop their interest in it.
I come now to the speech of my noble friend Lord Rothermere, which, if I
may say so, was a very fine Parliamentary performance. He derived satisfaction
from the Government's decision, and he has long been in the forefront of the
struggle to make the people civil aviation conscious. I am convinced that the Gov-
ernment could not be taking these decisions today if the British people were not
becoming conscious of the benefits and advantages of civil air transport. The
Imperial Conference, to which Lord Rothermere referred, accomplished a great
deal; it was at that Conference that the Balfour Subcommittee Report was accepted,
and the Balfour Subcommittee Report will be the basis of the representations which
Britain will make at the conference in Chicago. [House o Lords Debates]
[House of Lords Debates]
RT. HON. HAROLD BALFOUR
Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Air
House of Commons, October 20, 1944
I would put the point of view of the Government in a sentence. We want
to abandon subsidies so soon as is practicable, and, provided that that process can
be carried out by an international agreement, in such a way that this country does
not suffer a disadvantage. We all remember the lessons, which we have had to
learn bitterly, of unilateral disarmament in order to set.an example to the world.
British Speeches of the Day
Let us not fall into the same error when we seek to consider the possibility of
unilateral abolition of subsidies. Let us lead with other nations towards an agree-
ment that subsidies shall be abolished. When we come to subsidies-I do not want
to go into this subject in any detail-they are hard to define. A subsidy may be
a cash payment. It can be provided by selling aircraft at a price lower than is
economically justified. It can be introduced by an absurdly high mail contract or
by an enterprise which runs a prosperous internal line loading its overheads from
a less prosperous external line on to the internal line.
A Three-Legged Stool
Broadly speaking, we have taken the view in the White Paper* that control
of subsidies depends, as it were, on a three-legged stool. The first leg is control
of frequencies. The second leg is control of rates: that is to say you will have
to try to get some measure of rates in relation to speed, not the high rate you
pay but the low rate you pay. There must be agreement whereby people will not
be able to fly at more than X miles an hour for less than a particular sum. Other-
wise you may enter into a world speed race which, in aviation, may be as costly
as any other international race. Third comes the control of subsidies. We want
control of subsidies. We have said so in the White Paper. If we fail because
countries adopt subterfuges or methods of hidden subsidies, I believe that the
three-legged stool can stand on two legs, control of frequencies and control of
rates. That is why we have put forward three proposals, but it is on the first two,
which I have just enunciated, that we lay importance.
Then, as regards the freedom of the air and the rights of national sovereignty
over the air, we maintain that a nation shall have sovereign rights of the air over
its own territory, and I believe that to put forward any other concept at the Chicago
Conference would be very much like a lone voice crying in the wilderness. The
hon. Gentleman said-these were his words-"We must not allow the 53 nations
at Chicago to perpetuate this doctrine." I would ask him how this country is going
to go forward and forbid 52 other nations to adopt a conception which most
nations in the world, including many great Powers, have shown no signs yet of
being able to abandon. . .
We can allow the doctrine of sovereignty of the air to continue with no menace
to the rest of the world, provided that it is by a world-regulated free system. We
say we want the maximum degree of freedom in the air, and in this White Paper
we have laid down the four freedoms: first, the right of innocent passage; second,
the right to land for non-traffic purposes; third, the right to drop passengers
originating in the country of origin of the aircraft; and fourth, the right to pick up
passengers in another country destined for the place of origin of the aircraft. We
want to see the whole world accept these four freedoms, but we are not prepared
to concede those freedoms except as part of an international regulatory system.
Those who have the interests of this country and the British Empire at heart-and
although it is a little out of fashion in these days to talk about the interests of the
British Empire, I think the more we do so the better. I am not the slightest bit
ashamed of saying that at Chicago we want to see that the interests of the British
Empire are adequately looked after. At Chicago we can do two things. We can
look after the interests of the British Empire, and we can forward the doctrine of
freedom of the air, provided that we are insistent that we should only concede
those four freedoms laid down in the White Paper in return for subscription to an
Cmd. 6561, available on request front) British Information Services, New York.
Unemployment Insurance in the Transition Period
international authority which will administer the new international regulatory con-
The Conference at Montreal on October 24 is to discuss operational and tech-
nical problems connected with the establishment of air routes between the Com-
monwealth countries .... The whole agenda and the purposes of the Conference,
which were declared in this House by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State,
show that it is of a limited scope and on an official level. That is the agreement
come to by this country and the various countries of the Empire. Of course, Lord
Swinton will be able to confer with whoever he likes. I do not know whom he
"will confer with. But my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Isle of
Wight (Captain Macdonald) was quite right when he suggested that Lord Swinton
was up to date on these matters. We have taken special steps since his appointment
to send all the papers, including reports of the deliberations in this House and in
another place, to him so that he will be right up to date when he arrives in this
country; and he will then have some days in hand, to consult those people whom
he may wish to consult.
The Noble Lord the Member for South Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke)
asked about equitable distribution. He asked-and I think there is some slight
confusion in his mind-was there going to be a quota of aircraft? There is no
conception of limitation of aircraft. What we want is some measure of agreed
control of frequencies. The determination of frequencies will be based on a for-
mula which has to be agreed, but we would like to see it based on a formula which
will take traffic, actual and potential, into account but is not based on the supply
of available aircraft.
of available aircraft. [House of Commons Debates]
RT. HON. ERNEST BEVIN
Minister of Labour and National Service
House of Commons, October 11, 1944
This Bill* is a very short Bill which, I hope, will receive the unanimous ap-
proval of the House. The Government take the view that it is necessary to introduce
this Bill in order to meet the conditions which may soon arise, and will inevitably
continue, in the period of transition from war to peace. Whatever plans we make,
and however effective our organization may be, there is bound to be a gap, in
many cases, between the displacement, of people from munitions, and their resettle-
ment in what will be their normal employment. The view we take, however, is
that this will cause no more than small areas of unemployment of a temporary
character. For example, many works will have to be re-tooled for peacetime pro-
duction, and that will vary according to the trades with which we have to deal.
In this country we have been in the position of having to use the whole of our
facilities for war work. We are not quite in the happy position of some countries *
where they have been able to keep large factories on a care and maintenance basis
and build entirely new factories. It means, therefore, that practically the whole
The Unemployment Insurance (Increase of Benefit) Bill.
British Speeches of the Day
of our industry-particularly engineering and similar plants-will have to be re-
tooled and developed. Another difficulty is that in some of our staple trades, where
virtually whole towns have been based on a main industry, the machinery of pro-
duction has been taken out. While it continued running it was useful, but it may
have run for a very long time-I know of cases where plant was built as far back
as the 'seventies and has gone on producing-and now, when we come to put it
back into the factories, it will be useless because the spare parts, and so on, have
not been made continuously and will not be made in the future. Therefore, we
shall have to put into these industries modern machinery and the latest appliances,
which will be to the advantage of the country but will delay the transition, to some
extent, from war to peace, although we are, and have been. considering the neces-
sary priorities for this machinery to be developed. For war purposes whole works
have been cleared under concentration schemes, of both plant and machinery, and
we have used them solely for storage. All this has to be replaced.
As the Minister responsible for manpower, one of my greatest tasks will be to
find the necessary, efficient maintenance staffs to get these factories in working
order quickly. For the purposes of the war we have had to concentrate so much
on the training of dilutees and semiskilled workers that the country is short of
people like millwrights and others who are absolutely essential for re-equipping
these works now that the necessity is arising. It is a matter of great anxiety to
find the necessary staff for maintenance work, to enable these factories to run
efficiently. Machinery has become obsolete and worn out, in some trades we have
not been able to make spare parts, and old machinery has been broken up so that
its parts could be used to keep other machinery going. We have, of course, to try
to make that good.
War Mobilization Sacrifices
In connection with resettlement, I would ask the House, trade unions and em-
ployers to be tolerant. Before we go into the question of specialists on production
we have to consider what is necessary to get factories re-tooled and plant and
machinery replaced effectively. Labor displaced from munitions factories will, so
far as is humanly possible, be used for urgent work, but in the interests of our
national economy it is essential that we should re-establish our permanent industries
as speedily as we can. An important trade union asked me the other day to ensure
that dilutees go first when any munitions factories were closed. Personally, I think
that is wrong in connection with the munitions industry. I think dilutees should be
kept to the last and that we should use our skilled men in order to get our per-
manent industries restarted. Their approach, I think, was the wrong one on this
matter. I should have thought that in the interests of the men themselves, per-
manency of employment was a greater consideration than the loss of a temporary
position in an industry which we know will peter out within a reasonable time.
I ask the House to appreciate that in facing this gap the question cannot be
separated from the intense mobilization which has taken place. We have mobilized
nearly 25,000,000 out of 36,000,000 people in this country-a fact which some
other countries do not appreciate. We have sacrificed post-war considerations for
the war effort. The words which a colleague of mine in the Cabinet used some
time ago, were "Our sacrifices have been unlimited." I should have liked a long
time ago to have begun training certain types of craftsmen for peacetime needs.
But for war purposes, and particularly for our great D-Day adventure, I had to
sacrifice my ideas of that sort and owing to that sacrifice we shall be considerably
handicapped in the period of resettlement. We have paid the price, but I think
victory is worth it. We must try to make that good in-the best way we can.
Unemployment Insurance in the Transition Period
Liability to Longer Unemployment
Therefore, while we have to face the gap between resettlement and replace-
ment we propose to increase the rates of benefit payable under the Unemployment
Insurance Act. I would like to see claims to benefit reduced to the lowest possible
point, and it is, therefore, our intention, assuming we cannot put certain types of
workers back into their own trades until re-tooling and the change-over has taken
place, to ask them to undertake other work of a reconstructional character, and
not merely to go on unemployment benefit. In our devastated areas and coastal
towns, which have been referred to in the Bill we have just been discussing, it is
obvious that craftsmen in one trade must undertake work in other trades while
transfer is taking place so that the problem of reconstruction as a whole can be
tackled. Notwithstanding that, however efficient the organization may be, there
is bound to be a longer gap than there is in the transfer of labor at the present
time between the cut in the munitions program and putting the workers in other
industries, wherever they have to be placed.
The Ministry of Labour's difficulty can be summarized in this form. In war,
and for war purposes, we have only one customer-the State. Everything is decided
on the basis that the State itself is the one customer to satisfy. When you come
to reconstruction there are various demands to be met, such as export trade, and
increased civilian production to satisfy the legitimate demands of the public. While
the British people will submit to anything for war purposes there will come a
time when they will say, "We have paid our price and we are entitled to a little
let-up now." When that time comes we must, if we are to maintain the morale
of our people, be in a position to supply their legitimate needs. All that involves
meticulous consideration as to how and in what way we can re-distribute skilled
workers in order to satisfy the demands which will be made upon us. This cannot
be done with the same speed and accuracy as it can be done when meeting demands
for war purposes. I assume that in some trades where I have been able to transfer
people in seven days it will take probably three weeks to re-transfer. In other
cases it may take a month, and in some cases two months. The Government, there-
fore, felt that the liability to longer unemployment should be met, and we have
done it by increasing the unemployment benefit under the Unemployment Insurance
Act. I would emphasize that at this stage we are dealing only with increased benefit
under the insurance scheme. If those payments do not meet the situation entirely
then there will have to be supplementation grants, for which the House has already
We propose that benefits shall be increased in the case of men, single women,
widows, married women who are supporting invalid husbands, or who are living
apart from their husbands and can obtain no financial support from them, by four
shillings a week. The increase for other married women will be 2s. a week; for
young men and young women 3s., for boys and girls of 17, 3s. and for boys and
girls of 16, Is. a week. In the case of dependents we propose to increase adult
benefit by 6s. a week with a further Is. a week for each of the first two children
and Is. for each additional child. That is under the main scheme. There is of
course the agricultural scheme, and, there the benefit for men will be increased
by 4s. a week, for women, young men and young women by 3s. a week, for boys
and girls aged 17, 3s. a week and for boys and girls aged 16, Is. a week. In the
case of dependents the benefits will be: adults, 5s. a week; each of the first two
children Is. a week; each additional child Is. a week. Under the agricultural scheme
a maximum rate of benefit is imposed. I do not know whether it was imposed
because knowledge of birth control had probably not reached the agricultural areas,
but, at any rate, a maximum was imposed. Therefore, automatically, this agricul-
tural maximum will be increased by 13s.
54 British Speeches of the Day
No Increase in Contribution
May I now turn to the cost of making these increases? In 1940 contributions
and benefits were raised. Under the main scheme the increase for men and women,
and young men and young women, was Id. for each party-employer, worker and
the Exchequer. Under the agricultural scheme the increase for each party was 1/2d.
The rates of benefit were increased at the same time. We raised the main scheme
from 17s. to 1 and on this occasion we make it, for the adults, 24s. When that
Bill was introduced, the calculations of the contributions and benefits were based
under the usual statutory arrangements that had existed pre-war, on an average of
15 per cent unemployment, the normal peacetime conditions. I knew, when I
introduced the Bill, that we were not likely to get 15 per cent unemployment
during the war, but I came to the conclusion that, if I increased the contribution
during the war, no one was likely' to miss it, and now it is extremely useful. It is
a very effective method of saving. The State has the benefit of the money. The
conditions of employment during the war have resulted in a steady increase of the
Unemployment Fund, and it now stands at about 290,000,000. I am sure if
Philip Snowden could come back to this Bench, his mouth would water. (An Hon.
Member: "The Fund might be raided.") No, I think it is fairly well tied up.
It is not necessary at the moment to raise contributions, nor is it necessary to
make inroads into the fund, provides that unemployment does not rise above an
average of eight per cent. Notwithstanding what I have said about the difficulties
of transition, with the co-operation that is going on with the Board of Trade and
the Production Departments in endeavoring to synchronize the release and demand
for labor, I do not believe it will rise above eight per cent on the average over a
year even in the transition period. Therefore there are tyvo grounds upon which
we take the view that there is no need to increase the contribution. The income
from contributions will cover the additional cost if unemployment is maintained
within that limit. But there is an additional reason which limits the possible raising
of unemployment to any such figure. I believe the House and the country are
conscious that long before you reach the demoralizing stage of benefits running
out, you must train people for work which is available. In the recommendations
which will be before the House later that will have to be dealt with more fully,
but it is proposed, even in the transition period, to carry on the wartime training
arrangements for industries that it is necessary to develop. It is no use at this stage
of the war going on training dilutees for engineering if that is going to contract.
I have taken the precaution recently of slowing down in that field and have given
instructions to re-adapt training for the purpose of what will be needed in the
light of advice from the Board of Trade and the new industries which we know
are going to develop.
Only an Interim Measure
The Bill must not, and I hope will not, be taken as an installment of the
Government's proposals for general social insurance. We have tried to deal with
the situation as we see it, and it must be taken in the light of an interim Measure
to deal with demobilization of industry and the Services and all the rest. We have,
however, not exceeded what is proposed in the White Paper. We have not at-
tempted to raise a single issue which will be the subject to controversy. For in-
stance, we have not raised the question of equal rates for agriculture and equal
rates for women. That is dealt with in the White Paper, and I have no doubt that
Members will have their views to express on that point. I came to the conclusion
that I had better avoid prejudicing hon. Members' views in their discussion of
the general White Paper proposals. That caused a little difficulty because, if I
followed the rule strictly and worked on a basis of not less than 20 per cent in-
crease, I think it would be at least a 36 per cent increase of pre-war rates of benefit.
Unemployment Insurance in the Transition Period 55
But there was one case in which I could not apply this rule without, impinging
upon the White Paper proposals, and that is the case of the married woman who
is not a dependent, but living with her husband and maintained by him. In this
case I have limited the advance to 1 a week whereas if I bad followed the 20 per
cent rule it would have been 22s.; but I have safeguarded the woman not dependent
upon her husband so that she gets 24s., the full 20 per cent increase.
We have also had to consider what happened at the end of the last war. There
was a very limited form of insurance covering a very small number of trades. I do
not like to call them the aristocracy of labor but rather the favored section. My
section was not allowed in the sacred circle until 1920, but certain types of trades
were brought within it. Today 86 per cent of the employed civilian population
is covered by Unemployment Insurance and the Government takes the view that
we ought to use the Unemployment Insurance scheme to meet the conditions which
will arise in the period of transition. If the circumstances of any member of the
community are such that it can be held that Unemployment Insurance is inadequate,
we have to fall back on supplements under other Acts which have been carried in
the meantime. They have been more or less satisfactorily amended during the war
and, though I represent a working-class constituency, I seldom get a letter about
Ex-Service Men and Women
There is one charge, however, that falls upon the Exchequer, and that is for
the increased benefit which will have to be paid to ex-Service men and women and
others for whom similar arrangements have been made. They have been kept in
benefit while they have been in the war and any benefit they draw will have to
be met by the Exchequer. But there is this difference between now and the end
of the last war-we are paying ex-Service men during eight weeks' furlough
to enable them to settle down in their jobs. We regard that as minimizing any
possible claim upon the Unemployment Fund because, if we cannot get most ex-
Service men resettled in a job in that period, we shall have failed in our machinery.
... A man can get a job the next day following his release and still draw pay for
eight weeks' furlough, but, if there is a difficulty about reinstatement or a difficulty
in finding employment, we take the view that we ought to do it in that period.
There are, of course, certain circumstances in which that period is extended for ,
overseas service. Taking it by and large, we think we ought to be able to deal
with the ex-Service man's position without a substantial additional claim upon the
I cannot enter into the Command Paper discussion now. I am only using it as
an illustration. The men will virtually be soldiers in the sense that they will be
on the reserve for the pure convenience of receiving their pay and allowances. I
think every Member understands what that means. It is only to get over a little
difficulty and in order that they may receive Service pay that we regard them as
soldiers. But they will be free to get a job, and if they get a job the next day this
money will be "bunce." I am using a vulgarism, but that is really what it means.
If the worst comes to the worst, we at the Ministry of Labour think that our
machinery ought to be such that we could get the overwhelming majority of these
people back into employment during this eight weeks' period, and in consequence
the claim on the Exchequer will not be heavy.
The last point I want to make is about the date of operation. I would ask the
House to allow the Minister of Labour to fix that date. I have no intention of
delaying it, but at the moment I cannot fix a date as there are several things to be
considered in conjunction with it, such as the requirements of personnel for the
British Speeches of the Day
second stage of the war, and when cuts are likely to take effect, all of which have
to be worked out. I want to synchronize the date with other events, but it is
essential that the power to increase these benefits be given now. I ask the House
for a unanimous endorsement of the Bill.e o C
[House of Commons Debates)
RT. HON. HUGH DALTON
President of the Board of Trade
House of Commons, October 17, 1944
I have listened to practically every speech in what I think has been a very
interesting Debate. The hon. Lady the Member for the Isle of Anglesey (Miss
Lloyd George), who opened it, deserves our thanks for the way in which she made
her speech, for its clearness and eloquence, and for the way she brought into the
forefront matters which concern us all. I say, "us all" because the hon. Lady de-
clared that, in order to understand Wales, one must be born again. I hope she
will make a little qualification for me because I was born in Wales and my mother,
though not my father, was Welsh. For that reason I have an emotional interest
in the Debate and in the welfare of Wales and I share the determination voiced
by my hon. Friend that the inter-war tragedy must not be repeated and that it is
the duty of all of us to play our part in making such a repetition quite impossible.
Importance of Balance in Industry
I will touch, in succession, on a number of points which have been raised
and I would begin with a remark by my hon. Friend [Mr. James Griffiths], who
has just spoken, which goes very near to the heart of the present position and
illustrates the hopeful side of the existing situation. He said, very truly, that there
had been a crazy economic structure in Wales, that the people had been dependent
on three or four principal industries which, themselves, in turn, had been excessively
dependent on export markets; that there was a complete unbalance in Welsh
economy, particularly in South Wales. He pointed out that since the war as the
result of construction of the Royal Ordnance and other Government factories and
of the introduction of new industries of various kinds, a considerable step had
been taken towards a diversification of the industrial structure and he appealed
to me to say what the Government would do to maintain and extend this diversifica-
tion in peacetime. I think this is a very hopeful and accurate line of approach to
Let me break up the thing under several heads. First, there are seven munitions
factories, six in South Wales and one in the North. They have made a very great
contribution to the victory of our Forces. Welsh labor has played its full part,
both male and female. The many women trained for the task have done wonderful
work. A previous speaker has quoted my Noble Friend the Minister of Reconstruc-
tion, as having said that the Government are determined that these factories will
either continue to afford employment in making munitions in peacetime or shall
be turned over to peacetime production. That is the attitude of the Government.
It is our determination that these factories shall continue to be effectively used.
The hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) asked if I would state on behalf
of the Government what the Government would do, if we did not find suitable
applicants who would take these factories as tenants and use them for peacetime
production. If I find that we do not get suitable applicants, who will make a
Post-war Planning in Wales
proper contribution towards the establishment of a balanced distribution of in-
dustry, I will certainly go to my colleagues in the Government and acquaint them
with the situation and we shall have to consider the matter afresh in the light of
that situation. But I do not think that that is going to arise.
We have already had a large number of approaches, some good, some, perhaps,
less good, from people who are very anxious to use the factories. I have every
hope that we shall find it possible to make a smooth and effective switch-over from
war to peace production. But if my hope is disappointed in the sense that my
hon. Friend indicates, it will be my duty to take the matter to my colleagues and
to take counsel with them as to what shall be done to carry out the pledge of the
Minister of Reconstruction that these factories, if not continuing to be used for
war purposes, may be effectively used for peace production and that this element
in a balanced industrial life of Wales shall not be lost.
Let me turn from Government factories to the other new factories, which
either have been built, or are now being built. My hon. Friend mentioned five
new factories which were being built and he quoted some figures of floor space
-he said there were 250,000 square feet of space in five factories in the course
of construction. These are good, new, modern factories and I have no doubt that
they will be eagerly sought after. Good modern factories are not easy to come by
in these days, particularly in Wales. These five factories, concerning which, nat-
urally enough, knowledge has spread in the areas where they are being erected,
are only a small part of the total amount of new factory space, in addition to the
Royal Ordnance factories, which has been put up or is in course of being put up.
Indeed the figure is already over a million square feet of new factory space in
addition to the Royal Ordnance factories.
Plans for the Future
This is not the end, because plans are being started-my hon. Friend will
recognize the wisdom of my discretion in not naming places and projects-and
are well advanced in many cases, for further new, modern, up-to-date factory
building for a variety of purposes. When people ask me if I have a plan, I say,
Not only have we a plan but we have implemented it. It is to have more factory
space in South Wales, to diversify the industry of South Wales, to substitute the
old and poor opportunities for employment outside the basic industries with op-
portunities for employment in a very wide range of new industries suitable for
male and female labor and for many different kinds of skill. The plan is being
operated in spite of all the difficulties which the war situation imposes upon us,
notably the limitations on the use of building labor and of many materials.
I pass from this to future building. The building license is a temporary ex-
pedient, but it will be a most effective expedient during the time when it operates
and, in view of the prospective shortage of building labor and materials, it will
certainly operate for some considerable time after the end of the European war.
It will not be suddenly brought to an end. As long as this system of building
licenses exists it will be possible to exercise a very great influence upon the location
of industry in favor of those areas which most need new factories. Therefore, I
beg my hon. Friends not to underestimate the power of these inducements which
we have and shall continue to have in our hands during the next few years.
May I say a word about Trading Estates. Treforest was the forerunner. It
succeeded within its local limitations. I have it in mind that we shall multiply
trading estates to a considerable extent. Already various projects are on foot, in
one place and another, for building trading estates. These will provide special
opportunities for the small light industries which are so much needed in order
to diversify Welsh employment.
British Speeches of the Day
The Tinplate Industry
Several of my hon. Friends have referred to the tinplate industry and have
asked me for information as to what has been going on, as to the negotiations
which have been proceeding, and as to where they have got. I am anxious to
answer with the greatest frankness. The Welsh tinplate industry is out of date
from the material and mechanical point of view. It is, I think, common ground,
and all parties and all sections agree, that if the Welsh tinplate industry is to make
its effective contribution to employment in South Wales-and it is one of their
basic industries, referred to in the White Paper as one of those which are in the
first line of those which the Government will help-and if it is to make its con-
tribution to other industries which are dependent on its products, and its proper
contribution to the export trade, there must be new modem plants-new hot
strip mills and new cold reduction plants. . .
I have been endeavoring for months to get a simple statement from the tin-
plate manufacturers, or, failing them, from the Iron and Steel Federation, as to
where they propose to erect these new plants. I have asked this question many
times. I have asked it orally and I have asked it in writing. I have brought the
correspondence here in case I should be challenged. I have had communications
with Colonel Bevan and Mr. Macdiarmid on this subject. I have made it abund-
antly clear that I am not prepared to give consideration to a proposal regarding
redundancy, which involves making certain payments tax-free and which to that
extent involves public assistance in the form of exemptions from Income Tax at
10s. in the and from Excess Profits Tax at 100 per cent above standard. I am
Much less interested, and I believe the people of Wales are much less interested,
in arrangements to pay people not to produce than in arrangements to enable pro-
duction to be modernized and carried on for the. public benefit.
I will give consideration to the proposals for redundancy when I am satisfied
that the new plants are going to be on sites which are in accord with the public
interest. We are talking about the location of industry. I will be no party to the
dislocation of the Welsh tinplate industry, and I desire to be satisfied, as Presidefit
of the Board of Trade, that these plants are to be put up in suitable situations.
. The experts, of course, must carry forward their studies and decide which sites are
best suited within the broad Welsh field, but we are entitled to know, the Presi-
dent of the Board of Trade is entitled to know, and Members of Parliament who
take an interest in these matters are entitled to know, where these plants are to go.
The Essendon Report has been quoted. That Report was submitted to my
predecessor in 1941, and it concluded by saying that it was of the greatest im-
portance that the industry should forthwith-that is, in 1941-consider plans for
modernization. As soon as the tinplate manufacturers answer my simple question,
"Where are the new plants to go?" I undertake to give the most careful con-
sideration to the request they have made with regard to the redundancy
Until the sites are definitely settled there will continue to be the apprehension,
which was voiced by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove),
that some of these sites may be in places far removed from South Wales. I have
seen references in the Press in the last week or two which have been very disturb-
ing from this point of view. There was a reference in the financial columns of
the "News Chronicle," in which the editor said that already there were proposals
for setting up one of these plants on the banks of the Humber. Many high au-
thorities, he said, considered that somewhere on the banks of the Humber would
be more suitable than in South Wales. We must remember what happened before
the Ebbw Vale plant was set up. There was an agitation to establish the plant at
Redbourne, in Lincolnshire, and it was only the intervention of a number of peo-
Post-war Planning in Wales
ple, including the Welsh Members, which led to the Ebbw Vale plant being
established at Ebbw Vale and not at Redbourne. We remember these things, and
I say, "Tell us the sites, then the other things shall be duly considered." I think
that my hon. Friends are in agreement with that attitude.
One word about North Wales. I know North Wales, and I love it. It is a
beautiful country inhabited by fine people, and I am anxious to do all I can to
assist North Wales also.
I ask Members not to press me to put North Wales on the same high level of
priority for new industrial development as that which is appropriate for South
Wales, having regard to the much greater population in South Wales, the much
less balanced character of its economy and the greater mass of unemployment in
the aggregate which it suffered in the period between the wars. I do not think
the North Wales case, strong though it may be represented as being, is so strong
as the South Wales case. None the less, I am anxious to remove the apprehensions
which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Carnarvon (Sir G. Owen)
voiced today regarding the attitude of the Government, and of myself as President
of the Board of Trade, towards new industrial establishments now operating in
North Wales. I have no wish to disrupt or drive away or remove any new industry
which has come into North Wales during the war. If any hon. Member represent-
ing a North Wales constituency has any real evidence that things are being made
difficult-and, if this be true, it can only be through some misunderstanding,
and I do not believe it is true-I will go into it and set matters right. Where a
new industry has come into North Wales during the war, we are anxious to enable
it to continue there after the war.
In North Wales, as a result of wartime developments, I think there is now a
very happy balance between agriculture and industry, and holiday traffic will always
make a great appeal. There are other industries such as slate quarries and I hope
that, with the housing drive in the post-war period, they will have prosperity.
I will follow up the suggestion made by my hon. Friend about research. Perhaps
he will send me a note on the subject.. I am most anxious to assist North Wales,
within the bounds I have indicated, but if an employer comes to the Board of
Trade and says: "Is it more in the national interest that I should go to South
Wales than to North Wales?" I cannot conceal from my hon. Friends that I con-
sider that, in the majority of cases, new enterprises should go to the South rather
than to the North of the Principality ....
I want to say one word about communications. The Ministry of War Transport
and the Board of Trade are, and have been, in very close touch about communica-
tions. I have made it abundantly clear to the Minister of War Transport and his
Parliamentary Secretary that I regard improved communications as vital for proper
development in Wales, South and North. Plans are now being worked out in
considerable detail by the Ministry of War Transport, in close consultation with
representatives of my Department. The Severn Bridge has'already been mentioned.
I think that will be of the very greatest importance in linking South Wales and
London, and work is proceeding with that plan. In the second place, work is
proceeding with the improvement of communications within South Wales itself.
That, I am sure, is long overdue, particularly east-west and lateral communications.
In the third place, it is of very great importance, in my submission, that better
communications be developed also between South Wales and the Midlands and
Birmingham.... It is much more important to tie up the South Wales industrial
60 British Speeches of the Day
community with the great Midlands industrial community than it is to build a
north-south road. The latter, in my view, is a very desirable project but has value
chiefly for opening up the beautiful area of mid-Wales for holiday traffic and has
no direct industrial value.
My Noble Friend is also working on a scheme, in which I am very much
interested, for improved navigation up the Severn so as to enable the larger
vessels to move up from the Severn mouth at least as far as Worcester and into
the Midlands area. That, I hope, should be of considerable economic value. I am
sorry that I shall have to abbreviate my remarks at this stage. I should have liked
to develop still further some of these matters, but those I have mentioned are very
important. I am sure all hon. Members will agree that this day for the discussion
of Welsh affairs has proved of great interest and value.
[House of Commons Debates]
THE EARL OF HALIFAX
British Ambassador to the United States
At William Penn Tercentenary Celebration, Philadelphia,
October 24, 1944
During the recent talks at Dumbarton Oaks, there was a member of the British
Delegation who never appeared in any of the photographs and took no active part
in any of the discussions. I am not sure that many people really knew he was there,
or would recognize him from my description.
He was stout and plainly dressed, with dreamy blue eyes and a turned-up nose,
and somewhat past middle age. He made no great attempt to force himself upon
the company's attention; but in spite of his unobtrusive ways, he was, I think, quite
an important person. For, apart from a long connection with this country, he had
turned his mind to the problems which were being debated at Dumbarton Oaks
many years before any of the other representatives had thought of paying any
attention to them.
His name, as I expect you have guessed, was William Penn; and the suggestion
I have made ceases to be entirely fanciful when we remember that so much of what
is passing through men's minds today in their pursuit of peace was in his mind
250 years ago, when he wrote his Essay Towards the Present and Future Peace of
For this reason, among others, I feel myself greatly privileged to be taking
part in the celebration of this Tercentenary in the chief city of your great State, of
which William Penn was Founder. He was indeed a pioneer in more senses than
one, and since his day many have sought to follow the same trail. For the problem
of Peace is no new thing; it is as old as war, and war is as old as man. But if it
is plain, after the experience of the past five years, that a fresh and terrible
urgency has been given to the problem and its solution, it is equally sure that we
may learn from those, like Penn, who gave it some attention in the past.
We shall not find it easy to understand William Penn's thoughts on peace,
unless we know a little of their background. That was essentially religious. Penn
was a Quaker. He believed war to be wrong. That is to say, he resisted war not
because it was expensive in human life, or because it brought with it a great deal
of suffering to innocent people, or even because it often degraded those who
engaged in it.
It had all these results, which he and the followers of George Fox have deplored
and striven to counteract from the first days of the Quaker movement. But Penn
believed war to be wrong primarily because he saw it as something incompatible
with a Society which tried,to follow the teaching of Christ.
Of this incompatibility every Christian must be always and acutely conscious.
For in one aspect, and that the most obvious, war seems plainly to ignore the
command to make love of our fellow men a foundation of the Christian life only
second in importance to the love of God.
Yet the very breadth of the injunction to love our fellow men forbids us to
interpret it too narrowly. We surely mistake the spirit of it if, by refusal to face
war, we expose not only indeed the bodies but the souls of men to irreparable
damage and destruction.
Few, who have read and pondered either the philosophy or the actions of those
against whom we now wage war, can doubt the rightness of resistance to protect
the world from such long degradation as the victory of our enemies would have
involved. And the conclusion surely is that, in an imperfect world, war is some-
times the lesser of two evils and that, in trying to satisfy one condition of a
Christian society, we must not sacrifice another of more vital consequence.
The Two Cities
But there is one great truth which certainly emerges from Penn's thought; and
it is one which, if we are to guard ourselves against bitter disappointment, we must
keep clearly before our minds. There is a wrong and there is a right way of
approaching the problem of peace. The wrong way is to regard it as an aim,
single and sufficient in itself; to look on peace merely as the absence of war; to
suppose that when we have set up the necessary machinery, and disarmed anyone
who might commit a breach of the peace, we have done all that is required.
For it is not enough to think of peace, and work for peace, as an end in itself.
In all spheres of life, public and private, such limitation is apt to breed failure and
disappointment. The man to whom happiness is an end in itself becomes a
miserable egoist, unloved of his neighbors and a perpetual disappointment to him-
self. The man to whom health is an end in itself is apt to become a tiresome
valetudinarian and a querulous invalid. And the man to whom peace is an end in
itself is in danger of becoming, unwillingly and unwittingly, a maker of wars.
With all respect to those who may take a different view, I suggest therefore
that the right way to serve the cause of peace is to see it ever against the larger
background of human life, in all its various aspects, some good, some bad; and to
regard it as part of a pattern that we seek to draw for society as a whole. That was
Penn's way and it should be ours.
Penn was, so it seems to me, acutely conscious of two worlds: the City of
God, "an house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens," and the "City of
Confusion," which was man's pitiful attempt to order the world about him.
From this flowed the conception of what he called the "Holy Experiment"-
the experiment of a colony overseas, where people, freed from the trammels of
the past, could start afresh; and where, among the woods and hills of Pennsylvania,
they could build a society more in accord with the Kingdom of Heaven than any
the world had known.
62 British Speeches of the Day
.In all this, Penn reflected what has been the longing of countless men and
women through the ages, both before his day and after. His two worlds are in
fact the projection on to a large screen of that which everyone of us knows to be
the double element in his own life: a body, subject to physical laws and judged
remarkable if it lasts for a hundred years, and a spirit or soul for which
Christianity, along with other great religions, claims immortality.
Peace, False and True
And the task of the Christian in daily life must always be to make a true
adjustment of these two parts of his own being. So also must he try to bring
the visible world, comprising every side of human relations, into more faithful
conformity with the other world which is unseen. That is the purpose of his daily
prayer that God's Kingdom may come, and His Will be done on earth as it is in
If he accepts this obligation, the new order that he must try to build must be
securely founded upon justice. For it is the sense of justice, perhaps more than
anything else, which raises humanity above the habit of the jungle. Justice is there-
fore the first element of any durable human order. It follows that between nations
peace can never merely be the absence of war. There can be no true peace unless
justice is also present.
We can test this assertion by events within our own experience. For five
years there was absence of war from Poland. For four years there was no war
in occupied Europe. But the "peace" of Poland and of occupied Europe was
the peace of a concentration camp, and its purveyors have been the uniformed
murderers of the Gestapo.
If in 1940 the Nazis had broken the resistance of Britain, there might have
been this sort of "peace" in the world; but there would have been no sort of
justice. When therefore we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we do not merely
desire that there should be no fighting in her streets. We are praying for the
presence of that quality of justice which ensures peace, and which, above all
others, distinguishes a society that accepts the moral law from a society that
To the extent to which we can be successful in creating such a society, it would
be true to say that we need not directly concern ourselves with peace. For we shall
surely have it, and much else that we desire, just because we should have estab-
lished the conditions that are indispensable. So true it is, that we must seek first
the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added
Justice Beyond Challenge
But justice will not flourish, any more than a garden plant, unless we give it
what is needed for its health and growth. We know what has been the develop-
ment of law in national life. When a man could only obtain his personal rights
by fighting for them, he fought. But the law, when and where it was established,
gave him more sure and convenient remedy. It secured that in any dispute the
verdict went not to the man who had the greater strength but to the man who
had the greater right.
The more just and strong the law, the less likelihood there was of a good
citizen wishing or trying to take it into his own hands. But if it became corrupt
or feeble, one of two things would happen. Either lawlessness would resume its
rule or, as in our own time we have seen in Germany and Italy, the law would
be perverted to the unscrupulous ends of wicked men. It would become a weapon
in the hands of the strong, and a terror, not to the evildoer, but to the weak; and
Justice would take wing.
It is perhaps a fair criticism of us all that for one reason or another in the
years following 1918 we placed the claims of what we thought was peace above
the claims of what we knew was justice. That was, as we see now, to misunderstand
the real character of peace, and it was only when the world was faced with all the
implications of the Nazi creed that it woke up to the truth.
What is then vital in any international order we may try to establish when
this war is over is that it should represent justice. But it must be justice, so armed
as to be beyond challenge; for if law loses its virtue when it ceases to be just, it
loses its practical authority when it ceases to be strong. Weak justice is powerless
against the forces that reject its right of audience. In the words of the great
French thinker, Pascal: "Justice without power is unavailing, power without justice
is tyrannical. We must therefore combine justice and power, making what is just
strong, and what is strong just."
But more is meant by justice than fair dealing between nations. That is one
part of the pattern we seek to follow. Another and as necessary a part is fair
dealing within nations. The two are really indivisible, as is justice.
At Home as Well as Abroad
Each country has its own domestic problems. Each country must find its own
solutions for them. In Britain, when we look back to the days before the war,
we are all conscious of internal flaws in the structure of our society; and it is in
the hope of ending some of these that our Government has made its recent pro-
posals for social security, based very largely upon Sir William Beveridge's Report.
That men, through no fault of their own, should have been allowed to drift
for months and even years on a hopeless sea of unemployment; that they should
be badly housed or underfed, or come at last to an old age of poverty and neglect
-these, where they existed, were some of the human ills which tainted the life
of our land. They showed the presence of injustice within a nation between man
and man, just as war, or the threat of war, has shown the presence of injustice or
evil, disturbing the harmony of nations.
And, though we may not always trace the exact sequence of events, we must
assume that, as Plato taught that virtue is one, so these several forms of injustice
are all related to one another. The will of a nation is the collective'will of the
individuals that compose it. Penn saw this clearly enough. "Let men be good,"
he wrote, "and the government cannot be bad. If it be ill, they will cure it. But
if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavor to warp
and spoil it to their turn."
Those are wise words, and it follows that if justice is denied by individuals,
we can hardly expect it to be constantly affirmed by the nation; and if it is denied
in dealings between men, it will not be affirmed in dealings between nations. A
multitude of little wrongs by inconspicuous men and women may pave the approach
to some crowning infamy which spells a people's doom.
The Need and the Chance
Let me sum up the conclusions which I have tried to suggest to you tonight,
on this anniversary of the birth of William Penn.
The first is that if we are to "seek peace and ensue it," we must see it as part
of a pattern, reflecting the order of God's Kingdom and expressing God's purpose
British Speeches of the Day
for the world. The second is that the warp and woof of that pattern is justice,
without which it will be unsubstantial stuff and, when the strain comes, will
crumble into fragments. The third is that justice is something indivisible and
invariable. It is the concern everywhere and at all times, of nations and of men.
It might be argued that by accepting these conclusions, we would be binding
ourselves to be crusading against injustice, always and everywhere, and that this
is not practical politics.
It is certainly true that no man, and no nation, can be expected to take indi-
vidual action in all cases of alleged injustice, as they certainly cannot act beyond
the limitations of their power. But it is also true that what one nation, acting by
itself, neither can, nor should be asked to, perform will often lie within the
collective competence of the peace-loving peoples of the world. And therefore
the argument is largely one to reinforce the necessity for co-operation, for justice
between nations of all peoples who have learnt, at bitter cost, that they can never
be indifferent to events, however apparently remote, which may threaten world
peace and with that, their own.
Today, we have such an opportunity as rarely occurs in history to achieve that
co-operation. But success will depend far less upon the perfection of the machinery
we may set up than upon the continued resolution of ordinary men and women.
For this reason, the doctrine that emerges from these conclusions becomes a
good deal more than a directive for our statesmen. Rather should it be a rule of
life for every citizen; for only so may they hope to achieve the larger purpose in
the lives of nations.
As and when the fighting stops, we shall find ourselves under tests, more
searching in some ways perhaps even than those of war. And we may well
remember some other words of him in whose honor we have tonight come together.
"If we would amend the world," he wrote, "we should mend ourselves, and teach
our children to be, not what we are, but what they should be."
In that spirit of resolution, let us go forward with hope, humility, and faith to
meet the calls that the future will make upon us all.
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