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Full Text



BRl H INFORMATION SERVICES
A'I IA jY OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT



IR ISH SPEECHES

S'-F THE DAY

WINSTON CHURCHILL, Prime Minister.
November 29, 1944. The New Session.
December 5, 1944. The Disturbances in Athens.
December 8, 1944. The Liberated Countries.
December 15, 1944. The Russo-Polish Border.
December 27, 1944. The Athens Press Conference.
ANTHONY EDEN, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
December 1, 1944. Foreign Affairs.
December 8, 1944. .
December 20, 1944.5 British Action in Greece.
December 15, 1944. The Curzon Line.
OLIVER LYTTELTON, Minister of Production, December 6, 1944.
The Outlook for Foreign Trade.
LEOPOLD AMERY, Secretary of State for India and Burma,
December 12, 1944.
Burma in the Post-War World.
LORD WOOLTON, Minister of Reconstruction, December 12, 1944.
Re-allocation of Manpower.
OLIVER STANLEY, Secretary of State for the Colonies, December 13, 1944.
The Jamaica Hurricane.
LORD SELBORNE, Minister of Economic Warfare, Decembe-
The Scope and Purpose of UNRRA. 'g 9 5
QUESTION TIME IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. G T 8. -
v.3
Vol. III, No. 1 lY a

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RT. HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL
Prime Minister
House of Commons, November 29, 1944

Everyone will agree with my right hon. Friend who has just sat down that
this has been a long Parliament. We need not embark on historical controversy
as to the claims to continuous life which would be put forward on behalf of a
Parliament much longer than this, but I am very glad that the dosing Session of
this long ten years' Parliament should show all the respect for the traditional
and ceremonial occasions which ignorant, unthinking people who have not medi-
tated upon matters or studied the true movement of events and of forces in the
human breast might easily regard as meaningless performance. Here in the Speech
from the Throne and in the Debates on the Address may be seen all the workings
of the British Constitution or all the principal workings. The Sovereign, advised
by His Ministers, delivers the Gracious Speech. The House then proceed to express
their thanks, but have a perfect right to move Amendments saying that they regret
that this or that has been put in or left out of the Gracious Speech, and if they
carry such an Amendment, the Government of the day is defeated on a major
point of confidence, and it is not easy to conceive a situation in which they could
continue to retain their office. I have on another occasion reminded the House
that this Debate on the Address is the beginning of what is called "the grand
inquest of the nation." A new Session begins, and at this moment and in this
progress of the Address, there is nothing that can be held back from discussion.
Amendments can be moved on any matter and considerable periods are left by
Mr. Speaker, either at the beginning or during the course of the Debate, when
the Debate is general and open. There is no time similar to the period of the
Debate on the Address where real trials of strength can be brought about in days
of party conflict between the Government and the Opposition.
I have always been of opinion that the wishes of the House in respect to the
Debate on the Address should be met by the administration. If the House wish,
for a few more days to discuss the special Amendments and so forth, the Govern-
ment should put no obstacle in the way within reason. Of course, we are governed
by the end of the year as well as by March 31st, in regard to certain legislation.
I have always felt that the Debate on the general aspects of the Address should
be. a considerable feature. Perhaps I am trespassing beyond my duty, but I have
always rejoiced that the Debate on the general aspects of the Address was a
considerable feature, because then is the time when a Member who has got
no friends and has got no group can get up and speak about anything in the
world which he thinks will advance his fellow creatures-if he should catch Mr.
Speaker's eye. This is customary in a Parliamentary sense, a democratic feature in
our annual procedure.
Of course, I must admit, as an aged Member of this House, and as one who
has done some 42 years of service here-unhappily for me there was a break of
two years, two Parliaments which lasted for a year apiece-that after all this long
experience and service in the House, I find it very unpleasant to have the Debate
on the Adjournment one day, and the Debate on the new Session the next. In
the high and far-off times when I first entered this building, there was usually
a six months' or five months' Recess, between the grouse on the 12th August and
the latter part of January or the beginning of February, when the House reas-
sembled. I do not consider those days were without their wisdom. Do not-and
[1]






British Speeches of the Day


this has a bearing on some of the remarks which have recently been made--ever
suppose that you can strengthen Parliament by wearying it, and by keeping it in
almost continuous session. If you want to reduce the power of Parliament, let
it sit every day in the year, one-fifth part filled, and then you will find it will be
the laughingstock of the nation, instead of being, as it continues to be, in spite
of all the strains of modem life, the citadel as well as the cradle of Parliamentary
institutions throughout the world; almost the only successful instance of a legis-
lative body with plenary powers, elected on universal suffrage, which is capable
of discharging, with restraint and with resolution, all the functions of peace and
of war.

/ Uncertain Length of War
This digression on general topics will, perhaps, be excused by another digres-
sion which I find it my duty to make, and this is a more sober and more somber
digression: All our affairs, down to the smallest detail, continue to be dominated
by the war. Parliamentary business is no exception. I must warn the House and
the country against any indulgence in the feeling that the war will soon be over.
It may be, but do not indulge that feeling, and think that we should now all be
turning our thoughts to the new phase in world history which will open at the
dose of this war. The truth is that no one knows when the German war will
be finished, and still less how long the interval will be between' the defeat of the
Germans and the defeat of the Japanese. I took occasion some months ago, to
damp down premature hopes by speaking of the German war running into Janu-
ary and February. I could see disappointment in several quarters as I looked around
the House, and I followed this up quickly by indicating the late Spring or the
early Summer as periods which we must take into account as possibilities. My
present inclination is not at all to mitigate these forecasts, or guesses, as my hon.
Friend the Seconder of the Address said, "guesses" is the right word, for they
can be little more. Indeed, if I were to make any change in the duration of the
unfolding of events it would be to leave out the word "early" before the word
"summer.".
The vast battle which is in progress in the West has yielded to us important
gains. The enemy has everywhere been thrust back. The capture of Metz and
Strasbourg are glorious and massive achievements. The brilliant fighting and
maneuvering of the French Army near the Swiss Frontier and their piercing of
the Belfort Gap and their advance on a broad front to the Rhine is not only a
military episode of high importance, but it shows, what many of us have never
doubted, that the French Army will rise again and be a great factor in the life
of France and of Europe, and that the French soldier, properly equipped and
well led, is unsurpassed among the nations. I had the opportunity of visiting this
Army, and one had hoped to be there at the moment when its attack was delivered
upon the Belfort Gap, but in.the night 12 inches of snow fell and everything had
to be put off for three days. Nevertheless, I had the opportunity of seeing a very
large number of the troops who were going to be engaged, if not in the first stage,
in the second stage of this battle. For an hour or more they marched past in a
swirling snowstorm and as the light faded I had a good look, at close quarters,
at their faces. These are all young men from 18 to 22, average 20. What a fine
thing to be a Frenchman, 20 years of age, well-armed, well-equipped, and with
your native land to avenge and save. The light in these men's eyes and their alert
bearing gives one the greatest confidence that in our nearest neighbor and long
friend in war and in these great struggles of our lifetime will rise in power and
force from the ruins, the miseries and the disgraces of the past, and will present
us once more with a France to be numbered among the Great Powers of the
world.







The New Session


40,000 British and Canadian Casualties
I have spoken of the fighting in the Belfort Gap and I have mentioned Stras-
bourg, and, further to the North, the very great battles which the Americans have
gained around Metz. Opposite Cologne and north of it the fighting has been
most severe and it is here that the gains of ground will be most important and
consequently are most disputed. The weather, which it is always customary and
excusable, even legitimate, to abuse at this season of the year, in these regions has
made the tasks of the American troops and those of the British on their left flank
extremely difficult. What is called the fourth element in war-mud-has played
a formidable part. We have not yet succeeded in driving the enemy back to the
Rhine, let alone have we established a strong bridgehead across it. The battle there
is continuing still with the greatest vigor. Immense losses have been inflicted upon
the enemy. The wearing-down process here, burdensome as it has been to the
United States and British Forces, has been far greater upon the enemy, and, of
course, any large and effective break in the German front in these regions-
Cologne and northwards-would have the highest strategic consequences.
I may mention that in the interval between the liberation of France and that
of the greater part of Belgium Field-Marshal Montgomery's group of armies,
with substantial United States assistance, drove the enemy back to the line of the
Maas, or lower Meuse, and established a sure flank guard, a flank barrier, in Hol-
land protecting the whole line of the main armies operating eastwards. It also
opened the great port of Antwerp, which was captured intact, to the reception of
large convoys of ocean-going ships, thus making an incomparable sea-base available
for the nourishment of the northern group of British Armies and the various
groups of American Armies also deployed. In these operations, including the
storming of the islands, which contained episodes of marvellous gallantry, grand
feats of arms, the British and Canadian Forces suffered about 40,000 casualties-
that is, in the interval between the two great battles. In the new battle which runs
from General Montgomery's Army, broadly speaking opposite Venloo, down to
the Vosges Mountains, where the French take up the long line, the'whole front
is held by the Americans, who are bearing the brunt with their customary dis-
tinction and courage.
The Supreme Task
I am not giving a review of the war situation, I have no intention of doing
so; later on, perhaps when we meet after Christmas, it will be right to review it,
and it may be very much more easy than it is now. There may be hard facts and
cheering facts to put before the House. The House knows that I have never
hesitated to put hard facts before it. I know the British people and I know this
House, and there is one thing they will not stand, and that is not being told how
bad things are. If it is humanly possible to do it without endangering affairs
one is always well advised to tell people how bad things are. I remember occasions
when I have greatly revived the energy and ardor of the House by giving them
an account of the shocking position we occupied in various quarters, and how
very likely things were to get worse before they would get better. ...
I say that I am not giving a review of the war situation today, but I mention
these outstanding, these commanding, facts in order to dissipate lightly-founded
sensations that we can avert our eyes from the war and turn to the tasks of transi-
tion and of reconstruction, or still more that we can turn to the political con-
troversies and other diversions of peace, which are dear to all our hearts, and
rightly dear to the democracies in action, because without controversy democracies
cannot achieve their health-giving process. But I do not think we can look on
any of these matters with a sense of detachment from the war issue, which is
right over us, which weighs intensely and preponderantly upon us and upon every







4 British Speeches of the Day

form of our national life. All else must be still subordinated to this supreme task.
It is on the foe that our eyes must be fixed, and to break down his resistance
demands, and will receive, the most intense exertions of Great Britain, of the'
United States and of all the United Nations and converted satellites-all forces
that can be brought to bear.
A Note pf Youth
This is just the moment not to slacken. All the races which the calendar holds,
or nearly all of them, are won in the last lap, and it is there, when it is most hard,
when one is most tired, when the sense of boredom seems to weigh upon one,
when even the most glittering events, exciting, thrilling events, are, as it were, covered
by satiation, when headlines in the newspaper, though perfectly true, succeed one
another in their growing emphasis and yet the end seems to recede before us, like
climbing a hill when there is another peak beyond-it is at that very moment that
we in this island have to give that extra sense of exertion, of boundless, inex-
haustible, dynamic energy that we have shown, as the records now made public
have emphasized in detail. Tirelessness is what we have to show now. Here I
must observe that it is one thing to feel these tremendous drives of energy at the
beginning of war, when your country is likely to be invaded and you do not know
whether you will not all have to die honorably but soon; it is one thing to exhibit
these qualities, which certainly the House has never been estranged from, at such
a moment, and quite, another thing to show them in the sixth year of a war. On
the other hand, we must remember that the enemy whose country is invaded has
also these supreme stimuli which we ourselves responded to in the very dark days
of 1940 and 1941.
I have said enough to emphasize the preponderance of the war, weighing down
upon us all-the German war-and after the German war we must not forget
there is the war with Japan. It is on this footing and in this mood that we must
address ourselves to the Gracious Speech and to the loyal Address which it is
ndw our duty to present to His Majesty. My right hon. Friend who spoke
from the bench opposite and my right hon. Friend who spoke for the Liberal
Party have both paid their compliments to the Mover and the Seconder of the
Address. It has become almost a hackneyed phrase to say that their perform-
ances have never been surpassed. In the 42 King's Speeches-or something like
it-which I have heard I think that that phrase must have been used twenty times
at least and it certainly can be used on this occasion. But what is the note
that is struck by those two young Members of the House of Commons? It is
Youth, Youth, Youth; efficient youth marching forward from service in the field
or at the coal face, marching forward to take their part in Parliament; and I am
of opinion that those who have toiled and sweated, and those who have dared
and conquered, should receive, whatever party they belong to, a full share of
representation in any new House of Commons that may be called into being.
I must say I thought they were extremely good speeches, and I cannot doubt that
those two young Members will be real additions for a long period of time, as
I trust and pray, to the membership of this House.
A Generation is Missing
Remember, Sir, we have a missing generation, we must never forget that-
the flower of the past lost in the great battles of the last war. There ought to be
another generation in between these young men and we older figures who are soon,
haply, to pass from the scene. There ought to be another generation of men, with
their flashing lights and leading figures. We must do all we can to try to fill the
gap, and, as I say, there is no safer thing to do than to run risks with youth. It
is very difficult to live your life in this world and not to get set in old ways,
rather looking back with pleasure to the days of your youth. That is quite right,







The New Session


and tradition is quite right. A love of tradition has never weakened a nation,
indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril, but the new view must
come, the world must roll forward.
"Let the great world spin forever down the ringing grooves of
change."
as Tennyson said many years ago. Let us have no fear of the future. We are a ,
decent lot, all of us, the whole nation. Wherever you go you need have no fear.
I was brought up never to fear the English democracy, to trust the people. We
need have no fear in these matters, and those speeches made by those two young
Members give one the feeling that there must be rich reserves in the Army, in the
industries and in the workshops of men of assured quality and capacity who, what-
ever their differing views on political affairs, are none the less absolutely united
in maintaining the historic greatness of Britain and of the British Commonwealth
of Nations throughout the world.
The Business of the Session
I must now refer to several matters which concern the business of the Session
and the business of the House before I come to topics of a more engaging char-
acter. We intend to allow reasonable time for the Debate on the Address, and
under your guidance, Mr. Speaker, we shall endeavor to meet the wishes of the
House in regard both to the general Debate and Debates on specific subjects, as
may be desired. The course of the Debate on the Address is a matter for con-
sultation, and the proposed arrangements will be announced in the usual business
statement. Before the end of the year it will be necessary for us to ask the House
to pass the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill through all its stages, as well as a
short Bill to continue in operation the Local Elections and Register of Electors Act
until March 31st next. The existing Act expires on December 31st, according to
my right hon. Friend who has assisted me in this portion of my speech, and it
will be necessary to pass that Measure before that date.
As regards the future, a Bill providing for the resumption of local elections
and dealing with the assimilation of the Parliamentary and local government fran-
chise-an important step on which both parties have agreed-is being prepared
with a view to its introduction, if possible, before Christmas, and its passage into
law early in the New Year. Certain Supplementary Estimates will also be required,
including one to provide a grant-in-aid to Jamaica for the relief and repair of
damage following the hurricane, and a special Consolidated Fund Bill must be
passed for the issue of money. Any other business will be brought forward as and
when required.
I have also to inform the House that it is the Government's intention to pro-
pose a Motion tomorrow to give precedence to Government business, to provide
for the presentation of Government Bills only, and to stop the ballot for private
Members' Bills-all following the precedents of the last five years, as well as of
the last war. I regret to have to ask Members again to forego their rights and
privileges. They have been induced to make this sacrifice readily, if not cheerfully,
in the past when our whole energies have been concentrated upon the war. The
moment has not yet arrived for us to resume our normal arrangements, and I fear
I must ask for the whole time of the House to be put at the disposal of the
Government in view of the heavy programs and the many months of hard work
which lie before us, into which a contingent of my hon. Friends on this side are
so eager to plunge.
Probably the Last Session
On a previous occasion I gave my reasons for believing that we are entering
upon the last Session of the present Parliament. The Gracious Speech contains







British Speeches of the Day


references to a number of important Measures which we hope to bring forward
this Session, in continuance of the progress of the reform program and social
advancement upon which the Coalition Government embarked two years ago. If
events take the course I have previously indicated, if we are to attempt to com-
plete our legislative program, if we are to attempt to make any marked progress
in our legislative program, we shall require all the available time of the House.
In recent Sessions Members have had many opportunities of raising matters of
general interest, and we hope most sincerely that such occasions will be available
from time to time. The Debate on the Address is supposed to clear a lot of
things out of the way, but in Parliamentary usage we have never been reluctant to
give to any large number of Members who may request a Debate on a particular
topic the opportunity they deserve and desire. Of course, anyone who chooses to
learn Parliamentary procedure will see that in the course of a Session there are very
few topics that he cannot find occasion to vent, but careful study of the rules of
procedure is recommended to those who wish to find these opportunities.
There is one further matter which concerns our proceedings today. It will be
necessary to renew the Motion relating to the hours of sittings of the House. We
must obtain this Motion today to regulate our future proceedings, and I hope it
will be possible to adjourn the Debate on the Address at a reasonable hour in
order that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House will be able to explain'
and carry it.

Forthcoming Legislation
All this may be considered to be preliminary to the very few words I have yet
to say. No one can complain that the King's Speech is not heavily loaded with
legislation-a more elaborate and substantial King's Speech in regard to legisla-
tion has rarely been produced. I have here a paper which sets out all the Bills-
of which I think there are 12, it might easily have been 13-which figure in the
program: the great health and national insurance group-the National Health
Service Bill, the National Insurance Bill, the Industrial Injury Insurance Bill; Fam-
ily Allowances holds a high place; the Water Bill, the River Board Bill, Reform
of Parliamentary Franchise Bill, Local Elections Bill, Public Authorities Loans
Bill, Adjustment of Local Government Areas Bill-a topic which offers itself to
expansive conversation-Export Credit Bill, Requisitioned Land and War Works
Bill, Wages Council Bill, Education (Scotland) Bill-which has already been
given a special emphasis by the seconder of the Address-and the Colonial Develop-
ment and Welfare Bill. All these are mentioned, and that is the order in which
they are mentioned in the King's Speech, but not necessarily the order in which
they will be taken in our Business procedure.
I myself should like to put in a word for a decision on the Report of the
Select Committee on the Rebuilding of the House of Commons, because I think a
Resolution from the House on that subject would liberate certain energies, not on
a large scale, which might be detached from the war-some very aged lapidaries
exist who can be getting on with the work. We really will need a House to sit
in, I can assure hon. Members, after this war is over, when so many great matters
will have to be decided on which agreement will not be so perfect and so unani-
mous as it has been found to be in respect to the general structure of the new
Chamber.

The Expected Dissolution
We shall proceed with this program which has been unfolded in the King's
Speech. We shall proceed with it as opportunity serves-one cannot do more than







The New Session


that-and we shall proceed with it also in accordance with the time which is left
to this Parliament. Our tenure now depends upon the official end of the German
war. It is a great inconvenience not to be able to forecast that date. I can only
say that we shall press forward perseveringly with the great program of legisla-
tion which this remarkable Coalition has framed, and we shall press steadily forward
until the hour of our separation arrives. Hurried legislation is not usually suc-
cessful; prolonged sittings do not necessarily mean rapid progress. The Dissolu-
tion undoubtedly hangs over us, and there is no question of postponing the Dis-
solution in order to carry a program of legislation which, with the best will in
the world, could not be carried this Session. If, most unhappily, the end of the
war in Europe should be unexpectedly deferred, we shall make more progress in
the social field, but if it should come to pass at dates which it is reasonable to hope,
the summer, the early summer, or earlier if good fortune crowns our arms, then
we cannot expect to accomplish more than a small part of what is set down in the
Gracious Speech. Much will turn on the result of an appeal to the nation con-
ducted under extraordinary circumstances out of our reverence for democracy, with
many difficulties not present in peacetime, with an electorate which has not voted
for 10 years, and with scarcely any voter under 30 years who has had the chance
to vote before. I shall not attempt to pierce the veils of the unknown. I see there
are already some prophets in the field who know exactly how all these complex
forces and circumstances will in the end express themselves. . .
However, whatever may be the doubts as to when the election will come, and
how it will finish up, and where we shall all find ourselves sitting at the end of it,
and what our relations with each other will be-all these are uncertain-there is
one thing which is quite certain, all the leading men in both the principal parties
-and in the Liberal Party as well-are pledged and committed to this great mass
of social legislation, and I cannot conceive that whatever may be the complexion
of the new House, they will personally fail to make good their promises and
commitments to the people. There may, therefore, be an interruption in our work,
but it is only an interruption and one which must not be allowed in any cir-
cumstance to turn us from our purposes on which our resolves have been taken.
This is a matter on which anyone has a right to speak for himself, irrespective of
what may be the consequences of the General Election. No one can bind any
future Parliament, but some of us, I suppose, will get back, and I cannot believe
that any of those who have set their hands to this great social program-insurance,
health, compensation and the other matters that are in-I cannot believe that
any of us, whether in office or in Opposition, who have been sponsors of this pro-
gram will fail to march forward along the broad lines that have been set forth.
As I have said, I could not at this stage lay out the exact order of priority of
the various legislative Measures which have been set down. The Debate on the
Address and the necessary legislation which must be passed before the end of the
year will take up our time until we return. There is, then, a great deal of neces-
sary financial business to be discharged, in getting you, Mr. Speaker, out of the
Chair-sometimes arduous-on the Army, Navy and Air Force Votes and the
Civil Service Votes. This will all take time. The Consolidated Fund Bill must
be disposed of: here is another opportunity for a great many topics to be raised
for which Members come along asking for special days to be given. They should
just study the precedents of the past and see all the things that have been worked
in on that Bill. Easter falls early this year. It falls on April Fool's Day. I hope
that is not an irreverent thing to say, but in case anybody thinks it is perhaps I
may be allowed to say April 1st. We must have a Budget of a more or less un-
controversial character to tide us over the election period, and as much legislation
as possible will be fitted in with these obligatory features of our Parliamentary
work. More than that it is premature to define.







British Speeches of the Day


The Housing Emergency
There is one matter which was referred to by my right hon. Friend the Member
for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris). Housing is the most threatened
sector in the home front. I have for some time been disquieted by the situation.
During the last four or five months I have been continually referring to it by
Minute and by personal discussion. The objective is painfully plain, namely, to
provide in the shortest time the largest number of weather-proofed dwellings in
which our people can live through this winter in reasonable comfort. The subject
is divided, like ancient Gaul, into three parts-repair, prefabricated and perma-
nent; or, using the code names which have become so common in military mat-
ters, "repair," "prefab.," and "perm." At the summit of this problem sits Lord
Woolton and what I will venture to call somewhat disrespectfully "the housing
squad," including not only War Cabinet Ministers-it is not usual to give details
of Cabinet Committees-but also some who are not ministerial at all. These
collect, co-ordinate, and in a great many cases, decide, subject to the War Cabinet
in the last resort, what is to be done. I have reserved to myself the right to take
the chair when and if at any time I think it is necessary or desirable.
That is the function, the relationship, of Lord Woolton to this general scheme.
I may say that Lord Woolton has shown a very great deal of energy and grip in
trying to meet the difficulties of the past, difficulties which are being continually
added to by the fire of the enemy. He has taken a number of steps, but I did not
consider that the situation, borne in upon me by Questions and answers which I
have had to give in this House, was such that we did not. require to smooth out
and make more precise the arrangements for gripping this problem. Naturally,
with the war going on, one's mind is drawn to the focusing of the executive forces
of an emergency character upon the really serious parts of the problem. On a lower
level, but of equally practical importance, and importance which outweighs the
superior level, is the great field of emergency executive action.

Ministries Concerned With Housing
I can say a word-and it is only a word-on this matter of the relations be-
tween the Minister of Works and the Minister of Health in this field of London
repair. The Ministry of Health is the great ambassador Department which deals
with local authorities, and nothing must be done to hamper that long usage.
Therefore, the Ministry of Health is the ambassador for the Ministry of Works
in respect of the taking over of areas, streets and so forth that really require more
power than any local authority can bring to bear. For the rest, executive power
will increasingly rest with the Ministry of Works which will have to discharge
all the tasks of repair which cannot be undertaken, or are not being effectively
undertaken, by the local authorities; which will have to produce the prefabricated
houses which I spoke of at the beginning of the year but which cannot be pro-
duced in the numbers I then mentioned but, still, can be produced in very great
number and of varying types. Further, they have to make, with the assistance of
the Board of Trade in the closest liaison, as the military would say, the fittings
and parts of all kinds which must be made not only for the repairs and for the
"prefabs.," but also for the "perms.," which must get forward as fast as they
possibly can under the driving power of the Minister of Health and, of course,
the Secretary of State for Scotland. I do not want to go more into this now,
because we shall very likely have a special Debate on the subject, either on an
Amendment to the Address or on the resumption, if desired, and if Mr. Speaker
would permit, of the general Debate on the Address. People sometimes do not
like to have an Amendment to the Address, because it must take the form of a
Vote of Censure, but we are in the hands of the House and under the orders of
the Chair.







The Disturbances in Athens


I do not think it is any use for me at this time to enter upon the subject of
foreign policy. I have a list of 25 countries on which I am prepared to give in-
formation about their tangled politics and their relations to ourselves, but the
House may rest assured that I have no intention of doing so, as no sufficient provo-
cation has been offered to His Majesty's Government to induce me to embark upon
this lengthy excursion. After all, a Foreign Affairs Debate can be brought on as
part of the Debate on the Address. All I have tried to do at this time is to give
a general survey of the tasks which lie before us, of the limitations which may be
assigned to our powers to discharge these tasks, of our duty to persevere in all we
are pledged and committed to, and of the sense of the overlying obligations which
we have to carry the war through in its dosing stages with all energy and unity,
not only at home among ourselves but among the great united Powers of the Grand
Alliance, whom, I am happy to say, were never more closely and intimately and
comprehendingly united than they are at this time.
[House of Commons Debates]


WINSTON CHURCHILL
Prime Minister
House of Commons, December 5, 1944

So far as has been ascertained, the facts [relating to the occurrences in Athens
on Sunday, December 3] are as. follow: The Greek organization called E.A.M.
had announced their intention of holding a demonstration on December 3. The
Greek Government at first authorized this, but withdrew their permission when
E.A.M. called for a general strike to begin on December 2. The strike, in fact,
came into force early on December 3. Later in the morning the E.A.M. demon-
stration formed up and moved to the principal square of Athens, in spite of the
Government ban. On the evidence so far available, I am not prepared to say who
started the firing which then took place. The police suffered one fatal casualty
and had three men wounded. The latest authentic reports give the demonstrators'
casualties as 11 killed and 60 wounded. The demonstration continued during the
afternoon but there was no further shooting, and by 4.30 the crowd had dispersed
and tranquillity was restored.

Private Armies Must Disband
It is deplorable that an event like this should take place in Athens scarcely a,
month after the city's liberation and feeding. Greece is faced with the most des-
perate economic and financial problems, apart from the civil war which we are
trying to stop. We and our American Allies are doing our utmost to give assist-
ance, and our troops are acting to prevent bloodshed. Sometimes it is necessary
to use force to prevent greater bloodshed. The main burden falls on us, and the
responsibility is within our sphere-that is the military sphere agreed upon with
our principal Allies. Our plans will not succeed unless the Greek Government
and the whole Greek people exert themselves on their own behalf. If the damage
of four years of war and enemy occupation is to be repaired, and if Greek life
and economy are to be rebuilt, internal stability must be maintained and, pending.
a general election under fair conditions, the authority of the constitutional Greek
Government must be accepted and enforced throughout the country. The armed
forces must be dependent on the Greek Government. No Government can have-
a sure foundation so long as there are private armies owing allegiance to a group,
a party or an ideology instead of to the State and the nation.







10 British Speeches of the Day

Although these facts should be clear to all, the Left Wing and Communist
Ministers have resigned from the Greek Government at this dangerous crisis rather
than implement measures, to which they had already agreed, for the replacement
of the E.A.M. police and guerrillas by regular national services. ...
SIn addition, the E.A.M. leaders have called a general strike which is for the
time being preventing the bread which we and the Americans are providing from
reaching the mouths of the hungry population whom we are trying to feed.

Greek Elections to Decide Constitution
Our own position, though as I have said it is a burden, is extremely clear.
Whether the Greek people form themselves into a monarchy or a republic is for
their decision; whether they have a Government of Left or Right is a matter for
them. But until they are in a position to decide, we shall not hesitate to use the
considerable British Army now in Greece and being reinforced to see that law
and order are maintained. It is our belief that in this course His Majesty's Govern-
ment have the support of an overwhelming majority of the Greek people. Their
gaping need is to receive relief for their immediate requirements, and conditions
which give them a chance of earning a livelihood. In both of these ways we wish
to help them, and we are working with experts, financial and otherwise, to do
so; but we cannot do so if the tommy guns which were provided for use against
the Germans are now used in an attempt to impose a Communist dictatorship
without the people being able to express their wishes. ...
I quite agree that we take a great responsibility in intervening to preserve law
and order in this capital city which was so lately delivered by our troops from the
power of the enemy. It would be very much easier for us to stand aside and al-
low everything to degenerate, as it would very quickly, into anarchy or a Com-
munist dictatorship; but, having taken the position that we have, having entered
Athens and brought food and made great efforts to restore its currency, and done
our utmost to give it those conditions of peace and tranquillity which will enable
the Greek people as a whole to vote on their future, we do not feel that we should
look back or take our hands from the plough. We shall certainly not he able to
do so, but we shall certainly take care that the Greek Government which we are
supporting-or perhaps 'acting in conjunction with' would be a better expression,
because General Scobie is for the moment in charge of order-is not used to
fasten any rule of a faction (I think that is the word) on the Greek people. They
will have the fullest opportunity of a free election. The Government of M.
Papandreou three days ago represented all parties, including the Communists and
E.A.M. whose representatives left suddenly on the eve of a quite evident attempt
to overthrow the settled Government. . It is a shocking thing that there should
be firing by police forces on unarmed children. That is a matter which we should
all reprobate. We should also reprobate the massing and the leading of large
numbers of unarmed children to a demonstration, the scene of which had been
banned by the Government, in'a city full of armed men and liable at any mo-
ment to an explosion. . .The other point of substance is the question of the se-
curity battalions. That is not to be dismissed as easily as the hon. Member has done.
They came gradually into existence, very largely, according to evidence which
I have most carefully sifted, during the last year, in a large measure to protect
the Greek villagers from the depredations of some of those who, under the guise
of being saviors of their country, were living upon the inhabitants and doing
very little fighting against the Germans. I could continue indefinitely to deal with
these points, but I am sure that I should be trespassing upon the indulgence which
you, Sir, have already shown me.
S [House of Commons Debates]







The LDberatld Countries


WINSTON CHURCHILL
Prime Minister
House of Commons, December 8, 1944
The value df the speech which has just ended was, I thought that it showed
how extremely complex thee Greek politics are. The hon. Gentleman made a very
large number of assertions, some of which were accurate, some of which were, ac-
,cording to my information, rather the reverse. At any rate, hours of debate, day
after day, woald be required if this House were to attempt to emulate the mastery
of the details of the position in Greece, which he has been able to acquire in spite
of other serious preoccupations.
J address myself to the Amendment as a whole, and I must point out that it
does not deal only with Greece, but with other parts of Europe, and with-the sup-
pression .of those popular movements which have valorously assisted in the defeat
of the enemy in other countries besides Greece. The House, I am sure, will there-
fore permit me to deal with the whole of this question of our intervention in
Europe, the tone, character, temper and objects of our intervention where we have
to intervene, !by dealing with other countries besides this one which has been the
main focus of the two speeches to which we have listened. Before I come to par-
ticilar countries and places, let me present to the House the charge which is made
.against us. It is that we are using His Majesty's Forces to disarm the friends of
democracy in Greece and in other parts of Europe, and to suppress those popular
movements which have valorously assisted in the defeat of the enemy. Here is a
,pretty direct issue, and one on which the House will have to pronounce before
we separate this evening. Certainly, His Majesty's Government would be unworthy
-of confidence if His Majesty's Forces were being used by them to disarm the.
friends af democracy in Greece and other parts of Europe.
What Is Democracy?
The question however arises, and one may be permitted to dwell on it for
a moment, who are the friends of democracy, and also how is the word "democracy"
to be interpreted? My idea of it is that the plain, humble common man, just the
ordinary man who keeps a wife and family, who goes off to fight for his country
when it' is in trouble, and goes to the poll at the appropriate time, puts his cross
on the ballot paper showing the candidate he wishes to be elected to Parliament
-that is the foundation of democracy. And it is also essential to this foundation
that this . man, or woman, should do this without fear, and without any form
of intimidation or victimization. He marks his ballot paper in strict secrecy, and
then elected representatives meet and together decide what government, or even,
in times of stress, what form of government they wish to have in their country.
If that is democracy I salute it. I espouse it. I would work for it. ...
But I feel quite different about a swindle democracy, a democracy which calls
itself democracy because it is Left Wing. It takes all sorts to make democracy, not
only Left Wing, or even Communist. I do not expect a party or a body to call
themselves democrats because they are stretching further and further into the most
extreme forms of revolutions. I do not accept a party as necessarily representing
democracy because it becomes more violent as it becomes less numerous. I cannot
accept any of these as democracy. One must have some respect for democracy and
not use that word too lightly. The last thing which resembles democracy is mob
law, with bands of gangsters, armed with deadly weapons, forcing their way into
great cities, seizing the police stations and key points of Government, endeavoring
to introduce a totalitarian regime with an iron hand, and clamoring, as they can
nowadays if they get the power- [Interruption].







12 British Speeches of the Day

I am sorry to be causing so much distress. [Interruption.] I have plenty of time,
and if any outcries are wrung from hon. Members opposite I can always take a
little longer in what I have to say, though I should regret to do so. I say that
the last thing that represents democracy is mob law and the attempt to introduce a
totalitarian regime and clamors to shoot everyone-there are lots of opportunities
at the present time-who is politically inconvenient as part of a purge of those
who are said to-and very often have not-have sought to collaborate with the
Germans during the occupation. Do not let us rate democracy so low, do not let
us rate democracy as if it were merely grabbing power and shooting those who
do not agree with you. That is the antithesis of democracy; this is not what
democracy is based on . .

The Conditions of Democratic Choice
Denlocracy, I say, is not based on violence or terrorism, but on reason, on fair
play, on freedom, on respecting other people's rights as well as their ambitions.
Democracy is no harlot to be picked up in the street by a man with a tommy gun.
I trust the people, the mass of the people, in almost any country, but I like to
make sure that it is the people and not a gang of bandits from the mountains or
from the countryside who think that by violence they can overturn constituted
authority, in some cases ancient Parliaments, Governments and States. That is my
general description of the foundation upon which we should approach the various
special instances on which I am going to dwell. During the war, of course, we
have had to arm anyone who could shoot a Hun. Apart from their character, poli-
tical convictions, past records and so forth, if they were out to shoot a Hun we
accepted them as friends and tried to enable them to fulfill their healthy instincts.
We are paying for it in having this Debate today, which personally I have
found rather enjoyable, so far. We are paying for it also with our treasure and
our blood. We are not paying for it with our honor or by defeat. But when
countries are liberated it does not follow that those who have received our weapons
should use them in order to engross to themselves by violence and murder and
bloodshed all those powers and traditions and continuity which many countries
have slowly developed and to which quite a large proportion of their people, I
believe the great majority, are firmly attached. If what is called in this Amend-
ment the action of "the friends of democracy" is to be interpreted as carefully
planned coups d'itat by murder gangs and by the iron rule of ruffians seeking to
climb into the seats of power, without a vote ever having been cast in their favor
-if that is to masquerade as democracy I think the House will unite in condemning
it as a mockery. I do not admit-I am keeping to the words of the Amendment
-that those popular elements who so "valorously"-in some cases I must say-
assisted the defeat of the enemy have the right to come forward and say, "We
are the saviors of the nation; we must therefore henceforward be its rulers, its
masters; that is our reward; we must now claim to sit in judgment over all"-
that is, the vast mass of people in every occupied country who have had to live
out their lives as well as they could under the iron rule and oppression of the
Germans. These valorous elements are now to rule with dictatorial power gained
by a coup d'dtat, by bloody street fighting and slaughter, and are to judge the high,
the middle and the poor.
So far I am generalizing on the principles of what democracy should be and
also some of the principles which it should not follow. War criminals, the be-
trayers of their countrymen, the men who sincerely wished that Germany might
win-these may be the objects of popular disgust or boycott, and may in extreme
cases be brought before the courts of law and punished with death, but I hope
those will be courts of law, where fair trial may be had, and not mere expressions







The Liberated Countries


of mob juries or political rivals. But to those who try to establish the point that
the men who went out into the hills and were given rifles or machine guns by the
British Government have by fee simple acquired the right to govern vast com-
plex communities such as Belgium or Holland-it may be Holland next-or Greece,
I say I repulse that claim. They have done good service and it is for the State, and
not for them, to judge of the rewards they should receive. It is not for them to
claim ownership of the State, which cannot be admitted . .
I say we march along an onerous and painful path. Poor old England! Per-
haps I ought to say "Poor old Britain." We have to assume the burden of most
thankless tasks and in undertaking them to be scoffed at, criticized and opposed
from every quarter; but at least we know where we are making for, 'know the end
of the road, know what is our objective. It is that these countries shall be freed
from the German armed power and under conditions of normal tranquillity shall
have a free universal vote to decide the Government of their country-except a
Fascist r6gime-and whether that Government shall be of the Left or of the Right.
There is our aim-and we are told that we seek to disarm the friends of
democracy. We are told that because we do not allow gangs of heavily armed
guerrillas to descend from the mountains and install themselves, with all the bloody
terror and vigor which they possess, in great capitals and in power, that we are
traitors to democracy. I repulse that claim too. I shall call upon the House as a
matter of confidence in His Majesty's Government and confidence in the spirit with
which we have marched from one peril to another till victory is insight, to reject
such pretensions with the scorn that they deserve.
The Amendment on the Paper has particular reference to Greece, but it is a
general attack on the whole policy of His Majesty's Government which is repre-
sented as supporting reactionary forces everywhere, trying to install by force dicta-
torial government contrary to the wishes of the people. I deal, therefore, not only
with Greece. I pin myself at this moment, in the first instance, on to other parts
of Europe, because this theme has also to some extent been opened up with the last
sentences of a recent American Press release with which we were confronted a few
days ago. It is not only in Greece that we appear to some eyes, to the eyes of those
who support this Amendment, to be disarming the friends of democracy and those
popular movements which have assisted the defeat of the enemy. There is Italy,
there is Belgium.

General Eisenhower's Orders
Let me come to Belgium. Belgium is another case of what the Amendment
calls the friends of democracy being disarmed in favor of the organized constitu-
tional administration. If so, it is a grave case and deserves scrutiny. At the end
of November there was to be what the Germans call a Putsch organized in Bel-
gium in order to throw out the Government of M. Pierlot, which Government was
the only constitutional link with the past, and the only link we have recognized
during the war with the Belgium Government that was thrown out over four years
ago by the Germans in their brutal invasion. This Government has received a vote
of confidence of 132 against only 12, with six abstentions, from the Belgian Par-
liament, so far as it has been possible to reconstitute it, because some time is needed,
after chaos, to set up some authority.
However, the friends of democracy, the valorous assisters in the defeat of the
enemy, take a .different view. They organized an attack upon the Belgian State.
A demonstration, largely attended by women and children marched up to the Bel-
gian Parliament House, and lorry loads of friends of democracy came hurrying in
from Mons and other places, heavily armed. Here you see the hardworked Britain,
which you are asked to censure tonight. What does this reactionary, undemocratic







British Speeches of the Day


country do? Orders were sent-I must confess it-to stop the lorries on the way,
and to disarm their occupants. Moreover, we British placed light tanks and
armoured cars in the side streets near the front of the Parliament House, which
the Belgian gendarmerie were defending for the Belgian Government. Here was
interference in a marked form. Here was an attempt to stand between the friends
51 of democracy and the valorous, anarchic overthrow of the Belgian State., W e British
stood in the way of that; I have to admit these things to you.
But under whose orders, and under whose authority, did we take this action?
General Erskine, the British officer, made various proclamations, like those that
General Scobie has made, on the needs of the situation. His proclamations had a
highly salutary effect, and those concerned in the movement of Allied Forces acted
accordingly. Who is General Erskine? He is the British head of the Anglo-
American Mission, which has been set up to act as a link between the Supreme
Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force and the Belgian Government and
people. He represents, is directly responsible to, and derives his authority from
General Eisenhower, that remarkable American Supreme Commander, whose wisdom
and good fellowship we admire, and whose orders we have promised to obey.
The following are instances of General Eisenhower's intervention in Belgium
affairs.
On October 28th, General Erskine handed a letter to M. Pierlot, in which, with
the authority of General Eisenhower, he directed that all civilians in Belgium should
be disarmed, and asked for the co-operation of the Belgian Government--that is
the old Belgian Government, which had been installed in Brussels-in this matter.
The letter concluded with the request that the Supreme Commander should re-
ceive the immediate assurance that this assistance would be forthcoming, and stat-
ing that the Army group commanders-in this instance, Field-Marshal Mont-
gomery-would then be instructed to offer all assistance. On November 11th, His
Majesty's representative in Brussels reported to the Supreme Commander that he
had himself been in Brussels on the previous day, and had met the Belgian Prime
Minister and Government. He had reaffirmed his decision to give them all the
assistance they required in carrying out the disarmament of the Resistance Forces.
On November 29th, the Belgian Government received information that armed
demonstrators were on their way in lorries from Mons, and intended to attack
Government offices. The Belgian Government made an official appeal. for Allied
support-I am talking about Belgium now, not Greece, because the positions seem
so very similar-and the necessary precautions were taken by S.H.A.E.F., and the
measures I have described were taken by the British troops and Belgium gend-
armerie.
Personally, as the House will readily guess, I consider that General Eisenhower's
decisions where absolutely right, and that they stopped disorder and tumult along
the lines of communication. After all, these lines of communications, from Ant-
werp forward, are those which will sustain several millions of men in the forward
march into Germany in this war-which I should be sorry to see go on longer than
is necessary. Not only did we' obey General Eisenhower's orders, but we thought
these orders wise and sensible. ....
After all, we British, who are now suggested to be poor friends of democracy,
lost 35,000 to 40,000 men in opening up the great port of Antwerp, and our Navy
has cleared the Scheldt River. The sacrifice of these men has always to be con-
sidered, as well as the friends of democracy advancing in lorries-in lorries-from
Mons, to start a bloody revolution in Brussels. ...
As I said, I back up all those who seek to establish democracy and civilization
on a basis of law, and also popular, untrammelled, unintimidated, free, universal
suffrage voting. It would be pretty hard on Europe if, after four or five years of







The Liberated Countries


German tyranny she was liquidated and degenerated and plunged into a series
of brutal social wars. If the friends of democracy and its various defenders be-
lieve that they express the wishes of the majority, why cannot they wait for the
General Election; why cannot they await the free vote of the people-which is
our sole policy in every country into which British and American Armies are
advancing? There is the story of Belgium, which I submit, with the utmost respect
and affection, to the American people, as well as to the House of Commons, carries
many lessons which are applicable to other parts of the world.

Count Sforza Not Vetoed
Now I come to the case of Italy, which is, I gather, oddly enough, embodied
in the case of Count Sforza. The Amendment does not specifically mention his
name, but other communications which have been given to the world seem to show
that in this respect also we have offended against democracy. It is a great mistake,
as the Foreign Secretary said, and quite untrue, that we have vetoed Count Sforza's
appointment to be Prime Minister or Foreign Secretary of the Italian Government.
The Allies alone could do that. The Italians, having unconditionally surrendered,
have a perfect right to choose anyone they please for any office of State. That, so
they say, is one of their fundamental rights, and it belongs naturally to any coun-
try which has unconditionally surrendered, after having done most grievous injur-
ies to its conquerors. We have not attempted to put our veto on the appointment
of Codnt Sforza. If tomorrow the Italians were to make him Prime Minister or
Foreign Secretary, we have no power to stop it except with the agreement of the
Allies. All that we would have to say about it is that we do not trust the man,
we do not think he is a true and trustworthy man, nor do we put the slightest
confidence in any Government of which he is a dominating member. I think we
should have to put a great deal of responsibility for what might happen on those
who called him to power. . .
We are not avid of becoming deeply involved in the politics of the conquered
or liberated countries. All we require from them is a Government which will
guarantee us the necessary protection, and facilities for the lines of communication,
from Naples to Ravenna, lately taken, and to the North. . .
Our interest in Italy is in the front where we have Armies engaged under General
Alexander and General Mark Clark, that daring and skillful American General
under whom we have confidently placed our Armies, at least three-quarters of which
are under British control.
At this point, I will take a little lubrication, if it is permissible. I think it is
always a great pleasure to the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of
Plymouth (.Viscountess Astor) to see me drinking water.
We have a joint arrangement with the Americans about Italy, and we should
be very sorry if it were proved that we had broken away from this joint arrange-
ment, and we have not done so, in any way. When, in the shifting tangles and
contortions of Italian politics with six parties rolling over each other, with all
their conflicts of political interests, none of them being hampered by having been
elected by anybody, in this confused scene, we were suddenly told that Count
Sforza was to become Prime Minister or Foreign Secretary. The British Minister,
Mr. Hopkinson, who is under the Ambassador, did undoubtedly say to the Italian
inquirer that we did not think this would be a particularly good choice, or words
to that effect. We had a perfect right to say this. We could not stop his being
chosen, but we had a right to say our say. We were entitled to say, as I say, that
we did not think it would help the conduct of Italian affairs to choose for this
office I man with whom Britain, if she counts for anything, would not care to
establish cordial relations.







16 British Speeches of the Day

The Sforza-Berle Letter
What is the reason for this prejudice on our part? I would not like to make
charges against public men without giving reasons, or one of the essential reasons.
Why is it that we, and I particularly, say we have no trust in him, that we do
not think he would be the sort of man we would like to have to do business with
round the table? I must go back to the time of the Italian cQllapse and surrender
in 1943.
Count Sforza, who had been living for 20 years in America, was very anxious
to get back to Italy. We did not think that this would be a good thing in the ex-
tremely disordered and tumultuous state in which Italy was left on the morrow
of her revolt against Germany. However, on September 23rd, Count Sforza sent
the following message to Marshal Badoglio, and repeated it in a letter to Mr.
Berle, from which I have the President's permission to quote:
"I have read with extreme interest, the statement of Marshal Badoglio of
the 16th September, 1943, unequivocally stating that he considers the defeat
of the Germans and their expulsion from Italy to be his primary duty and
urging all Italians to join in this struggle.
In my view, it now becomes the paramount duty of all Italians, irrespective
of party or political differences, to support and assist in the struggle to crush
'German Arms and to drive every German soldier from Italian soil.
So long as Marshal Badoglio is engaged in that task and is acceptable to
Allies in devoting Italian military resources to that struggle, I consider it crim-
nal to do anything to weaken his position or hamper his work in fighting for
the liberation of Italy and the Italian people. I am prepared to offer my full
support so long as he is thus engaged, all the more because it is the only way
to destroy the last criminal remnants of Fascism.
Matters of internal politics can, and should be, adjourned for the period
of the struggle, and activities, military and political, of all Italians who seek
freedom and the future of their Fatherland should be devoted to supporting the
organized forces which are endeavoring to overthrow the common enemy. I
pledge my honor to do this myself, and urge this course on my many friends
and associates."
As Count Sforza passed through London, I was anxious to ascertain whether
this was his sincere resolve or not, because something had appeared in another
paper which was of a different tenor. We had a meeting, at which the Minister of
State and Sir Alexander Cadogan, of the Foreign Office, were present. I went
through this letter with Count Sforza almost line by line, and he assured me that
it represented his most profound conviction. No sooner, however, had he got back
to Italy than he began that long series of intrigues which ended in the expulsion
of Marshal Badoglio from office. Many may be very glad of this, but it is not the
point I am considering. The poirt is whether he did not most completely, and
without explanation, depart, at a very early day, from the solemn undertaking he
gave, and without which we should have had power, I think, to convince our
American friends, with whom we act in common, that it would not be a good
thing for him to go back.
[MA. Bowles (Nuneaton): But the right hon. Gentleman supported Mussolini.)
In 1928? I certainly did, in the sense of making speeches to say that it was
a very good thing that Italy was not plunged into Bolshevism. ..
I am not a bit afraid of anything I have said in a long political life. I cer-
tainly thought, at that particular time, that the kind of regime set up in Italy at
that time was better than a general slump of Italy into the furious Bolshevik civil







The Liberated Countries


war which was raging in many other parts of Europe. I never see the slightest
good in going back on what you have said, and the hon. Member himself .has
views of his own which seem to be equally obnoxious to all parties in the House.
I have no particular need to defend Marshal Badoglio. It does not arise in
the course of the argument, except that we got from him the Italian Fleet, which
came over intact, except for the loss of one ship and 1,700 men, and there was
no moment in his tenure of office when he did not do his utmost to carry out
his bond and help to drive the Germans from Italy and keep good order behind
the lines. In other words, he helped Italy to work her passage home, which is by
no means yet completely accomplished.
Presently, he fell a victim to Count Sforza's intrigues, and a six-party Govern-
ment was formed under Signor Bonomi. Six parties were in the Government, but
none had the slightest electoral foundation. They were merely parties like the
Common Wealth party here and had just about the same claim to represent
democracy. We now did our best to help this new Government. I traveled to
Italy and interviewed Signor Bonomi and others, and took the greatest trouble to
draw up a series of mitigations in the treatment of Italy by the victorious Allies.
These I proposed to the President by telegraph, and, when we met at Quebec, and
when I stayed with him at his home at Hyde Park, we framed a joint declaration
designed to give Italians a good chance of playing their part as co-belligerents,
and also to make sure, as far as we could manage it, that the necessities of life
were not lacking to the masses of the people.
The six parties have now made another contortion. Signor Bopomi has fallen
and I understand he has now formed another Government of four out of the pre-
vious six parties. We wish him well. We have no objection at all to his forming
a Government of four parties. Indeed, it is a remarkable thing to keep together for
so many years. .. .

Greece and the Quebec Conference
The House will be glad that I now come to Greece, which forms the main-
spring of the Vote of Censure we have to meet today. I have taken great responsi-
bilities for our foreign policy towards Greece and also in respect of what has taken
place in Athens, and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have
worked in the closest agreement. On or about August 16th, it became evident that
the magnificent advance of the Russian Armies-[Hon. Members: "Bolsheviks."]
Oh, no. That is a very mischievous remark. Some hon. Members are always trying
to entrap me, when we have to have these difficult Debates on foreign affairs, into
saying something which would seem to be disrespectful to the splendid patriot
armies which have cleansed the soil of Russia.
I say that we have taken great responsibilities, and when in August it became
evident that the Russian advance along the Black Sea shore, and their probable
impact upon Rumania and Bulgaria was imminent, and this taken together with
the advance of the British and American Armies up the Italian Peninsula, and also
of the growing power of Marshal Tito and his Partisans-whom we have always
supported-would make the position of the Germans in Greece untenable. I there-
fore proposed to the President that we should try to gather forces to enter Greece
as and when the German position was sufficiently weakened, and, above all, to
save Athens from the anarchy and starvation which threatened it. I pointed out
that, if there was a long hiatus after the German authorities went from the city
before an organized Government could be set up, it was very likely that the E.A.M.
and the Communist extremists would attempt to seize the city and crush all other
forms of Greek expression but their own.






18 British Speeches of the Day

We had the right to express a point of view on the Greek question, because
in an attempt to redeem our pledged word, we have sustained 30,000 casualties, in
what may, perhaps, be called a chivalrous resolve to share the miseries of Greece
when she was invaded by Italy and Germany in 1941. At this time we were
all alone ourselves in the world. My honored friend, the President, was of opinion
that we should certainly have plans made and accordingly, at the Quebec Confer-
ence, it was proposed by the combined Chiefs of Staff that the British should pre-
pare a Force to occupy the Athens area and so pave the way for the commencement
of relief and for the establishment of law and order and for the installment of the
Greek Government, which we and the great bulk of the United Nations had
formally recognized. The Americans and ourselves began to accumulate large
masses of food and shipping, and established U.N.R.R.A. U.N.R.R.A. began to
grow up in Alexandria and other organizations for food distribution were actively
engaged, and we gathered our much strained shipping vessels together at the cost
of food to this country. A large part of these stores and medical relief were pro-
vided by America out of her riches. The rest of the burden fell upon us, and, of
course, the diminution of shipping falls heavily upon us.
The Lebanon Conference
The proposal of the combined Chiefs of Staff was initialled by the President
and me, and on September 14th, a directive was sent by the combined Chiefs of
Staff to General Wilson, the Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean, with
whom I had already consulted on the military aspects. He was instructed to take
the necessary action as and when he thought fit. All through 1944 we have had
the usual trouble with the Greek Government and Greek troops in Egypt. There
were mutinies and disorders; there were repeated resignations of Ministers and
repeated returns to office but out of this emerged a man, Papandreou, who had
lived all this time in Greece without being in the slightest degree subservient to
the enemy or losing his reputation in any way on such a charge, and when he
came out he restored order to the Greek Government, which is the constitutional
Government and which can only be displaced by a free vote of the people.
At an hotel in the Lebanon in May, 1944, a long meeting was held between
the Papandreou Government and leaders of all parties in Greece, including E.A.M.,
whom we brought out by air. An agreement was reached to establish a joint
Government which could take over power in Athens when, with or without the
power of the Allies, it was freed from the Germans. At the same time we prepared
m deepest secrecy our British expedition. We did not think it necessary to tell
anyone about it, not even the Greek Government. It was duly, authorized by the
British and American Chiefs of Staff and secrecy was all-important, and secrecy in
this case was also preserved. M. Papandreou repeatedly appealed to us in the
name of his Government of all parties, including the Communists and E.A.M.,
to come to the rescue with armed forces and was much disappointed when I was
unable to give him any definite reply. Our first move was to bring the Greek
Government from Cairo, where they were living to Caserta, which was the head-
quarters in Italy, so that they might be ready to go in should we at any time find
it possible to provide the troops, about which we said nothing. When all was in
readiness and the right moment came, General Wilson struck by air and by sea,
and this enterprise, like so many others, which the House must not forget in
judging this afternoon the fate of the National Government, was marked by
excellent timing and extreme efficiency and was also crowned with complete success.

The Greek Factions
The British troops were welcomed enthusiastically as they entered Athens and
so also was the Greek Brigade, which had mutinied earlier in the year but was freed







The Liberated Countries


from the mutinous element. I took great trouble about this Brigade to give it a
chance to redeem its reputation. It not only redeemed its reputation but won
renown for the Greek Army by entering Rimini at the head of the Allied Forces.
By wresting Rimini from the Germans, this Brigade now came back to Athens,
having heaped coals of fire upon the Italian heads who had invited the Germans
to ruin Greece. But how the Greeks helped the Italians to drive the Germans from
Italy itself, and this Brigade was received with a great welcome in the streets of
Athens. By this time M. Papandreou had gathered no less than six E.A.M. repre-
sentatives into his Government, and the leader of the Liberal Party M. Sophoulis,
a veteran and venerable counsellor of 84 or 85 years of age-[An Hon. Mem-
ber: "You are getting on."]-Oh yes, I am getting on; we are all getting on.
M. Sophoulis was already complaining that too many E.A.M. and Communist
representatives were already installed in places of power. M. Papandreou, how-
ever, is a man of the Left, a democrat, a Socialist, not a Liberal or anything like
that, in fact almost everything that is supposed to be correct nowadays, M. Papan-
dreou put his trust in those six gentlemen. . .
Meanwhile, the forces of E.L.A.S., which is the military instrument of E.A.M.,
were planning a descent on Athens as a military and political operation and the
seizure of power by armed force. E.L.A.S. is a mixed body and it would be un-
fair to stigmatize them all as being entirely self-seeking in their aims and actions.
Nevertheless, during the years of Greek captivity I must say that E.L.A.S. de-
voted far more attention to beating up and destroying the representatives of
the E.D.E.S., commanded by Colonel Zervas, a man of the Left by our standards.
Even extremes meet. He was less extreme than E.A.M. He was a man who
was correct according to the current jargon. The wrong element of the E.A.M.
devoted themselves more to attacking Zervas and his followers on the West side
of Greece than they did to attacking the Germans themselves. For the past two
years E.L.A.S. have devoted themselves principally to preparations for seizing
power. We may, some of us, have underrated the extremes to which those prepa-
rations have been carried or the many privations and cruelties which have been
inflicted on the village populations in the areas over which they prevail. [An
Hon. Member: "What is the evidence.?"] I have taken every pains to collect in-
formation and everything I say on fad in these matters has been most carefully
examined beforehand by the officials who are thoroughly acquainted with the
details. . .
E.L.A.S. did not hesitate on occasion to help the Germans to catch and kill
the supporters of E.D.E.S. The German rule in Greece was feeble and took
the form mainly of hideous reprisals upon the unhappy countryside and it was
from this that by a kind of tacit agreement that the Security Battalions, some of
which were a kind of local Home Guard of the villages against predatory
E.L.A.S. bands came into being. Others were formed and acted in a manner
contrary to the interests of the country. From the depredations and ravages of
E.L.A.S. there was, however, as we can now see, a fairly well organized plot or
plan by which E.L.A.S. should march down upon Athens and seize it by armed
force and establish a reign of terror under the. plea that they were purging col-
laborationists.
How much the Germans knew about this before they left I cannot tell, but a
number of them have been left behind and are fighting in E.L.A.S. ranks. Faced
by this prospect, the Greek Government containing the six E.A.M. Ministers tried
to arrange for a general disarmament to be followed by the creation of a Na-
tional Army or Home Guard of about 40,000 strong. This met with a ready
response in all districts which E.L.A.S. could not dominate, but the formation
of this National Army had not advanced to a point where they could offer







20 British Speeches of the Day

effective resistance to the organized movement of subversive forces, intending
to overwhelm the State by violence. Also, the police in Athens, who had lived
through the vicissitudes of the German tyranny were no sure guarantee of stability.
While all this was coming to a head, peace and order reigned in the city of the
violet crown. Sir David Waley and treasury experts toiled to save the drachma
and to re-establish a stable currency, and the British Navy and Merchant ships
were landing at the Piraeus stores, mainly American, which actually reached a
total, I am told, of 45,000 tons in a single week. We came therefore to Greece,
with American and Russian consent, at the invitation of the Government of all
parties, bearing with us such good gifts as liberty, order, food, and the assurance
of an absolute right to determine their own future as soon as conditions of normal
tranquillity were regained.

Why Worry About Greece?
I told the House that I would be frank with them. I have stated our action
in detail. I must admit that not everyone agreed with the course we have taken,
for which I accept the' fullest responsibility. There were those who said, "Why
worry about Greece?" I am not speaking of Cabinet discussions. I come in con-
tact with many streaks of opinion. They said, "Why worry about Greece? If
they have to starve, there are other countries in like plight. Haven't we enough
on our own hands without being lumbered into this job of the International Red
Cross, U.N.R.R.A., and maintaining order while the process of liberation and of
distribution of food is going on? Why not let Athens take its chance? What
does it matter to us if it falls under another tyranny when the Germans go,
and if its people starve? We have full occupation for every man that we can
call to our service for work against the German foe." Well, Sir, these are pow-
erful arguments, especially when put in a more attractive form than I have
cast them, but His Majesty's Government felt that having regard to the sacrifices
that they made at the time of the German invasion of Greece, and to the long
affection which has grown between the Greek and British people since their
liberation in the last century, and having regard also to the decisions and agree-
ments of our principal Allies, we should see what we could do to give these
unfortunate people a fair chance of extricating themselves from their misery
and starting on a clear road again. That is the only wish and ambition which
we had, or anyone in the British Government had, for our entry into Greece
and-for the action forced upon us there. That is our only wish and, personally,
I am not ashamed of it.
However, events began to move. The carefully prepared forces of E.L.A.S.
began to infiltrate into Athens and into the Piraeus. The other bodies began to
move down from the northern hills towards the city. The six E.A.M. Ministers
resigned from the Government at this timely moment. One gentleman, I believe
was a little slow, but, on being rung up on the telephone and told he would be
killed if he did not come out, he made haste to follow the general practice. The
intention of the "friends of democracy" who now entered the city was to over-
throw by violence the constitutional government of Greece and to install them-
selves without anything in the nature of an election, as the violent expression
of the people's will. And here the trouble came to a head. I repudiate, as I
have said, the idea that democracy can' stand upon a violent seizure of power by
unrepresentative men, or that it can be maintained by terrorism and the killing
of political opponents. No doubt there are others who have a different view. We,
however, were now assured by General Wilson-who is up to the present mo-
ment in actual charge of the Mediterranean--that we had ample Forces in Greece
and on the way. Moreover, we did not feel it compatible with our honor, or
with the obligations into which we have entered with many people in Greece







The Russo-Polish Border


in the course of our presence there, to wash our hands of the whole business,
make our way to the sea, as we easily could, and leave Athens to anarchy and
misery, followed by tyranny established on murder. We may not be level with
the strongest Powers in the modern world, but hitherto we have always been ready
to risk our blood and such treasure as we have to defend our honor.
In the small hours of Tuesday morning, with the full approval of my right
hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, I informed General Wilson that he was re-
sponsible for providing sufficient Forces on the spot, and very substantial num-
bers of highly trained troops which he had already sent were being reinforced.
At the same time I directed General Scobie, who has shown very great qualities
of sobriety, poise, and at the same time martial vigor, to assume complete control
of Athens and the district around it, and to use whatever force might be necessary
to drive out and extirpate, the E.L.A.S. bands by which the capital had then be-
come infested. I also directed our Ambassador to do his utmost to prevail upon
M. Papandreou, who seemed to wish to resign, to remain in power. I did this
because nothing could be more silly or futile or dangerous than to have violent
street fighting proceeding all around the Prime Minister's hotel while he was
endeavoring to transfer his powers to some other leader (perhaps M. Sophoulis,
84 years of age) and arranging with the five or six principal parties all the details
of a new administration. I thought it would be much better to have calm and
peace and order in Athens before any question of political change in the admin-
istration was embarked upon. It is a great pity to have everything in the melting
pot at once, though this is one of the well-known subversive methods by which
the undoing of States, great and small, has often been accomplished.
If I am blamed for this action I will gladly accept my dismissal at the hands
of the House; but if I am not so dismissed-make no mistake about it-we shall
persist in this policy of clearing Athens and the Athens region of all who are
rebels to the authority of the constitutional Government of Greece-of mutineers
to the orders of the supreme Commander in the Mediterranean under whom all
the guerillas have undertaken to serve. I hope I have made the position dear,
both generally as it affects the world and the war, and the Government, I have
no fear at all that the most searching inquiries into the policy we have pursued
in Europe-in Belgium, in Holland, in Italy and in Greece-the most searching
examination will entitle any man into whose breast fairness and fair-play enters,
to accuse us of pursuing reactionary policies, of hampering the free expression
of the national will, or of not endeavoring to enable the countries that have
suffered the curse of German occupation to resume again the normal, free, demo-
cratic life which they desire and which, as far as this House can act, we shall
endeavor to secure for them.
[House of Commons Debates)




RT. HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL
Prime Minister
House of Commons, December 15, 1944

In opening this Debate I find myself in a position to read to the House again
some extracts from the carefully considered statements that I made to them in
February, after I had returned from Teheran, and also in October, of the pres-
ent year. I rely upon those statements, and when I read them over again last







British Speeches of the Day


night in preparation for this Debate I found it very difficult to improve upon them
or alter them in any way. This may accuse me of infertility of mind, but it also
gives me some confidence that I have not misled the House or felt myself stulti-
fied, in all respects at any rate, by the harsh and unforeseeable movement of
events. It is not often that one wishes to repeat what one said two months ago,
and still less 10 months ago, but I propose to do so, because in no other way and
in no other words that I can think of can I remind the House and bring home to
them the grim, bare bones of the Polish problem.

The February Statement
On February 22nd, I said:
"At Teheran I took occasion to raise personally with Marshal Stalin the
question of the future of Poland and I pointed out that it was in fulfillment of
our guarantee to Poland that Great Britain declared war upon Nazi Germany
and that we had never weakened in our resolve, even in the period when we
were all alone, and that the fate of the Polish nation holds a prime place in
the thoughts and policies of His Majesty's Government and of the British
Parliament. It was with great pleasure that I heard from Marshal Stalin that
he, too, was resolved upon the creation and maintenance of a strong, integral,
independent Poland as one of the leading Powers in Europe. He has several
times repeated these declarations in public and I am convinced that they rep-
resent the settled policy of the Soviet Union. Here I may remind the House
that we ourselves have never in the past guaranteed, on the behalf of his Maj-
esty's Government, any particular frontier line to Poland. We did not ap-
prove of the Polish occupation of Vilna in 1920. The British view in 1919
stands expressed in the so-called Curzon Line which attempted to deal, at any
rate partially, with the problem. I have always held the opinion that all ques-
tions of territorial settlement and re-adjustment should stand over until the
and of the war and that the victorious Powers should then arrive at formal
and final agreements governing the articulation of Europe as a whole. That
is still the wish of His Majesty's Government. However, the advance of the
Russian Armies into Polish regions in which the Polish underground army is
active makes it indispensable that some kind of friendly working agreement
should be arrived at to govern the wartime conditions and to enable all anti-
Hitlerite forces to work together with the greatest advantage against the com-
mon foe.
"During the last few weeks"-
I may remind the House that I was speaking on February 22nd-
"the Foreign Secretary and I together have labored with the Polish G6vern-
ment in London with the object of establishing a working arrangement upon
which the Fighting Forces can act, and upon which, I trust, an increasing
structure of goodwill and comradeship may be built between Russians and
Poles. I have an intense sympathy with the Poles, that heroic race whose
national spirit centuries of misfortune cannot quench, but I also have sym-
pathy with the Russian standpoint. Twice in our lifetime Russia has been
violently assaulted by Germany. Many millions of Russians have been slain and
vast tracts of Russian soil devastated as a result of repeated German aggression
Russia has the right of reassurance against future attacks from the West, and
we are going all the way with her to see that she gets it, not only by the might
of her arms but by the approval and assent of the United Nations. The libera-
tion of Poland may presently be achieved by the Russian Armies after these
Armies have suffered millions of casualties in breaking the German military
machine. I cannot feel that the Russian demand for a reassurance about her







Thd Russo-Polish Border


Western frontiers goes beyond limits of what is reasonable or just. Marshal
Stalin and I also spoke and agreed upon the need for Poland to obtain com-
pensation at the expense of Germany both in the north and in the west."-(Offi-
cial Report 22nd February, 1944; Vol. 397, c. 698.)

The October Statement
I said that nearly a year ago. I have nothing to alter in it from the point of
view of His Majesty's Government. On October 27, more recently, I reported
upon my last visit to Moscow and I said:
"The most urgent and burning question was of course that of Poland, and
here again, I speak words of hope, of hope reinforced by confidence."
I am afraid this does not hold in the same degree at the present time.
"To abandon hope in this matter would indeed be to surrender to despair.
In this sphere there are two crucial issues. The first is the question of the
Eastern frontier of Poland with Russia and the Curzon Line, as it is called,
and the new territories to be added to Poland in the north and in the west.
That is the first issue. The second is the relation of the Polish Government
with the Lublin National Liberation Committee. On these two points, apart
from many subsidiary and ancillary points, we held a series of conferences
with both parties. ...
"I wish I could tell the House that we had reached a solution of these
problems. It is certainly not for want of trying. I am quite sure, however,
that we have got a great deal nearer to the solution of both."
I say that this part is subject to some review in the light of events.
"I hope Mr. Mikolajczyk will soon return to Moscow, and it will be a
great disappointment to all the sincere friends of Poland, if a good arrange-
ment 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 rec-
ognize only the Polish Government in London. Although I do not under-
rate 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 en-
tirely coincide or correspond with the pre-war frontiers of Poland, will never-
theless be adequate for the needs of the Polish nation and not inferior in
character and quality, taking the picture as a whole, to what they previously
possessed.
"These are critical days and it would be a great pity if time were wasted
in indecision or in protracted negotiation. If the Polish Government had
taken the advice we tended them at the beginning of this year, the additional
complication produced by the formation of the Polish National Committee of
Liberation at Lublin would not have arisen, and anything like a prolonged de-
lay in the settlement can only have the effect of increasing the division be-
tween Poles in Poland and also of hampering the common action which the
Poles, the Russians and the rest of the Allies are taking against Germany.
Therefore, as I say, I hope that no time will be lost in continuing these dis-
cussions and pressing them to an effective conclusion."-Official Report, 27th
October, 1944; Vol. 404, c. 494-5.)






24 British Speeches of the Day

Hopes Have Faded:
The hopes which I thought it proper, and indeed necessary, to express in
October, have faded. When M. Mikolajczyk left Moscow my hope was that
he would return within a week or so with the authority of the Polish Govern-
ment in London, to agree about the Polish frontiers on the basis of the Curzon
Line and its prolongation to the southward called "the Curzon Line A," which
comprises, on the Russian side the city of Lvov. I have several times drawn Mr.
Mikolajczyk's attention to the dangers of delay. Had he been able to return after
the very friendly conversations which passed between him and Marshal Stalin,
and also the conversations which he had with the Lublin National Liberation Com-
mittee; had he been able to return, with the assent of his colleagues, I believe that
the difficulties inherent in the forming of a Polish Government in harmony with
the Lublin Committee, might well have been overcome. In that case he would be
at this moment at the head of a Polish Government, on Polish soil, recognized
by all the United Nations, and awaiting the advance of the Russian Armies mov-
ing farther into Poland as the country was delivered from the Germans. He would
also be assured in his task of the friendship and help of Marshal Stalin. Thus he
could at every stage have established a good relationship between the Polish
underground movement and the advancing Russians, and a Polish Administra-
tion would have been set up by him in the newly delivered regions as they
expanded.
I have the greatest respect for M. Mikolajczyk, and for his able colleagues
who joined us at Moscow, M. Romer and M. Grabski. I am sure they are more
qualified to fill the place of the late General Sikorski than any other of the Polish
leaders. After endless discussions, into some of which we were drawn, on M.
Mikolajczyk's return from Moscow the Poles utterly failed to obtain agreement.
In consequence, on November 24th, M. Mikolajczyk, M. Romer, and a number
of other Polish Ministers, resigned from the Polish Government, which has been
almost entirely reconstituted in a form which in some respects I certainly am
not able to applaud. M. Mikolajczyk and his friends remain, in the view of
His Majesty's Government, the only light which burns for Poland in the im-
mediate future.

Dangers for Poland in Disagreement
Just as I said that if the Polish Government had agreed, in the early part of
this year, upon the frontier there never would have been any Lublin Committee
to which Soviet Russia had committed herself, so I now say that if M. Mikolajczyk
could swiftly have returned to Moscow early in November, as he hoped and
expected to do, with the power to conclude an agreement on the frontier line,
Poland might now have taken her full place in the ranks of the nations con-
tending against Germany, and would have had the full support and friendship
of Marshal Stalin and the Soviet Government. That opportunity, too, has been,
for the time being, suspended. This prospect has vanished like the last. One is
reminded of the story of the Sybilline books, in which on every occasion the
price remained the same and the number of volumes decreased, until at last
they had had to be bought on the most unfavorable terms. M. Mikolajczyk's
ordeal has been a most severe and painful one. Torn between the love of his
country and the intense desire to reach a settlement with her mighty neighbor,
which was most abhorrent to many of his fellow countrymen, confronted with
the obstinate and inflexible resistance of his London colleagues, whose veto
was like the former Liberum Veto, which played so great a part in the ruin of
Poland, with these circumstances around him, M. Mikolajczyk decided to resign.
Almost a month has passed since then, and now I imagine that the prospects
of a reconciliation between the Polish Government and the Lublin Committee,







The Russo-Polish Border


with the Soviet Government behind him, have definitely receded; although they
*might perhaps advance again were M. Mikolajczyk able to speak with authority
for the fortunes of the Polish nation.
The consequences of this rescission of hopes of a working agreement between
Russia and the Poles have been masked to British eyes by the fact that the
Russian Armies on the long Vistula Front have been motionless, but when they
move forward, as move forward they surely will, and the Germans are expelled
from large new tracts of Poland, the area administered by thg Lublin Committee
will grow and its contacts with the Soviet Government will become more intimate
and strong. I do not know what misfortunes will attend such a development. The
absence of an agreement may well be grievous for Poland, and the relationship
and misunderstandings between the advancing Russian Armies and the Polish
underground movement may take forms which will be most painful to all who
have the permanent well-being of Poland and her relationship with Russia at
.heart. The fact that a Prime Minister resigns and that a new Government is
formed does not, of course, affect the formal diplomatic relationship between
States. We still recognize the Polish Government in London as the Government
of Poland, as we have done since they reached our shores in the early part of
this war. This course has been continued up to the present by all the rest of the
United Nations, excepting only Russia which is the Power most concerned and
the Power whose armies will first enter the heart of Poland. It is a source of
grief to me that all these forces could not have been joined together more speedily
against the common foe.

What Poland Would Gain
I cannot accept the view that the arrangements 'which have to be proposed
about the frontiers of the new Poland are not solid and satisfactory, or that they
would not give to Poland that "abiding home" of which I spoke to the House
in February. If Poland concedes Lvov and the surrounding regions in the South,
on the line known as Curzon Line A, which my right hon. Friend the Foreign
Secretary will deal with in more detail later on in the Debate-if Poland makes
this concession and these lands are joined to the Ukraine, she will gain in the
North the whole of East Prussia west and south of the fortress of Koenigsberg,
including the great city and port of Danzig, one of the most magnificent cities
and harbors in the whole of the world, famous for centuries as a great gathering
place of the trade of the Baltic; and indeed, of the world. This will be hers
instead of the threatened and artificial Corridor, which was built so laboriously
after the last war, and Poland will stretch broadly along the Baltic on a front of
over 200 miles. The Poles are free, so far as Russia and Great Britain are con-
cerned, to extend their territory, at the expense of Germany, to the West. I do
not propose to go into exact details, but the extensions, which will be supported
by Britain and Russia, bound together as they are by the 20 years' Alliance,
are of high importance. Thus, they gain in the West and North territories more
important and more highly developed than they lose in the East. We hear that
a third of Poland is to be conceded, but I must mention that that third includes
the vast track of the Pripet Marshes, a most desolate region, which, though it
swells the acreage, does not add to the wealth of those who own it.

Transfer of Populations
Thus I have set before the House what is, in outline, the offer which the
Russians, on whom the main burden of liberation still falls, make to the Polish
people. I cannot believe that such an offer should be rejected by Poland. It
would, of course, have to be accompanied by the disentanglement of populations







26 British Speeches of the Day

in the East and in the North. The transference of several millions of people
would have to be effected from the East to the West or North, as well as the ex-
pulsion of the Germans-because that is what is proposed: the total expulsion,
of the Germans-from the area to be acquired by Poland in the West and the
North. For expulsion is the method which, so far as we have been able to see,
will be the most satisfactory and lasting. There will be no mixture of popula-
tions to cause endless trouble, as has been the case in Alsace-Lorraine. A clean sweep
will be made. I am not alarmed by the prospect of the disentanglement of popu-
lations, nor even by* these large transferences, which are more possible in modern
conditions than they ever were before.
The disentanglement of populations which took place between Greece and
Turkey after the last war-my noble Friend opposite may remember-was in many
ways, a success, and has produced friendly relations between Greece and Turkey
ever since. That disentanglement, which at first seemed impossible of achieve-
ment, and about which it was said that it would strip Turkish life in Anatolia of
so many necessary services, and that the extra population could never be assimilated
or sustained by Greece having regard to its own area and population-I say that
disentanglement solved problems which had before been the causes of immense
friction, of wars and of the rumors of wars. Nor do I see why there should not
be room in Germany for the German populations of East Prussia and of the
other territories I have mentioned. After all, 6,000,000 to 7,000,000 Germans
have been killed already in this frightful war, into which they did not hesitate,
for a second time in a generation, to plunge all Europe. At the present time,
we are told that they have 10,000,000 or 12,000,000 prisoners or foreigners
used as slaves in Germany, who will, we hope, be restored to their own homes
and lands when victory is gained. Moreover, we must expect that many more
Germans will be killed in the fighting which will occupy the spring and summer
and which we must expect will involve the largest and fiercest battles yet fought
in this war.

A Firm Offer
When these ideas, which arose at the Teheran Conference, were first fore-
shadowed by me to the House, the British and American Armies had not landed
on the Continent. France was not liberated. She was powerless, not like now
when she is rising with great rapidity to a strong and fine position among the
nations of the world. The armies of General Eisenhower did not stand along the
Rhine when these matters were discussed. They were still gathering in this is-
land, not along the Rhine where they are now growing in strength as the waves
of American manhood cross the Atlantic and take their places in the crusade
and in the line of battle. Nor had the Russians advanced to the Vistula; vast
distances separated them even from the frontiers of Poland. Nor was one large
German Army cut off in Courland, the peninsula which has Memel and Libau
at its base. Nor was there that great position which the Russian Armies held
in the extreme north, with their right hand, nor was their left hand reaching out
beyond Budapest in the south, threatening an advance into the very heart of
Austria. Nor had Rome been occupied, nor the Apennines pierced.
In those days, the Poles might well have had some show of reason in asking
whether the great Allies would have the power, even if they were so minded,
to deliver the new territories to Poland which were to compensate her for what
she was giving up in the East, but the situation has changed vastly in favor of
the Allies and it seems to me extremely unlikely that, after the spring and sum-
mer campaigns have been fought-if it be necessary to go so far in the business,
and we shall go whatever distance is necessary to complete our object-it seems






The Russo-Polish Border


extremely unlikely that the evil and hateful forces in Germany, who plotted,
planned and began this war, will have the power to resist the decisions of a
peace or armistice conference, at which the principal victorious Powers will be
.assembled. The prospects of final victory have, in the time that has passed since
these matters were first discussed at Teheran, become for the Allies solid and
spacious. Therefore, as I say, it has always been said by the Poles, when I have
been discussing the matter with them here, "we know what we have to give up:
what certainty have we of receiving compensation in other quarters?" They
have much more certainty of it now than at this time last year. In fact, I can-
not see any doubt whatever that the Great Powers, if they agree, can effect the
transference of population.

America Silent on Foreign Policy
I find great difficulty in discussing these matters, because the attitude of the
United States has not been defined with the precision which His Majesty's Govern-
ment have thought it wise to use. The friendship of the United States Govern-
ment for Poland, no less than our own, the large mass of Poles who have made
their homes in the United States, and are, or are becoming, American citizens,
the constitutional difficulties of the United States in making treaties and foreign
agreements of every kind-all these have not enabled the Government of that
great nation to speak in the terms which I have thought it my duty, with the
assent of my colleagues, to use in this House. We know, however, that the
Government and people of the United States have set their hearts upon a world
organization to prevent the outbreak of future wars, and that this world organi-
zation will be fatally ruptured by a quarrel between any of the three most power-
ful Empires which compose the Grand Alliance of the United Nations. The
President is aware of everything that has passed and of all that is in the minds
both of the Russians and of the British. He had, at Moscow, in Mr. Averell
Harriman, the U. S. Ambassador, a most accomplished representative, who in the
capacity of observer, was present at all, or nearly all, of our Polish talks on the
occasion of our last visit. The President has, therefore, been kept fully informed,
not only by His Majesty's Government, "but also by his own highly competent
and distinguished representatives, and by all the many sources and channels that
are open to the unceasing vigilance of the State Department.
I am particularly careful not ever to pretend to speak in the name of any
other Power unless so directed beforehand, and I hope the House will make
allowances for the care with which I pick my words upon this point. All I can
say is that I have received no formal disagreement in all these long months upon
the way in which the future of Poland seems to be shaping itself-or is being
shaped-but no doubt when the time comes the United States will make their
own pronouncement on these matters, bearing in mind, as they will the practical
aspect which they assume and also that failure on the part of the three greatest
Powers to work together would damage all our hopes for a future structure, a
world government which, whatever else it may fail to do, will at any rate be
equipped with all the powers necessary to prevent the outbreak of further war.
Decision Now to Avoid Bloodshed
It is asked, why cannot all questions of territorial changes be left over till the
end of the war? I think that is a most pertinent question and it is, in fact, the
answer which I and the Foreign Secretary gave in almost every case that has been
presented to us. Well, Sir, I understand the argument. The armies, it is said, may
move here and there, their front may advance or recede, this country or that may
be in occupation of this space of ground or the other, but it is at the peace table
alone that the permanent destiny of any land or people will be decided. Why






British Speeches of the Day


cannot that be said in this case? It can be said in every case, or almost every
case, except in that of Poland. So why should Poland be excepted from this general
rule? It is only for Polish advantage and to avoid great evils which might occur.
The Russian Armies-I know nothing of their intentions, I am speaking only of
what is obvious to anyone who studies the war map-will probably, during the early
part of next year traverse large areas of Poland, driving the Germans before them.
If, during those marches, fierce quarrels and fighting break out between large sec-
tions of the Polish population and the Russian troops, very great suffering-which
can still be avoided--will infallibly occur, and new poisoned wounds will be in-
flicted upon those who must dwell side by side in peace, confidence and good neigh-
borliness if the tranquility of Europe is to be assured or the smooth working of the
world organization for the maintenance of peace is to be created and maintained.
All these matters are among the most serious which could possibly be examined
as far as our present lights allow. Our British principle has been enunciated that,
as I have said, all territorial changes must await the conference at the peace table
after the victory has been won, but to that principle there is one exception, and
that exception is, changes mutually agreed. It must not be forgotten that in the
Atlantic Charter is, I think, inserted the exception that there should be no changes
before the peace table except those mutually agreed. I am absolutely convinced
that it is in the profound future interest of the Polish nation that they should
reach agreement with the Soviet Government about their disputed frontiers in
the East before the march of the Russian Armies through the main part of Poland
takes place. That is the great gift they have to make to Russia, a settlement now
at this time which gives the firm title of mutual agreement to what might other-
wise be disputed at the Peace Conference. I must, however, say, because I am most
anxious the House should understand the whole position, speaking on behalf of
His Majesty's Government in a way which I believe would probably be held bind-
ing by our successors, that at the Conference we shall adhere to the lines which
I am now unfolding to the House, and shall not hesitate to proclaim that the Rus-
sians are justly treated, and rightly treated, in being granted the claim they make
to the Eastern frontiers along the Curzon Line as described.

Danger of Ideological War
The Foreign Secretary and I have labored for many months, we have spared
no labor of travel, no risk of political rebuff and consequent censure, in our effort
to bring about that good understanding between the Poland whom we still recog-
nize' and the mighty Ally which has so heavily smitten the German military power.
We have never weakened in any way in our resolve that Poland shall be restored
and stand erect as a sovereign, independent nation, free to model her social
institutions or any other institutions in any way her people choose, provided, I
must say, that these are not on Fascist lines, and provided that Poland stands
loyally as a barrier and friend of Russia against German aggression from the West.
And in this task, of course, Poland will be aided to the full by a Russian and
British guarantee and assistance and will also, I cannot doubt, though I cannot
declare, be. aided by the United States acting at least through the world organi-
zation which we are determined to erect-that she and the whole of the United
Nations are determined to erect-for the salvation of mankind toiling here below
from the horrors of repeated war.
Another great war, especially an ideological war, fought as it would be not
only on frontiers but in the heart of every land with weapons far more destructive
than men have yet wielded, would spell the doom, perhaps for many centuries, of
such civilization as we have been able to erect since history began to be written.
!It is that peril which according to the best judgment of this National Govern-
ment of all parties, which has so lately renewed its troth to stand together for the






The Athens Press Conference


duration of the war against Germany-it is that peril that we have labored and
are striving sincerely and faithfully to ward off. Other powerful States are with
us on each side, more powerful States perhaps even than the British Empire and
Commonwealth of Nations. We can only try our best, and if we cannot solve
the problem we can at least make sure that it is faced in all its somber magnitude
while time remains.

"There Ought to be a Meeting"
I have spoken of fading hopes and of disappointment at the failure to reach
a Russo-Polish Agreement, but there has been another disappointment. It has
been impossible to arrange any meeting of the three Great Powers. We had good
grounds for believing that we might have met before Christmas. Indeed, I confi-
dently expected that we should, but so far, however, although the prospect is
earnestly looked forward to, nothing definite has been settled. Therefore, the
strong, authoritative, if provisional decisions which are now required, not only
on the Russo-Polish question, but on a host of vital matters, political international,
military and economic, apart from such progress as can be made by correspondence
and individual visits, stand at the bar and wait. There ought to be a meeting
at least of the three Great Powers at the earliest possible moment. So far as I
and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary are concerned, we can only repeat
what has been said so often, that we will proceed to any place at any time, under
any conditions, where we can meet the heads of our two chief Allies, and we should
welcome, above all, a meeting in this island, a meeting in Great Britain, which
has waged war from the very outset and has risked, without flinching, national
annihilation in the cause of freedom.
[House of Commons Debates]



RT. HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL
Prime Minister
At a Press Conference, Athens, December 27, 1944
I asked you to come here because I did not want to leave Athens without in-
terchanging courtesies between us. I have always found that that was a good
thing between journalists. Of course we feel that our policy has been right. There
are two questions. One is: Ought the British to have come to Greece? And the
second is: What ought we to have done when the civil war broke out in August?
Reasons for British Action
I interchanged telegrams with the President, as the result of which he agreed
with me that we should come in as quickly as we could on the tail of the Ger-
mans, to help push them out of the country, and to bring in food and make sure
it could be distributed so that things could settle down quietly-as they should
in any normal country. The question was put to Marshal Stalin and he gave his
agreement. Obviously it is very desirable to have this part of the world tranquil
and beginning to get its living again. Then there was the military conference
at Caserta when the Germans began leaving the Peloponnesos. Thus we were in-
vited to come in by a Greek Government which represented all the political
parties, including the Communists and the E.A.M. We received an invitation
from an all-party Greek Government. We held the meeting at Caserta to settle
the military aspect, and we had General Serafis there representing E.L.A.S.; and
so we came in.






British Speeches of the Day


Then' there was an interval of a month or six weeks when the Greek politi-
cians talked and talked, and struggled against internal unrest and tried to form
some kind of an army. Meanwhile, other people gathered from the north and
from the hills and entered the capital, and all of a sudden, as you know too well
for me to have to tell you, a situation of great gravity arose here. It is certainly
clear to me that there would have been a massacre in this city if we had not in-
tervened with our troops, few though they then were. How big the massacre
would have been, what form it would have taken, what government would have
emerged from it, what personalities, what ideologies, I cannot tell: I have got
my view, but everybody can form his own. Certainly, in my opinion, there would
have been a very serious massacre. There is usually a moment of great weakness
when the German tyranny has broken, when public men are few and far be-
tween, and when you have to set up something which enables the light of the
country to burn again, the ordinary men and women to go about their business
and walk the streets in safety; and it is that that we have endeavored to bring.
False Rumors and Reports
A tale has been telegraphed all over the world that we were supporting a
Fascist government, endeavoring to impose a particular rule on this country,
endeavoring to bring back the King, endeavoring to,get some advantage or last-
ing control or influence for ourselves out of it. All those stories are absolutely
without the slightest foundation. We seek nothing from Greece; we look for
no selfish advantages. We want no territory. We do not require bases or any-
thing like that. As for money, we would rather give it than take it. There is
nothing we want of any kind from Greece, except her friendship. That is all we want.
I rely upon you to give publicity to myl absolutely plain statement on these mat-
ters as to why we came, and also as to whether we were right to intervene to
prevent what we believe would have been a massacre. Many of you who are on
the spot formed your own opinions about that. Having got into the business, we
have contracted many grave responsibilities. We have driven the rebels from the
immediate center of the city. We have enough troops here and on the way to
make us complete masters of the city of Athens and the territory of Attica which
surrounds it; and the sooner the other side see reason, the sooner the lighting
will stop. But it will not stop until that result has been achieved, either by friend-
ly negotiations or by the increasing use of military weapons. How could we lay
aside our task now, at this point? You have seen yourselves, for instance, that
there are thousands of Greeks in Athens who have been formed into regiments
of National Guards. If we went away, and the other side came in, they and all
who have shown us friendliness would be liable to be punished by the conquerors
with whatever severity they might choose. When people have come into the open
and given you their help, you cannot leave them like that, nor will we, until
there are the guarantees that we can believe for a fair, decent government which
will not pay off old scores either way. This is a very difficult thing to do.
The Conference Meets
When we came here, we thought it best to tty to get a conference. The con-
ference assembled last night. We invited E.L.A.S. to come and their principal
leaders came; and we brought the Greeks together under the chairmanship of
Archbishop Damaskinos. After they had been brought together and various
speeches made which, as you have seen, have been published to the world, we
left them. We had with us representatives of the United States, of France, and
of Soviet Russia as observers. We all then left afterwards, and discussions pro-
ceeded between the Greeks alone for a long time, as a result of which they met
again. They are now meeting at the Greek Foreign Office. I do not know ex-







The Athens Press Conj*rence 31

actly what results they will reach, for I have bnly had some partial accounts
of what has transpired. I cannot tell what has happened because I do not know
-which is a very good reason-but I hope to know before this evening is out
what has happened, more or less. Perhaps it will be prolonged till tomorrow,
but I am hoping that we shall see our way clear tonight. We are absolutely de-
termined that the whole of this built-up area must be cleared of armed persons
not under the control'of any recognized government, and that a sufficient area
all around must be cleared. We shall use whatever force is necessary to obtain
that object. Then we must hope that some good sense will come to this tortured
people, that they will see that there is some purpose in working together, in
giving Greece a chance to regain the glories which she won in repulsing the at-
tack of Italy, and that she must take her place among the United Nations in-
stead of being a society without integration or formation of any kind, as she
is at present-torn to pieces by passions, jealousies and rivalries to an extent
most painful to those who wish her well, I think that ought to set before you
the very simple reasons which led the Foreign Secretary and me to come at a
time when everything is not entirely quiet in Belgium and on the frontiers of
Germany, and to see if we could get started some sensible settlement which
could easily be reached in any country where people did not feel their politics
so intensely that they may ruin themselves thereby. We have done our best to
bring them together in order to abridge the fighting and the misery.
[Question: Is there any question of an amnesty for the E.L.A.S. leaders?]
Obviously, if there is a cessation of fighting there ought not to be a proscrip'
tion either way.
[Question: Can you suggest what might happen if no agreement is reached?]
If no agreement is reached, the guns will go on firing as they are now. Troops
will clear this area, and we shall establish security and peace and order in Attica.
As to whether there could then be some votes taken in the area which would be
liberated from disorders and perils of every kind, that would be a matter to be
studied. And of course we must expect that, in a not very long time, the Presi-
dent and Mr. Stalin and myself, with our advisers, will meet together and we
will then review this situation, because if we cannot get a satisfactory and a
trustworthy democratic foundation you may have to have for the time being an
international trust of some kind or other. We cannot afford to see whole peoples
drifting into anarchy.
[Question: Having come and seen the situation at first hand, what do you
consider to be at the bottom of the present crisis?]
I have a very clear idea, but I do not want to use language which might give
offense to any section in Greece at the moment. I am hoping that they will find
some way of solving their differences. There is a moment of great danger in
every country, when it has been under German oppression and passes from that
oppression into taking over its own affairs. There are no means of holding fair
and free elections of any kind.
[Question: Could you enlighten us on the attitude of the King of Greece
towards a Regency?]
.You are very right to mention the King of Greece. If it is established to
be the wish of all parties, or nearly all the parties, and of the principal elements
that still constitute what is left of the life of Greece, if it is their wish to have
a regency, I should be hopeful that he would take that course: but it'is not for
me to say what he would or would not do. Of one thing I am sure: that he will
not come back here unless a plebiscite of the people desires his return.
[By Cable]







British Speeches of the Day


RT. HON. ANTHONY EDEN
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
House of Commons, December 1, 1944

The hon. Gentleman the Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. Graham White)
always gives a thoughtful contribution to our Debates, and if the House will bear
with me, I would like to touch upon one or two of the matters he raised, because
they are matters which happen to interest me personally very deeply also. I agree
with every word he said on the problem of books, of getting our books and
information about our ways of life today well spread abroad in Europe. One of
the things that impressed me most in Paris the other day was how little our French
friends knew of the war effort of this country and of the conditions in which we
have been living. When you come to think of it, it is natural enough, because
they have been cut off by German propaganda and the curtain which has been
dropped round France. I think the hon. Gentleman is absolutely right when he
says that it should be an urgent effort of ours to see that our own contribution in
literature, this country's contribution, should be made available to Europe as rapidly
and as speedily as possible.

Intellectual Co-operation
I was glad to hear also what he said about the British Council. Of course, no
organization is perfect. Let me hurry to reassure the hon. Member for Keighley
(Mr. Ivor Thomas) who was slightly critical. In point of fact any organization
of this kind which develops at the enormous speed at which this organization has
done-when I first pressed it on the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day it was
a very small organization with a vote of 10,000, extracted with difficulty, and it
has now grown into a very large organization indeed--obviously, such an organi-
zation requires pruning and reorganizing from time to time. But the concept be-
hind it is undoubtedly right, and will, I hope, be supported not only by this
Government but by subsequent Governments also.
I also liked what the hon. Gentleman said on the question of intellectual
contacts with Europe, and especially on this question of languages. Both the Prime
Minister and I discussed this question at Moscow with Marshal Stalin and
M. Molotov; it was one of the subjects we discussed one evening, the question of
contacts between our two countries on a literary and a language basis. There is
no doubt that a very great effort is being made in Russia today in the teaching
of English, and we have to get going to see that we do not drop far behind in
a comparable effort on our part. We are taking steps here, but it is difficult to
exaggerate the limitations which exist today owing to the language barrier. It is
also difficult to overestimate the importance of meeting them. One is apt only too
easily to be old-fashioned and to think that particular languages which were taught
in the nineteenth century still hold their position today. But all that is changed
and certainly, as far as the Foreign Office examinations are concerned, we have
had that very much in mind, and there is to be a readjustment in the languages which
we propose to set for the examination.

M.P.' Visits Abroad
This Debate, as is right and proper, has ranged very far and wide during the
last two days. There has been no Government spokesman since my right hon.
Friend opened the discussion. We thought it better to give the House a full
opportunity to say all it wanted to say. I must apologize if this afternoon I take
rather longer than I usually do, but I want to answer as many of the questions






Foreign Affairs 33

as I possibly can and to try to deal with all the main matters that were raised.
Some of them, notably in a speech by my right hon. Friend the Member for Devon-
port (Mr. Hore-Belisha) and my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Sir
John Wardlaw-Milne) will, I think, be dealt with next week in the course of
the discussion on trade and economic matters. I have taken notes and given them
to my colleagues on the various points, which range a little wider than our dis-
cussion of the last two days. I propose to apply myself first to what I may call
a domestic matter, namely, the movement of Members of Parliament. In the second
place I want to.deal with certain aspects of foreign policy which have been raised
and, in the third place, to say something in reply to criticism about a certain sen-
tence in the Gracious Speech which reads, "as opportunity serves."
With regard to traveling, I felt very troubled about the hon. Member for
Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan). He was quite worried about what would happen to
him if he happened to be a silent supporter of the Government. I think he is
quite right to be worried about that prospect, but I do not think he is in any
great danger of ever reaching that position. He was also worried about what may
possibly happen to me if I am in political or intellectual quarantine. I am not
sure that I know what that means-it sounds a slightly totalitarian expression-but
I think he can be trusted to escape from that. He said he thought the decision
that has been taken must be due to a desire to keep him here. He will acquit me
of discourtesy if I say, as Leader of the House, that that would not be at all
my ambition. It never occurred to me that it was to my interest to do my utmost
to keep him here. I think I ought to say in support of my right hon. Friend the
Home Secretary that the decision that he announced to the House was the decision
of the Government. I read the discussion that took place last night, and I have
heard what has been said today, and it seems to me that the House takes a more
pessimistic view of what my right hon. Friend said than his actual words warrant.
Towards the end there was a great deal of commotion so perhaps everyone did
not hear it, but he said:
"Finally, may I say this, that it is the hope of the Government that the
transport situation will be improved. As I said at the beginning, there is no
wish that Members of Parliament should not go to France. It is a matter of
ways and means, and the Home Office has to be equitable and fair, as between
individual and individual." (Official Report, 30th November, 1944; Vol. 406,
c. 197)
The actual position, as I see it, is that the Government cannot promise that
every Member of Parliament will be able to go to France as and when an inhi-
vidual Member of Parliament may desire to go. There are problems not only of
transport but, still more, of accommodation at the other end. It may be possible
to stay at the Embassy but the problems of accommodation are real. The Govern-
ment desire closer contacts between the two Parliaments and I should hope that
we shall be able to organize before very long some contacts between Members of
this House and Members of the French Parliament-a group appointed to go from
here to France and for one to come here. . .

Congressmen's Visit Arranged by U. S.
These visits have to be made at present by transport at Government expense
and I do not think hon. Members themselves would say that whenever they want
to go they must be allowed to go. All I say is that I think we can, by con-
sultation, find means of arranging these contacts which will not exclude Members
because they are not supporters of the Government. I wish I could convince the
hon. Member that we gain by those who are not our supporters disappearing for
a short time. No one will ever suggest that I have tried to stop the hon. Member






34 British Speeches of the Day

from going abroad because he does not agree with us. I am optimistic enough
to think that, if he visits some countries, he will come back and support the
Foreign Office when he returns. The matter can be further discussed, but we are
not adopting the attitude that Members are in no circumstances to go abroad.
I ought in fairness to say something about the United States of America Congress
Delegation. It is a Delegation of the Military Affairs Committee of Congress who
have come to inspect United States military establishments here and in France and
they are going on to North Africa and Italy. They are traveling under the auspices
of the American military authorities. . .
To return to the Far East, arrangements have been made for aid to China by
an international agreement between ourselves and the United States and that agree-
ment, of course, must stand. I am not sure that my hon. Friend the Member for
Kidderminster knew how much is being done by us to bring aid directly to China.
I will give two examples. A number of Chinese air cadets are being trained in
this country now and another 600 to 700 are being trained by the Government of
India in India. These cadets will fly in the Chinese Air Force. In a number of
ways like that we are fully conscious of the importance of working together with
our Chinese friends, and I do not think that my hon. Friend need be apprehensive
that that is being neglected.

The Future of Germany
Now I come to matters nearer home, about which I have a few things to say.
Several Members have spoken about the future of Germany, including my hon.
and gallant Friend the Member for Rusholme (Major Cundiff), who yesterday
made a notable maiden speech on this subject. As I listened to him and another
hon. Member opposite speaking about Germany I thought that the essential factor
we have to remember in deciding on our plans and policy for the future is that
in the German character the unquestioned authority of the State is what counts
for most. The average German is the instrument of the State to an extent which
is incomprehensible to us. He belongs to the State, and the State does not belong
to him. I see no signs of that in this country, and I believe that the authority we
enjoy in the world today is precisely because we represent the complete antithesis
of the German state conception. This acceptance of the State, since the days of
the Prussians, has made Germans ready to aid any leader who wants to guide
them into fields of aggression. With the German, the larger the State the more
remote and the more majestic is the authority he is prepared to follow into battle
or wherever he is led. Germans believe that it is the destiny of their race to
be the dominating Power in Europe; that is far more important to them than
either the freedom of the individual or the dignity of any particular man or
woman. Unless we are seized of that we do not understand the foundation on
which Nazi doctrine was so easily superimposed. It was acceptable to the average
German because it expressed in aggressive forms the belief which the average
German has had for 200 years or more. ...
It is quite true that the Nazis were in a minority for a long time, but it is
equally true that with a few gallant exceptions the Nazi doctrine was acceptable
to the German race. It was accepted because it fitted into the belief that the
Germans were the dominant race, which is the thing that the Germans are taught.
I want to give the House an example of that. . It fell to my lot to act for
some time as rapporteur on the Danzig issue and I saw the methods which the
Germans developed there and their attitude to the Poles, or whoever was con-
cerned. It was, "I am the master race, and I should be treated as the master
race. If I am not treated as the master race, I am not getting justice." Of course,
I am not saying that this is a new discovery; it is well known to everybody who







Foreign Affairs


has studied German history, but, nevertheless, it is a matter we should have in
our minds in considering the German problem. Every report the Government gets
on many of these subjects shows that it is among the younger generation, between
the ages of 16 and 25 in Germany, that this problem is most serious. Real efforts
will have to be made, and much time will have to be devoted to it, before we can
hope to eradicate that feeling from that generation. Unless it is eradicated, we
shall be at the mercy of any other Hitler who comes forward in Germany. I have
spoken at length on this matter before, and I do not want to say anything further
now other than that precautions must be taken on that basis, in unity with our
Allies.

Travels Far and Wide
We have had an active year, a year of continual labor in the international field,
and I think we can say that our relations with our three great Allies, the United
States, Soviet Russia, and France-I put them together now-have steadily im-
proved during that time. We have been able to an increasing extent to handle
the vexatious problems which Europe presents, and which, no doubt, will present
themselves in the future, and to handle them in a spirit of candor and under-
standing. Anybody may say that that is an easy thing to do, but if he had actually
to carry out the discussions he would not so readily take that view. Yet the funda-
mental truth remains that if we four can stand together until victory is won, and
afterwards, there is no problem which we cannot solve. If we do not stick
together or if we fall apart, I do not care how good the international organization
we build, or how perfect the machinery, it is not going to work at all.
That is the fundamental on which we are all agreed and for this aim my right
hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I have traveled far and wide. We make no
complaint about that. We took these journeys on our own initiative. Perhaps I
might just remark that we hope that, in due course, others will visit us here
as frequently as we have visited them. I must also remind the House of some-
thing which did not appear very often in this two days' Debate, namely, that the
principal task of our diplomacy in the last twoyears has been to promote the unity
of this coalition. We had talked earlier about propaganda, and how we should
put over our stuff better, and make some other appeal to the Germans, but there
is only one way in which we could, with certainty, prolong the war and that is
if the enemy were to discern and proclaim any division between the Allies. There-
fore, our first task is to keep that unity unimpaired, and I think that we can
claim that we have done so. We have had the help and support of the House
in so doing. I was asked by the right hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr.
Pethick-Lawrence) and the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale to say what we are try-
ing to do and what are the aims of our foreign policy. I would say that they are
threefold: first, victory, which means the continuance of the unity in the great
coalition; second, order behind the lines of our Armies; and, third, fair and un-
trammeled election of Governments, dynasties, and parliaments alike. That is what
we seek. Is there any quarrel about those objectives?
Now I come to the question whether the Government are supporting in Europe
Governments of the Right or the Left. I have listened to this Debate, and I am
conscious that behind me there is complaint that we are supporting to a considerable
extent Governments of the Left. Opposite me there are complaints that we are
supporting Governments of the Right. Let us try and examine these propositions
a little. I propose to take one or two questions, but before I go'into detail I want
to say this. I hope the House will believe that it is true. I can assure them that
it is true. It is that in trying to pursue our policy in the state of tension such as
Europe is in, we are really not dominated as a Cabinet by a desire to set up any







36 British Speeches of the Day
particular Government of the Right in this place or Government of the Left in
the other. When we discuss these matters in the War Cabinet, we have never once
discussed them on the basis that there is somebody on the Left and that we ought
not to help him, and that. there is somebody on the Right and that we ought to
help him. What do we try to do? 'It is to give countries the best chance of ex-
pressing their own wills in their own ways freely. We are not concerned whether
that expression of will in the end is to the Right or to the Left. It struck me as
curious that the right hon. Member for East Edinburgh seemed to think that you
were only a democrat if you belonged to the Left. You can be a very good demo-
crat if you are on the Right.
Governments in Liberated Territories
I want to look at some of those countries that have been called in question.
Let us first take Belgium. There has been a good deal of indignation about Bel-
gium and all sorts of things have been said. The hon. Member for Westhoughton
(Mr. Rhys Davies) said that British military power is being employed to restrain
the Belgian people who want a better Belgium. I do not know in the least what
he means. I understood from his doctrine that you must never use force in any
circumstances at all. Certainly, he is the most complete pacifist I have ever heard
speak, except in this instance, when he seemed, as far as I could make out, to hold
that whoever was trying to use force against the Belgian Government ought to be
heartily encouraged. What have we done in Belgium? I ask the House to look
at this because it is the basis on which we work, and if they do not like that basis,
they should tell us and put down a Motion of Censure and make it dear.
What have we done? The Government of Belgium was elected and was the
legal Government of Belgium in 1940. It was constitutionally appointed and was
supported by a majority of the duly elected Belgian Chamber. After the country
collapsed the Government came here. There happens to be a provision under the
Belgian Constitution, which is rather far-seeing in these matters, to the effect that
if the Sovereign is incapable of performing his functions, the Government can act
for him. The Sovereign was, in this case, unable to perform his functions, and
the Government came here and functioned for him. M. Pierlot and his colleagues,
after a number of misadventures, arrived in this country, and their legal and con-
stitutional position is, as far as I know, absolutely unassailable. When Belgium
.was liberated, they went back. We assisted them to go back. Was that wrong?
The two Houses of Parliament were at once re-assembled. Was not that democracy?
What was wrong with that? In that Parliament the great majority of the Members
elected before the war were still there. Of course, it may be a crime to be elected
before the war, but most of us here have committed that crime.
M. Pierlot Resigned
When the Belgian Parliament was called together, M. Pierlot first rendered
an account of his stewardship abroad and then resigned. In the meanwhile, both
Parliaments, the King being away, had elected Prince Charles as Regent. I go
into this in detail because I want the House to see what happened, and I want to
know where we have been wrong. The next thing that happened was that many
attempts were made to find an alternative Government, but they were not success-
ful. Eventually, M. Pierlot was pressed and he accepted the task of forming a
new Government, which was composed of members of all the parties including repre-
sentatives of the Communists and the Resistance Groups, the great majority having
been in Belgium throughout the war. I do not know what was wrong about that
or what other Government could have been formed. This Government was con-
stitutionally appointed by the Regent and was supported by the overwhelming
majority of the two Houses of Parliament. More recently there have been other







Foreign Affairs 37

developments. The Communists have left the Government, but M. Pierlot still
has the support of all the other parties who represent the overwhelming majority
of the population. . .
This is a Parliament, elected just like ourselves, and it is a constitutional Parlia-
ment, including the Socialist Party, who are now supporting M. Pierlot. I looked
up to see what was the last vote which M. Pierlot received. A day or two ago
he was granted special powers of a kind that I do not think I would like to come
and ask the House for, because lots of people would be eloquent about it. He
had an overwhelming majority of 116 for, 12 against, and six abstentions. Does
one believe in democracy or does one not? How else is one to work the machine
except in this way? What is the Government supposed to have done so wrong
about Belgium? Hon. Members have used language as if we have stopped the
people of Belgium expressing their opinions. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale
said it was an unpopular Government in Belgium. How does he know? I do not
pretend to know, but I know that it is a Government supported by the elected
Chamber, which represents the people. That must remain so until the Chamber
can be democratically elected again. That is the basis on which we are trying to
work. . .

British First to Support Tito
Here is a Government who have gone back'into their country-a country in a
disturbed and difficult condition-with no force of their own of any kind. Some-
times I wonder whether the House understands what has been the effect inevitably
of these years of enemy occupation on these countries. It was right, it was their duty.
to do everything they could against the German authority-to live on the black
market and work against the German by every means-and suddenly, the whole
scene changes. There are no forces, no police, and no Army, and you turn round
to the same young people who have done nothing else but work against the law,
and say: "Now you must obey law and order," and expect that to happen in the
twinkling of an eye. Of course, it is very difficult. I can only say that we shall
support the Government that has the support of the majority, and we can only
judge of that by the elected Chamber.
I think we must be very chary in judging all these countries and we must not
immediately say: "This Government does not represent the people," just because
it happens to be of a different party color from our own. It is the most tempting
thing in the world to do, but I did ask the House some considerable time ago
not to fight our election in all these countries in Europe. We are beginning to
do it already. The hon. Member spoke of the Belgian Government as wrong, be-
cause he does not like it, and because it is a 'Government of the Right. On the
other hand, some of my hon. Friends have been very eloquent in the other direc-
tion, because we have been supporting Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia. The hon.
Member also said, "Have you ever supported a Government of the Left?" What
is Marshal Tito? Is he Left? Some people think that you could not get anything
more to the Left. ...
We were the first to do so. We did so long in advance of the Soviet Govern-
ment. Hon. Members may say whether that was right or wrong; I am only trying
to bring home to the House.that it was done as the result of a military decision,
because we thought it was the right thing to do. Politically, there are many things
to be said on both sides, but we do not sit round in the War Cabinet and say
"So-and-so is Right; let us back him. So-and-so is Left; we must not support
him." . .
We have already stated that when the time comes to express the popular will
in Yugoslavia, it ought to be done in a really popular way. There should be







British Speeches of the Day


candidates-I say that word in the plural-and the'people should be allowed to
express their views. That is the policy for which we stand in these countries. I
am sorry to have been so long in saying'this, but I hope I have done something
to dispel some of the feelings which existed on this subject.
Italy Is Not an Ally
There is another matter to which I must refer, and that is about Italy and
Count Sforza. The Member for Keighley (Mr. Thomas) made a very long speech
yesterday-not as long as mine-about Count Sforza, and he read a very interest-
ing document, which I must say was new to me. He told us all sorts of things
which were novelties, although interesting ones, but any hon. Member who lis-
tened to his speech might have been pardoned at the end of the hon. Member's
defense of Count Sforza for even then being reluctant to see Count Sforza as
Foreign Secretary. I do not think the hon. Member added a great deal to the
reputation of Count Sforza in the statement which he made.
I will tell the House very briefly what is the position. The hon. Member drew
a parallel between our attitude to the construction of the Italian Government, on
the one hand, and on the other, the German attack and overthrow of Declass6,
and Hitler's and Mussolini's attacks on me. I do not think there is any such paral-
lel. Italy is a country with whom we have recently been at war and which sur-
rendered unconditionally, and-let us face it-whose record in the present struggle,
under Mussolini's guidance, was a most shameful one, not only towards ourselves
and France but towards Greece and Albania. There was not a sentence in the
speech of the hon. Gentleman which showed any realization of that fact, or of
the fact that those countries were subjected to aggression carefully calculated-but
as it turned out, this aggression was a miscalculating policy. We have now ac-
cepted Italy as a co-belligerent but that country is not an Ally. She remains a base
for the operation of our troops. In my submission to the House, we are perfectly
entitled to emphasize our views about the appointment of any particular states-
man by that country. We are absolutely entitled to do it. We have not expressed
a veto but there is no reason why the British Government should not say: "In our
view the appointment of Mr. X to the particular post of Foreign Secretary would
not facilitate the smooth working of our relationships." There is no crime in
that and it applies particularly to the post of Foreign Secretary. We do not feel,
for a number of reasons, that Count Sforza would be a particularly happy choice
as Foreign Secretary. He did tell us some time past that he would pursue a cer-
tain course on his return to Italy-I am not dealing with the Royalty question
at all, but I may say a word on it later-and he did not pursue it. According to
our information, he has been working against the Government of Signor Bonomi,
who himself has given us loyal support and has fulfilled all his obligations towards
us. Knowing that, I really do not see that there is anything wrong in our saying
that we would prefer not to have as Foreign Secretary a man who has been work-
ing only lately against a Prime Minister who has been perfectly loyal to us. ..

Difference Between Opinion and Veto
We are entitled to observe what happens in Italy, after the experience wc have
had in that country. We observed that, on his return, he rapidly began to work
against the Government of Marshal Badoglio which at that time the Allies sup-
ported, and later he proceeded to do exactly the same against the Government
formed under Signor Bonomi. We have said that, in those conditions, we should
not be very happy to have as Foreign Secretary somebody who had behaved thus.
We expressed our view, that, in all the circumstances, we should be happier with-
out that particular appointment and I cannot see why we should not be allowed
to say that.






Foreign Affairs 39

I have said that this particular individual, regarded as an individual, is not one
who as Foreign Secretary gives us confidence. That is His Majesty's Government's
view and I have expressed it. It is my view and it remains unshaken, no matter
what the view of any particular Italian party may be. There is not the slightest
parallel between this matter and Belgium. Belgium has been our Ally throughout
this war. Italy has not been our Ally throughout this war, but the hon. Member
seems unable to discover this fact. . .
What we have done in this case is not to impose a veto, but to express an
opinion, which we are entitled to do, particularly in the circumstances which exist
between Italy and ourselves.
I was asked about supplies to Italy. We are trying to increase those supplies.
The problem is one of shipping, which has to be related-the hon. and gallant
Member for Windsor (Major Mott-Radclyffe) made a very good speech on this
point-to supplies to our Allies, who are entitled to some consideration in the
matter of our supplies, as well as Italy.
I wish to say something about the Greek Government, which has not been
quite such a matter of controversy as others today. The present Greek Government
is a coalition of all the parties. We asked them to join and continue in the recon-
struction of their country. In view of the supplies we are sending, and the sacri-
fices this country has made, we are entitled to make that appeal, and ask them to
set aside their internal differences, as we have done, for a while longer until the
task of rebuilding their country and stabilizing their national finances is carried
through. Let me say again about Greece, that I do not think there should be any
misapprehension. We have no intention of interfering with the right of the
Greek people to choose freely both the regime and the system of Government
they prefer. That is for them to decide. We have tried to set Greece on her
feet by supplies of which she was in dire need, and we will enable her to make a
free choice in due course.

Timber and Oil
In reply to my hon. and gallant Friend for North Kensington (Captain
Duncan) I think he was a bit unfair on the Foreign Office. I wish he had said
that the Foreign Secretary was inept and slack, rather than the Foreign Office be-
cause I am responsible for all the misdeeds of the Foreign Office. He talked about
Finland. He asked why we had agreed to Finnish reparations amounting to 10
years exportable surplus before the war. His figures are wrong. Finland's exports
were of the order of 35,000,000 a year. Reparations are $50,000,000 a year for
six years. I think that is where confusion has arisen. The hon. and gallant Member
asked, What about our supplies of timber? That was in our mind. We have been
in contact with the Finnish Government about that, with a view to procuring tim-
ber and wood pulp from Finland. He asked: Must we buy timber from Russia?
I do not know why we should not get it from Russia. If we send goods to Russia,
we are entitled to get something back. As a matter of fact, it was one of the
subjects I raised with M. Molotov in Moscow. They have sent us some deliveries
of timber. We shall get some timber from Finland, and I hope also to get more
from Russia. Russian production has suffered much owing to the calls on man-
power but I have asked for special consideration.
As regards Rumania and oil I have had a complaint about the removal of some
of the machinery. It is not as simple as all that. Some of the machinery was
delivered from Germany in return for deliveries of oil to Germany, a transaction
over which the boards of directors of the companies had no control. That is an
additional complication. We are making our claims in respect of that, and so are







40' British Speeches of the Day

the Americans, to our Russian Ally. The hon. and gallant Member is wrong when
he thinks that we do not express ourselves about British rights to our big Ally.
SI have never felt myself to be in a smaller position in dealing with either the
Soviet Union or the United States of America. I am not, however, prepared in
the course of a war to state every argument I have put forward to our Allies. I
think it would be unwise to do so, but I have referred to the Finnish and Rumanian
points because special reference has been made to them. It would appear that the
Foreign Office seized on these points, if I may say so, before the hon. and gallant
Member himself had done so.

"As Opportunity Serves"
In the last few minutes I have something to talk about which has nothing to
do with foreign affairs, that is the words "as opportunity serves" in the King's
Speech. I listened to the hon. Member and one or two others who criticized in
the Debate the use of these words. We have been asked several times, Why did
'the Government put them in? My right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield
(Mr. Greenwood) asked "why put them in" and "what did they mean." I should
have thought their meaning was pretty clear. What they mean is that the Govern-
ment have no certainty about their own life after a definite event which cannot
be fixed in time. It is impossible for any of us to fix a definite time limit, because
none of us can say when the German war will end, and it is our hope and in-
tention to continue the life of this Government and Parliament until the victory
is won. Here let me say so far as concerns the Party to which I belong, I do not
think we have been very guilty in the starting up of this controversy. I do not
think it can be charged against us that we were the first to start to discuss the
life of this Government; whether it would last to the end of the German war or
beyond. I do not think we were, but I do not wish to probe that problem deeper,
or to make any undue complaint. It is perfectly legitimate for any party or indi-
vidual to take the view that this Parliament does not truly represent the country,
that the view of 1935 would not be repeated now. Anybody can argue that. The
trouble is that nobody can prove it in this House without going to the electorate
to get the final decision.
I must add that when the moment comes to part, as come it must, we shall all
do so-we colleagues who have worked together in the War Cabinet-with the
utmost regret. But it can also be argued that it would be both undemocratic and
even anti-democratic to prolong the life of this Parliament as the hon. Gentleman
said earlier today, more than is absolutely essential in the national interest. This
Parliament is already nine years old, and most of the electors under 31 in this
country have never had an opportunity to cast their votes. That is a condition of
which, if we are democrats, we must take account.

The Social Reform Program
The second point is the relation of this phrase "as opportunity serves" to
progress with Measures of social reform. Let me put the Government's position.
We have set our hand, let me tell the right hon. Gentleman, to a great social
reform program. Nobody disputes the magnitude or the importance of that pro-
gram. Even though there be an interruption it is the intention of each one of us
who are Members of this Government to carry that program through. I have no
doubt that if there were an election and if a Labour Government were returned,
that Government would put through what was outstanding in that program, and
I can say, on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, that we, as mem-
bers of the Conservative Party, would give them support in putting through what
remains of that program, to which Members of both Parties have put their names.







British Action in Greece


It might happen otherwise, and the Conservative Party might be returned. If that
happened, I can say that we should-and I give this undertaking on behalf of my
right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and all the rest of my Party here-we should
do our utmost to put that program through, and we should feel that we had the
right to ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to give us their support. I cannot speak for
all of them. The point is that there is no intention of allowing that program to
be lost, or thrown away. Any suggestion that that is our purpose is utterly un-
founded, and is unjust. "Reading some of the things that had been said, one would
have thought that the Government have started on this program because they have
been compelled to do so by some unknown forces. . .
It is not true that this program has been forced on the Government from out-
side. The hon. Gentleman [Mr. A. Bevan] is the first to complain of the dictator-
ship that he says the Treasury Bench always has over us. If he thinks he is forcing
us to do this, he is exaggerating even his own significance. This program is agreed
by all of us in the Government, and we are determined to put it through. The
Prime Minister was the first to start the labor exchanges and he did a great deal
of the work of social insurance. . .
It is unjust to suggest that we are half-hearted. Let me sum up. I have spoken
on what may or may not happen when the life of this Government comes to an
end. But we must not get into a state of mind where we are already counting
several moves ahead in the political field, and ignoring the fact that the main task
for which this Government was formed has not been accomplished. No one can
tell how long or how short the time may be, but it is our duty to the country, to
the troops overseas, and to our Allies to use all the endeavors we possess to bring
this victory about as early as possible. Then, and only then, I beg and pray, should
we return to those controversies which are so dear to the British heart.
[House of Commons Debates]



RT. HON. ANTHONY EDEN
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
House of Commons, December 8, 1944

I think each of us who has listened to this Debate must have felt a sense of
melancholy, almost of tragedy, brooding over our proceedings. Whatever view
we take as to the inevitability or otherwise of the events which have recently
happened in Greece, every Member of this House must feel deeply the thought
that there should be conflict now raging in Athens, in a land which means so
much to every one of us. And if every Member feels that, I perhaps, not unnat-
urally, feel it more than most, for it is only a few weeks ago I was in Athens,
and heard the cheers of the vast Greek populace, addressed in friendship to
Britain, a welcome addressed to our own soldiers. I was one afternoon in Greece,
where it so happened that a battalion of the regiment to which I still belong was
stationed, and I heard from them that never had they experienced so much friend-
liness as greeted them in that country. It is a tragedy, however we look at it,
that out of all this, these happenings should arise. I propose to try to give some
account of how and why these happenings have come about, and what is the posi-
tion of His Majesty's Government in regard to them. But I would like to say,
at the outset, that it is a message from this House that we deplore these events,
and that our feelings go out to our own Forces who are called upon to deal with,
them. ...








42 British Speeches of the Day

'The Papandreou Government
The first charge which the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks), put
forward is that, as victory is approaching, British policy is inclined to support
worn-out regimes against more popular forces. My right hon. Friend dealt this
morning at length, and, I think the House will agree, faithfully, with those
charges so far as concerns Belgium and Italy. I do not propose to say anything
more about either of those two countries, but simply to concentrate what 1 have
to say on the situation in Greece. The hon. Gentleman concluded his appeal by
asking the Government immediately to put an end to all this fratricidal strife.
I agree with the hon. Gentleman, and I really hope to show how that was pre-
cisely our purpose at every stage in the policy we have pursued, not only in these
last days in Athens, but for many, may I add, weary months of attempting to
secure Greek unity before the Greek Government went back. I will tell the
House how we tried to follow that through.
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg), who, in a
very remarkable speech, if I may say so, spoke of the honor it was for Britain
to take part in the liberation of Greece. I think that is true; but I repeat that
our purpose is to enable the Greek people to express their own will and their
own decision. We must though insist that that expression must be through the
ballot box, and not by the bomb. How have we tried to follow that course out?
The first question I am asked-and it is a perfectly reasonable question-is, do
the present Greek Government-or shall we say the Greek Government up to a
week ago-represent the people of Greece? Have they a basis of popular sup-
port? How in the world can that be finally ascertained except by a method which
is familiar to all of us-the ballot box-and how could that have been practicable
in Greece in the last few years since the German occupation? The Government
were perfectly conscious at one time that the Greek Government in Cairo was
not wholly representative of the Greek people, and that is why we sought to
bring out representatives of the various parties ih order to make that Goverunent
representative. We brought out a number of persons from Greece, including,
among others, the present Prime Minister of Greece-about whom a word here-
after-and, as a result of these representatives, including those of E.A.M and
the Communist Party, having been brought out, eventually a conference was held
at the Lebanon among the Greeks themselves. They arrived at an agreement and
a Government was set up.
Now, unfortunately-as in my experience sometimes happens and not only in
Greek politics-though the leaders agreed on a policy in the Lebanon, when
the E.A.M. representatives got back to Greece they had not a little difficulty
with their own followers. That is not unique in political life, and I certainly
do not want to embarrass anybody by stressing it unduly. Such may be the proper
expression of the popular will. After that slight hiatus, the ranks were closed
again and, eventually, a Greek Government was formed at the end of August,
the Lebanon Conference having been in May. Last August, a Greek Government
was formed composed of all parties, including E.A.M. That is the Government
which we recognize and which all our Allies recognize, and which eventually
went into Greece. I want to draw the attention of the House to this, because
the hon. Member for Broxtowe said that this is not a representative Government,
but that it is an uneasy alliance and so on. I want to give the words used on
the 15th September before this Government went back to Greece, by Professor
Svolos, leader of the E.A.M. party, who called on M. Papandreou and assured
him in the name of all the E.A.M. Ministers that, whatever readjustments might
have to be made when they got back to Athens, it was their desire that a Coalition
Government, on the lines of the existing Government, should continue in office
under M. Papandreou's presidency until elections could be held






British Action in Greece


All Papandreou's Ministers Were Republicans
I stress that baglse it was M. Papandreou's original intention, as I know, to
resign as soon as F~eTturned to Greece. As the result, however, of representations
from the E.A.M. Ministers in the Government, he decided, and I think rightly
decided, to continue in office when they returned to Greece. So much for the
"uneasy alliance" of the hon. Member for Broxtowe. Nor do I think that his
aspersions were in any way representative of the union which had been arrived
at. What is the present Greek Government? It is well worth looking at. It is
a Government consisting of 22 Members-quite a large Cabinet for a relatively
small country. I will give the parties to which its members belong. There are
the Social Democrats. The Prime Minister himself is a Social Democrat, and I
am advised that that party is slightly to the Left of the official Labour Party in
this country. I am very careful to say that I am so advised. I cannot guarantee
it. There are four Liberals-and they are to the Right of the Social Democrats.
There is a Democratic Union Party and a Party called E.K.K.A. I hope I shall not
be asked to describe them, because I do not know a great deal about them. They
have each one representative. Then there is the National Union Party and the
Agrarian Party, and, finally, the Popular Party, which, I am told, is one which
may be said to be somewhere between the Labour Party and the Conservative Party
in this country. That is the composition of this Government. There are 22 mem-
bers of this Government, and this is the point I wish to emphasize. Of these 22, so
far as I have been able to discover, every single one is a Republican.
Here, I want to kill the story that the present difficulties or troubles in Greece
are something to do with the quarrel between Royalists and Republicans. That
is really not so; it is a quite ludicrous over-simplification of the matter. When
the seven E.A.M. Ministers walked out of this Cabinet, in circumstances which
I shall shortly describe, they left behind the remainder, who are the Government
today. They are Republicans and none of them is more dangerously reactionary
than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leith (Mr. Ernest Brown). I
think that is a correct description of the Government, and I think the hon. Mem-
ber for West Leicester (Mr. Harold Nicolson) was justified in the admirable
balance which he brought into these affairs. When the hon. Member for Maldon
(Mr. Driberg) talks about a reactionary group, he is making a fantastic travesty
of the facts. When he says this is a war between the people of Greece and a few
Quislings, backed up by British bayonets, I cannot believe that he really thinks
this is so. And, if he does, how does he explain that every known Greek party was
in this Government, brought there from Greece at great trouble by us and at some
risk to our people, to create a national front? What is the good of describing
that Government, even after the E.A.M. Ministers walked out of it, as a reac-
tionary group?
[Mr. Driberg: I did not describe the entire Greek Government as a reactionary
group. I said the Greek people were aware that the disposition of His Majesty's
Government today was to flirt with these reactionary groups.]
I do not know what the hon. Gentleman's experience of flirting is. I can as-
sure him that His Majesty's Government in their many preoccupations with these
tangled problems have never thought of treating them in that way.

M. Papandreou's Record
Let me now say a word about M. Papandreou himself, because we have been
told by one or two speakers that this is a conflict between the democratic forces
of E.A.M. and a reactionary Government-I think I am being fair-headed by
M. Papandreou who wants a dictatorship. If anyone will read the past history







British Speeches of the Day


of M. Papandreou, they can disprove that story'for themselves. Reference was
also made by the hon. Member for Broxtowe to the events of 1936 and especially
to the Metaxas dictatorship. Where was M. Papandreou after that? The hon.
Member did not appear to have looked that up. M. Papandreou was, from that
date, in exile, because he was in opposition to the Metaxas dictatorship. This is
the man who, we are told, has now become a Fascist himself. This is going a
little bit too far, until it seems that everybody who disagrees with the views of
our'sole Communist representative in this House, has become a Fascist. ...
An hon. Gentleman spoke earlier about the Athens police and their Fascist
tendencies. When I was in Athens nobody described them like that to me. I
heard no such thing. Here was this Government composed of all the parties,
including six or seven E.A.M. Ministers in the Government. They had been two
months or so in Athens, and if there had been the least sign of such "Fascist
tendencies," somebody in the Cabinet would have said, "This is bad business.
Let us have the police combed out." As far as I know no one said that. It is
rather late that these charges should be made when we were never told that neither
by a single member of the Cabinet, neither by a Communist or by anybody else.
[Mr. Gallacher: That is not correct. Is it not the case that one of the serious
troubles between E.A.M. and Papandreou and others was that they absolutely
refused to comb the Fascists out of the police, and out of other administrative
bodies ?

Communist Leaders Conferred with Mr. Eden
I do not think so, and I am coming to the case of the differences in a moment.
I want to be really fair in regard to the facts which happened when M. Papandreou
returned to Athens. He laid down the policy of the Government in a speech
on 18th October, a few days before I reached Athens, which was the subject of
much public discussion. I will read one passage from this speech because it is
important. He said this:
"First, anxious to re-establish a Free Greek State, the Government will
pursue the task of reorganizing the country's armed forces on solely national
and military criteria, as the National Conference at Lebanon laid down. Flags
will be handed to the courageous fighters of our guerrilla forces, and their
cadres will find a worthy place in the reorganized Greek Army. The basis
of our national Army, as it has always been in the past and as it is for all
free peoples, will be the regular call to the Colours. The whole Greek peo-
ple claim the right to defend the country. The known coup d'etat spirit of
our armed forces shall be dissolved. It will be the rule arid the practice that
the Army cannot be the master, but only the sovereign people whose will is
expressed by the Government. The Army shall be at the Government's order.
It will be the rule and the practice that the Army can belong to neither party
nor a private individual. It belongs to the country alone and obeys the Govern-
ment's orders only."
I must now tell this House of my own experiences during those few days in
Athens. Among those who asked to see me-I did not ask to see them-were
many leading representatives of the Communist Party in Greece. I ask M. Papan-
dreou, as I thought it was only courteous to do so, whether it was in order that
I should see them and he said, "Yes." I was glad, therefore, to see them at the
British Embassy. What did they tell me? In the first place, they expressed their
thanks for the help which the British Government had given to Greece during
her time of trial under German rule, and for the supplies that were arriving, as
a result of a great feat of organization, in the Piraeus. I asked them-it was only
shortly after this declaration from which I have quoted was made-whether they






British Action in Greece


were content with the Government, whether unity was established in the Govern-
ment, and whether they had any complaints to make, and they told me just ex-
actly what Professor Svolos himself had told M. Papandreou before agreement
was reached, that they were perfectly content about the unity of the Govern-
ment and the policy it was pursuing and completely loyal to M. Papandreou as
Prime Minister. That was what I was told. I did not want to take any part in
their politics, but after I had heard that declaration, I said that I trusted that
unity in the Government would be maintained while we did all we could to
support Greece with food and all the essentials of life. They replied that they
were in agreement with that-document that I have read out and which M. Papan-
dreou said had been previously approved by all Ministers, and I hoped that the
same agreement might be maintained.
[Mr. Bowles: What date was that?]
I think it was October 28th. There is no catch about this. It is an account
of what happened, and I think the House should know about it.

ELAS to Retain One Brigade
I pass from that to another matter which has been referred to, which is the
arrival of the Mountain Brigade. That Greek Brigade from Rimini arrived in
Athens on November 19th. It has been represented by some speakers in the
House as if that was some form of sinister Fascist organization. That brigade
received a welcome from the Greek people. One telegram that I saw described
this welcome as only parallel to the greeting given to our troops on their arrival.
What about the issues which have brought about this rift in the Greek Govern-
ment? As to the discussion about the measures for disbanding the E.A.M. police
and E.L.A.S. army, we knew quite well when I was in Athens that this was an
issue which might cause a rift. In the discussions the E.A.M. Ministers had not,
at first, said anything at all about the demobilization of the Greek Brigade. The
plan for demobilization, I must tell the House, was agreed to by the whole
Government at this stage, including the E.A.M. Ministers. It was in two stages.
On December 1st, the E.A.M. police which had been established in Athens and
a number of other towns, was to be replaced by the National Guard, which is
composed of men of the 1936 class, who had been called up. On December 10th,
the guerillas were to be demobilized 'and replaced by a National Army formed by
calling up three more classes and we had made arrangements when I was in
Greece for the provision of 40,000 uniforms and equipment for this new National
Army. That was the plan agreed to by everybody. Since then difficulties have
begun to arise. On November 30th, a draft decree-I ask the House to note
this-for the demobilization of the guerillas had been drawn up at M. Papan-
dreou's request by the E.A.M. Ministers themselves. They provided, in this draft
decree-and this meets the point of an hon. Member who spoke earlier-that
the mountain brigade and the Sacred Squadron were not to be demobilized and
that E.L.A.S. was to retain one brigade of guerillas, and I think E.D.E.S. were to
be given some small force.
These were the proposals of the E.A.M. Ministers themselves. That was the
30th November. At the last moment these were changed again. The E.A.M.
Ministers insisted on the demobilization of the Greek regular units instead of
maintaining the agreement that the Greek Brigade should remain and the E.A.M.
Brigade remain also. This changed the position. For they decided that the
Greek Regular Brigade should be demobilized altogether. On this issue the other
Greek Government Ministers all refused to agree. They were quite willing that
an E.A.M. Brigade should remain if so desired. They made that concession to






46 British Speeches of the Day

balance the Greek Regular Brigade, but were not prepared to see demobilized
this one regular Greek force-which many wished would go again into action against
the Germans. It was on that that the split came, and it came within the Greek
Government and it did not come on any move or instruction or advice from
His Majesty's Government. Therefore, it is not, unhappily, true to say that agree-
ment was ever reached about demobilization. I have taken a great deal of trouble
to check these facts and to watch them, and I feel quite confident that the ac-
count I am giving the House is as correct as can be given in these very diffi-
cult conditions.

EAM Accepted Scobie as Commander
So it happened, that the next day, as the result of this failure to reach agree-
ment on demobolization, the E.A.M. police refused to hand over their arms
in accordance with the Government's decision. Then it was that M. Papandreou
circulated a decree enforcing the Government's decision. He circulated that de-
cree and asked the Ministers to sign it. All the Ministers signed it except the
E.A.M. Ministers, who resigned rather than sign it. Thus it was that the split
came, and it was after that event that General Scobie issued his broadcast, to
which reference has already been made.
I must refer to one other matter, which is the relation of these irregular
armies to our own Command. Before ever Greece was liberated, before our troops
went in, we knew that there would be this problem of these irregular armies.
In point of fact it has not played, so far as General Zervas is concerned, any
great part in events in Athens because General Zervas's forces are in Epirus, far
away from the capital. All the same, care was taken to bring together the leaders
of the two armies-General Zervas and General Sarafis, who is the Commander-
in-Chief of E.L.A.S.-and they came to see General Wilson at his headquarters
before the start of the liberation of Greece. Agreement was reached with these
two generals and with the Greek Government, that all Greek Forces, including all
guerillas-E.L.A.S. or E.D.E.S.-were to serve under the direct command of
General Scobie as General Wilson's deputy. That was the agreement reached,
and so I say again that this action of E.A.M. Ministers and the consequent ac-
tion of E.L.A.S. was a breach of their own agreement with our military com-
manders, quite apart from the military issue altogether.

Security Battalion Was Disarmed
I will mention one other matter on which there has been a certain amount
of talk in this Debate-the security battalion and the role they played. What-
ever may have been the past of the security battalion, they do not enter into this
business at all, because they are all disbanded and have been disbanded for some
little time past. They have played no part in events, and they are not playing
any part now, either in support of the British Forces or the Greek Forces in Athens.
I must now refer to the remarks made about our Ambassador in Athens, that
he was inadequate and partisan. If any hon. Members of this House thinks that
the present position of His Majesty's Ambassador in Greece is an easy one to
discharge, he is welcome to that thought, but in actual fact, it is a matter of the
utmost difficulty in a position like this for our Ambassador to maintain a fair
and impartial position, and truly to represent the instructions which he receives
from His Majesty's Government. It is the belief of the War Cabinet that Mr.
Leeper has striven, most loyally and truly, to carry out those instructions. I could
not accept any kind of strictures on him.







British Action in Greece


Sophoulis Opposed EAM Concessions
There is'somebody else on the scene to which reference must be made, and
that is the veteran leader of the Greek Liberal Party, M. Sophoulis, who has been
pictured from time to time in the Press and in speeches as a sort of deus ex machine.
It has been made out that if only the British Government had not butted in,
this man would long since have settled the problem so that all Greeks would
be able to live happily together for ever after. I have nothing at all against this
most respected Greek elder statesman, but I am bound to say this: that he, and I
am sorry to say the other members of the Greek Liberal Party too, have frequently
criticized M. Papandreou for making too many concessions to E.A.M. and E.L.A.S.
The latter have retorted in the last day or two by issuing leaflets, in which they
most violently attack this most venerable elder statesman, and say that in no cir-
cumstances whatever, would anything have induced them to serve under his lead-
ership. I am bound to say that that leaflet does not surprise me in the very least,
and I do not think that there was ever the slightest chance that M. Sophoulis could
have formed a government including all the parties. All that would have hap-
pened would have been the additional confusion of all trying to do a little cab-
inet-'making amidst all the troubles then surging round Athens. I do hope I
have said enough to show the House . that the Government which we have
been seeking to support in Greece is not a Right-Wing Government but that it
is, so far as we could contrive to help it to make itself so, a Government of all
the parties which, until a few days ago, was accepted as such by everybody. The
mere withdrawal of one section-seven members out of 22-does not turn a
representative Government into a dictatorship, any more than, let me say, the most
melancholy departure of any part of the National Government from this bench
would turn what was left into a dictatorship, supposing what was left had a
majority of support in this House.
May I say a word more about the Greek Brigade and the Sacred Squadron
which seems to have dominated this Debate? We are told that the reason why
E.A.M. had to leave the Government was because of the fear that this Greek
brigade would dominate the proceedings if once E.A.M. were disarmed. J ask
the House in all seriousness, could anybody accept that as being a real accusation?
Supposing E.A.M. Ministers had remained in the Papandreou Government with
all the authority of Government, are we to be told that the mere existence of
one Greek regular brigade, probably shortly to leave again for the battle front,
was such a formidable thing that they could not dare to allow its existence to
continue? That cannot be true if there were real popular support for the posi-
tion which they said they held; it would be true though if the popular support
had been greatly exaggerated. Are the Sacred Squadrons-there are two squad-
rons actually, one is at present in the Greek islands, and the other is at Salonika-
so terrifying to the E.A.M. Cabinet Ministers of Athens? We must be careful
not to build up this imaginary military dictatorship where none exists at all. The
truth is much nearer to what my hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester
[Mr. H. Nicholson] said earlier, that maybe we are to blame for not intervening
at an earlier stage than we did.

London Times Report
What about the present position? The House has perhaps read the account
in The Times this morning, and there are three items in it, to which I would
draw the attention of the House because they help me to answer the right hon.
Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. A. Greenwood). They are these.
First, the writer said:







48 British Speeches of the Day

"The reception of our men when they rushed sometimes rather forcibly into
Greek houses, trampled through bedrooms, dining rooms and kitchens, most
of which are occupied . demonstrates popular feeling. Our men are
welcomed as liberators, and people who have been terrorized for many months
gladly point out where E.L.A.S. men may be concealed."
Now that would not happen if we were supporting a tyrannical dictatorship
against the will of the populace. I believe that to be a true account. Let me read
two other items which give me, as I want to give the House, some hope-if I
may have the hon. Gentlemen's attention-that we may yet get out of these-
troubles. The next item is this:
"A general commanding 4,000 guerillas in the Eleusis area"-
20 miles from Athens-actually some guerrillas which I happened to see my-
self-E.A.M. Forces-
"refused to bring in his men to fight in Athens"
to attempt to decide the issue there. There is, I think a measure of encouragement
in that . This report is of importance and I want hon. Members who do not
agree with the Government to listen to this extract.
"Even General Sarafis himself . would have been ready to sign the
order for disbanding the E.L.A.S. if it had not been for the fact that he was
frankly afraid to do so."
I think that possibly that is true. I hope and believe, and it is the desire
of His Majesty's Government, that this horrible strife will soon be ended, and
that those who,are engaged in it and are now attacking what is the only consti-
tutional Government there is, will cease their activities. We do not say that this
Government has to endure forever. We have never based ourselves on that case.
We say that there are people in arms against the only constituted authority. It
is the only Government there is. As soon as arms are laid down, and peace is
restored, then it is our hope that at the earliest possible moment free elections
may be held. I go further. I say to the House that His Majesty's Government
are ready to play their part, if it is desired, and invite their Allies to join in play-
ing their part, in doing all they can to insure that these elections should be freely
held. That is all we desire. We do not want to impose a Government headed
by Mr. X or Mr. Y on the Greek people. Why should we? We have plenty of
anxieties and troubles of our own. But we do say that we have a responsibility
to the Greek people to let them declare their own will for themselves.
Why did we ever go there at all? An hon. Gentleman said, "It is not on our
lines of communication," but the country was without any produce, and Ger-
many had done all in her power to destroy it. The people in Greece would have
starved. That is why we intervened, knowing full well the risks and the politi-
cal disputes and passions of this war, and also the passions left over from the
Metaxas regime. We knew all this would burst in our faces, but we thought it
right to take the risk and responsibility. We repeat, order must be restored, and
when order is restored let free elections be held. We desire to help in holding
such elections, and we invite our Allies to help us in doing that. Let us not bring
in questions about the Greek King playing this part or that. The King never
sought, in these months, to play any part in these affairs, and whatever our views
about Royalism or Republicanism I think we owe him some token of respect for
the manner in which he has held back, and not sought to complicate what he
knew was a difficult position in his own country.
We do not seek to dictate to Greece what her Government shall be. We do
not seek to order the Greeks to have this, that or the other Government. All we







British Action in Greece


wish to do is to ensure conditions in which food and supplies can reach the
Greek people, because we know that if we do not they will starve. I believe that
the great mass of them are not interested in E.A.M., E.L.A.S. or E.D.E.S. They
are much more interested in getting something to eat, apd their life restored
again, and employment for their people. That is what we are trying to do. In
the process we have become involved, against our will, in this internecine con-
flict. We beg and Urge that those carrying it on shall lay down their arms. When
arms are laid down it will be for the Greek people to decide on their Govern-
ment, and they will do it with our help and goodwill, and once again, I hope,
democracy will play its part in the land of its birth.
[House of Commons Debates]




RT. HON. ANTHONY EDEN
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
House of Commons, December 20, 1944

I do not wish to abandon the wisely uncontroversial line adopted by the right
hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. A. Greenwood) and by the hon. and gallant
Member for Windsor (Major Mott-Raddyffe) in a truly remarkable speech, but
I must deal with one charge which an hon. Gentleman has just made against me
for not giving an account of the circumstances which took place in Athens just
previous to these unhappy events. If the hon. Member will read my speech again,
I think he will find that I did deal with the very points which he has just asserted
I omitted. He said that the whole issue has been raised by the Sacred Battalion
and Mountain Brigade, whom he has described as Fascist. . .

ELAS to Keep One Brigade
I do not know what the hon. Member means by a Fascist brigade. The Moun-
tain Brigade fought with very great gallantry in the desert, and I prefer to regard
them as our Allies. The,point is, as I explained last time, the Sacred Battalion has
never been inoAttica and is at present engaged with some German remnants in the
Greek islands. The matter of the Mountain Brigade was never raised in the Debate
until a late stage of the discussion. They arrived back in Athens and were cheered
by the Greek people and had a tremendous reception from everybody. This ques-
tion was raised at a very late hour in the Debate, and, as I explained, an offer was
made by the Greek Cabinet that the Mountain Brigade should remain and that
also a force of E.A.M. of equivalent strength, and one of E.D.E.S. of proportionate
strength, should remain, so it is quite wrong to say that this Brigade has for long
been a source of trouble.
The hon. Gentleman also gave an account of the events of Saturday night. He
said there was going to be a demonstration which had been agreed by the Papan-
dreou Government, and that, late at night, somebody whispered something in his
ear. The impression the hon. Member gave was that some British Minister whis-
pered in his ear. I assure him that that is absolutely untrue. I think we could more
properly be censured for not having interfered, so far as law and order were con-
cerned, at an earlier stage. The facts are that we had been advised that a general
strike was declared at? that time, and as a result of the declaration of the general
strike, the Greek Cabinet felt that the demonstration ought not to take place, though
they had previously allowed it. I am not saying whether they were right or wrong.







50 British Speeches of the Day

What I am denying is that a British Minister whispered in anybody's ear on that
point.

EAM a Mixed Body
Now I come to the points raised in the Debate, and I shall do my best, in this
very unhappy business, as we all feel it to be, not to make matters worse, because
I am very conscious that anything I say, if I am not careful in the choice of my
words, may make matters'worse rather than better. My object is to make them
better, and if I speak with more caution than usual, I hope the House will make
allowances, because this is a situation which all of us, whatever our feelings, want
to see resolved.
I think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield was a little unfair,
if I may say so, in his otherwise careful speech, in what he said about the Prime
Minister. He did not quite correctly quote the Prime Minister about E.L.A.S. I
have looked up his words. The Prime Minister said:
"Meanwhile the forces of E.L.A.S. which is the military instrument of
E.A.M. were planning a descent on Athens as a military and political operation
and the seizure of power by armed force. E.L.A.S. is a mixed body and it
would be unfair to stigmatize them all as being entirely self-seeking in their
aims and actions."-(Official Report, 8th Dec., 1944; Vol. 406, c. 942.)
The right hon. Gentleman said they were a mixed body. [Interruption.] Oh
yes, that is the quotation.

International Machinery Lacking
What I am dealing with is the hon. Gentleman's statement that everything
about E.L.A.S. was utterly bad. That is what he said, so I produced this quotation
showing that the Prime Minister said it was a mixed body. I do not want to em-
phasize that, but to pass on to a remark of the right'hon. Gentleman the Member
for Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), who asked why there was not more collabora-
tion between the Allies over this business. The right hon. Gentleman asked what,
above all, was the European Advisory Commission doing. The European Advisory
Commission was set up on our initiative to agree plans for surrender terms to
Germany and for post-occupation plans for Germany. That is the task upon which
it has been engaged. ...
As regards the general machinery of international collaboration, I spoke on this
matter only a fortnight ago, and there is nothing that we should welcome more
than machinery for closer collaboration than there is now. We' would welcome
quarterly meetings of the Foreign Secretaries of the Great Powers, as we used to
have before to deal with some of these matters. I have said over and over again
that we will go anywhere and take any steps to further such a result. I really do
not think, whatever hon. Members' feelings may be, that the charge can lie against
us that we have not tried to promote this machinery and get it going more satis-
factorily.

Allies Were Consulted
So far as the decision to go to Greece is concerned, I am bound to say, after
listening to this Debate, that I cannot see what other decision we could have taken
in the circumstances. I admit there were risks. We knew there were risks; but I
still think the decision was right. Before we took that decision, as my right hon.
Friend said a fortnight ago, we did consult the United Sfates. We went there
with their agreement, and we conveyed our decision to go to Greece to our Soviet
Allies and they also approved that decision. There is no question, therefore, of






British Action in Greece


our having done this without consulting our Allies. The only criticism which the
hon. Gentleman may make is that we might have brought others with us, but the
Government did not foresee that matters would turn out as they have done,
and in a fashion which we all so deeply deplore.
It is also true to say that, for reasons of operational security, we did not, before
we went to Greece, describe in detail our plans and intentions to our Greek Allies.
The result was that we could not give them a dear answer to the many appeals
which they were making-this then being a government of all the parties-to us
to go into Greece, appeals made because they saw the situation developing and
wanted us to drive the remnants of the Germans out. We were unable to explain
and we did not want to reveal the details of our military plans. As we got nearer
the day for our actual entry we did tell them of our plans to some extent, and did
also invite their co-operation in respect of these military bands in Greece. The
two representatives-General Zervas and General Sarafis the E.L.A.S. Commander-
in-Chief-were invited to come to Caserta and meet the supreme Commander, and
there was drawn up and agreed formally between them, what is known as the
Caserta Agreement.

The Caserta Agreement
I do not want to weary the House but I must draw attention to one or two
items in the Agreement which shows that immense trouble was taken to try and
get an agreed decision, and an agreement between all parties in the Greek Govern-
ment and the Greek military leaders before we went into Greece at all. This was
agreed to by M. Papandreou, the Prime Minister and leader of the Government
which was composed of all the parties. It was signed in the presence of all the
leaders by the commander of the E.L.A.S. forces and of E.A.M. This was the
conference presided over by the supreme Commander in the Mediterranean theater,
at which the Greek President of the Council, with other members of the Greek
Government-I ask the House to remember that at that moment all the parties
-were in the Greek Government-and the Greek military leaders, General Zervas
and General Sarafis, were present. The following decisions were agreed as having
been accepted unanimously:
"All guerilla forces operating in Greece place themselves under orders to
the Greek Government of National Unity. The Greek Government place these
forces under the orders of General Scobie, who has been nominated by the
Supreme Allied Commander as General-Officer-Commanding forces in Greece."
That is what was agreed, and then next-
[Mr. Gallacher: This is very important. It is dear from that first point, that
there was no Greek Army to which the guerillas could be allocated and they were,
therefore, allocated to the British Army. It was the bringing in of these other
brigades from outside.]
The hon. Gentleman said at the beginning of his speech that the whole thing
turned on bringing the Mountain Brigade into Greece. That matter was only
raised some time after the Greek Government arrived, and when it was raised-
this was before the breakdown of everything-they offered E.L.A.S. another brigade
if they desired to counter it. I do not think it is true to say that this one brigade
has been the cause of all the trouble, but, if so, it might well have been raised at
an earlier stage when E.L.A.S. was in the Government. They were in the Govern-
ment and as far as we know they never said one word against General Zervas.
If the hon. Member has other evidence that they protested against their arrival in
Athens, I shall be glad to hear about it, as I have not seen it. The Agreement
goes on-






52 British Speeches of the Day

"In accordance with the proclamation issued by the Greek Government,
the Greek guerilla leaders declare that they will forbid any attempt by any
units under their command to take the law into their own hands. Such action
to be treated as a crime and will be punished accordingly.
"As regards Athens, no action is to be taken save under the direct orders
of General Scobie, General-Officer-Commanding forces in Greece.
"Security battalions are considered as instruments of the enemy. Unless
they surrender according to orders issued by General-Officer-Commanding they
will be treated as enemy formations."
That has been done.
"All Greek guerilla forces in order to 'put an end to past rivalries, declare
that they will form a national union in order to co-ordinate their activities in
the best interests of the common struggle.
"In accordance with the powers conferred on him by the Supreme Allied
Commander after agreement with the Greek Government, General Scobie has,
issued attached operational orders."
Then followed the orders for the division of stores between the various forces.
I am sorry to weary the House by reading all that text, but I do it deliberately
because it shows that a great deal of trouble was taken before we went into Greece,
first, to get a government of all parties, and secondly, over and above that, to gain
complete agreement between the guerilla leaders and the Government. I suggest
that the document I have read out does show that we could not have done more
to try and deal with the events which have so unhappily come upon us. The date
of this document was, I think, September 25th.

Police Question Not Raised
There is nothing whatever about the Athens police in the Agreement that I
have read out. If that was the trouble, there were six or seven E.A.M. Ministers
in the Government for many weeks and surely they would have said that this was
an issue, and as far as I know they never said it.
[Dr. Haden Guest: Was it in the Agreement at all?]
No, Sir, there was nothing in the Agreement about the police at all, nor do
I know of any reason why there should have been anything on that subject in the
Agreement. I also remind the House that it was about that time, as I stated the
other day-actually 10 days before the Agreement was signed-that M. Sophoulis,
leader of the ,E.A.M. representatives in the Government, saw M. Papandreou on
behalf of all his E.A.M. colleagues in the Government and expressed his confidence
in the Government and his desire to continue in office under M. Papandreou as
Prime Minister, if they could get to Greece, until an election could be held. All
I am trying to say to the House is that on this date, before the actual entry into
Greece, there was no issue which divided the Greek Ministers amongst themselves
and no issue which divided us from any part of our Greek friends. That was a
step forward.
So I come to the next step. What was our purpose in going to Greece? Here
I answer a speech made earlier in the Debate. We seek nothing for ourselves in
Greece at all. We seek neither strategic advantages nor economic advantages nor
any other advantages of that kind at all. There is nothing in the least incon-
sistent in what my right hon. Friend has said and what I am saying now. In this
action we are taking we have no ulterior motive whatever. We really have not.
I do not see why hon. Members are so eager to think we have some sinister purpose.






British Action in Greece


Risks Weighed
Of course, it is true we have an interest in the Mediterranean. That has never
been denied by anyone, but I say that we took this action above all, and only, to
try to bring food and supplies to Greece, because we knew of the condition in
which we should find Greece. We had no ulterior motive. I should like to try to
show a little of what we have been doing. Let me say this. If Greece had been
largely a self-supporting country, if she had been in a condition where she could
'have provided her own people with food, it is quite likely we should not have
done it. We might have said, "We will help chase the Germans out," but cer-
tainly we should not have gone in with this vast organization to try to supply food
for the people of Greece. But we knew that in normal conditions Greece was quite
unable to feed herself. We knew that the harbors and all means of transport had
been utterly destroyed and that unless we could get food and supplies in there was
no chance of the Greek people escaping starvation and of allowing Greek industry
to be restarted.
Those are the reasons why we went into Greece and I do not think they are
reasons of which anyone could complain. Supposing we had not done that? We
did weigh the alternatives. We knew there were some risks because of disturbed
conditions, and the story of the Metaxas regime, and all that went before it;
but if we had not gone in, what would have happened? Supposing there had
been civil strife-Greeks against Greeks-as a result of which no food could
have been got in? Without our help in clearing the ports and our lorries to carry
the food, there would have been no food for them, there would have been for
certain mass starvation all over Greece, and I am sure, and rightly, hon. Mem-
bers would have come to the British Government and asked, "What are you do-
ing about this? Are not these people our Allies? Why have you not made
an effort to go and help them?" And we should, I think, have been blamed
for that. UN.R.R.A. was coming in to help us in the matter and, unfortunately,
U.N.R.R.A. has had to pull out, as the hon. Gentlemen will see.
I want to give the House some little account, very shortly, of the amount of
supplies we have put in and the work we have done, because this has been largely
our own effort-stock piles, for instance, built up in the Middle East in condi-
tions of some difficulty to meet this food situation which1we knew existed. I shall
only-give the figures for one week, 18th to 24th November. I have not specially
chosen it as being particularly good or otherwise. We unloaded in that week in
the Piraeus alone over 20,000 tons of food, in Kalamata over 4,000, in Patras over
4,000, in Mytilene over 7,000, in Chios over 2,700, and so on. In the same time
we delivered-I would ask for the attention of the House for these figures be-
cause I think they are important-in all regions clothing and footwear 14,000
pieces to Euboea, to Lamia 24,000 pieces, to Tripolis 25,000 pieces, to Patras
30,000, to Volos 24,300, and so on down the list. We did so because one of
the greatest problems for Greece this winter was the lack of clothing and the
cold of the Greek winter and the lack of boots-problems all of which we had
more or less worked out before. The hon. Gentleman asked: "Why not leave it
to U.N.R.R.A. ?" But we have prepared this and I only give these details to show
the House that our purpose had been planned, and carefully prepared at some con-
siderable effort to ourselves, and that the chief of U.N.R.R.A. agriculture arrived
at that time and consultations were initiated with him. I could go on, though I
do not want to weary the House. It is quite important. We have tried to help
these people.
Terms Offered to E.L.A.S.
Now, I come to an important matter which has been raised in this Debate
by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield-terms for an armistice.







54 -British Speeches of the Day

What is the position? It is, as I have already explained in reading the Caserta
Agreement, that E.L.A.S. Forces undertook to obey General Scobie's orders by
that Agreement. He has asked that E.L.A.S. supporters in Athens and the Piraeus
must cease resistance, and hand in their arms. . I emphasize those words, be-
cause it is limited to that area; he has not asked that E.L.A.S. supporters outside
who have withdrawn from Athens should hand in their arms. Why is that provi-
sion there? I fear that it must be there. It is the minimum which must be asked,
because, if arms are left in the hands of numbers of people in civilian clothes-
as, of course, many of them are-in Athens for a long period even when this
immediate emergency is over, the moment political tension rises again you will
get the risk of this same thing happening again and people using these weapons
again. I think the terms are the minimum because, it is only, I repeat, in that
area. We have not said that everybody bearing arms must get out of Athens and
the Piraeus because we realize very well that some of those who are using those
arms are the local population and have nowhere else to move. Where they can
withdraw with their arms we have said withdraw; where they cannot, in Athens
and the Piraeus, we have asked them to hand in their arms. ...
We have not asked that the disarmament of the guerilla bands outside the
Athens area should be done otherwise than by agreement subsequent to the cessa-
tion of hostilities, and there is no question of leaving security battalions in the
possession of their arms, nor any Right-Wing organization in Athens either. I ought
to tell the House-in fairness they should know this-that General Scobie, some
little time ago, refused assistance offered to him by Right-Wing organizations against .
E.L.A.S. There was one of these organizations known as Organization X -I think
SI have General Scobie's telegram here, at any rate I remember its purport, in which
he said that these men had offered to join with our Forces against E.L.A.S. and
he had refused and had disarmed them.

Right-Wing Forces Disarmed
[Mr. Shinwell: May I ask if any of the Right-Wing elements in Athens, on
General Scobie's declaration, handed over their arms?]
Yes, Sir, actually Organization X, which tried to join with our Forces against
E.A.M., was disarmed by our own Forces.
All we desire is that all should lay down their arms. We are not trying to
impose a Right-Wing Government or a Left-Wing Government. It is not our pur-
pose to do so. What we wish, if we can get it, is that the ship shall be on an
even keel. That is what we wish and we are against-I repeat what I said at Ques-
tion Time-reprisals by one side or the other after this event is over, and we
shall do everything we can to stop that. One hon. Gentleman said he thought
the fear of reprisals was an element in continuing this fight. I think he may be
right, and I would like to assure him that the position of His Majesty's Govern-
ment is that we shall do all we can to stop reprisals after this event has taken
place. ...
We shall do all we can to preserve order, and we ask that everyone concerned
shall lay down their arms. I really think that is a reasonably broad proposition, I
will just read General Scobie's message, because I have it here, dated December 8th:
"Armed members of the Right-Wing X organization who attempted to
join forces with British troops are being disarmed by the latter as they are
acting contrary to the orders issued by the prevailing Government and General
Scobie regarding the carriage of arms by irregular forces."
That was the telegram on December 8th showing the action taken.







British Action in Greece


The Reuters Message
Then the hon. Gentleman referred to Reuters message which he said he had
just read on the tape, and I must say I was a little disturbed by the account, as
he gave it, of what .was happening. . .
It was to the effect that suddenly tomorrow a very heavy bombardment-and
I got the impression an indiscriminate bombardment-is going to be opened on
Athens. I have the message and I had better read it to the House:
"Aircraft today dropped leaflet containing a warning from General Scobie,
General Officer Commanding Greece, to civilians in and around Athens and
in the Piraeus, that rebel guns still firing after 9 a. m. tomorrow will be
attacked with all the arms at my disposal." . .
If the hon. Gentleman will read his own account in HANSARD tomorrow,
he will find that it squares with General Scobie's statement. The hon. Member
need not be so angry. These guns have for some time been firing at the center of
Athens; General Scobie has said he would attack them, and warned the civil popu-
lation to get out of the way before he does so. I do not think that that is at all
the picture which the hon. Gentleman gave. I must say, in justice to our com-
manders, that I am absolutely convinced that they have used every possible means
they can to avoid unnecessary loss of life, and have probably done so at con-
siderable cost to themselves in the conduct of very difficult and delicate operations.

British Ministers' Advice to Greek King
That is all the message I have, but if there are any more I should be glad to
have them. Now I come to answer the hon. Gentleman on the subject of the
King. He said that we were trying to impose the King on the Greek people. That
really is not so. I must tell the House one factor which may perhaps carry weight,
even with the hon. Gentleman. We all know perfectly well that the King is in
this country. It was on the advice of the Prime Minister and myself, given per-
sonally, that the King is still in this country. It is very likely that he would have
taken that decision on his own account-I cannot say-but our advice was strongly
that he should remain in this country, because we were perfectly conscious that his
arrival in Greece might certainly be the cause of a political controversy which we
wanted to avoid. That is not imposing the King, with British bayonets, on the
Greek people. I want to go a little further, and I hope the hon. Gentleman will
do me the courtesy of listening. The hon. Gentleman said that the British Govern-
ment were throwing the weight of British Ministers against a Regency. The answer
is that we are not; we are not against a Regency, and we are not throwing our
weight against a Regency.

Leeper First Suggested Regency
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will let me develop my speech. I did not intend
to reveal this, but I think that in fairness I should. Many harsh things have been
said about our Ambassador in Athens. Some Members suggested that the question
of the establishment of a Regency had been a spontaneous suggestion from Greek
Ministers, or something of that kind. But in point of fact the first suggestion for
a Regency was made by His Majesty's Ambassador in Athens. He put it forward,
and when my right hon. Friend the Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Macmil-
lan) reached there, he confirmed the judgment of the Ambassador. What is the
position of the King? As I understand it it is this. He feels that before he can
make a decision on a matter of this kind he must get recommendations from the
leaders of the parties in Greece. (Laughter.) The hon. Member laughs, but does
he want this to be constitutional or not? The King says, "Before I can decide I
would like to know the views of the political parties in Greece." .







British Speeches of the Day


We are not at all opposed to a Regency; on the contrary, it may be the best
solution, but I think the Ministers themselves and the leaders of the political
parties in Greece have the right to express their own opinion, and to express it to
the King. I understand the King will then make a decision on their advice. . .
Hon. Members might let me finish. He has not gone to Greece at our re-
quest. He awaits the advice of his Ministers, and so' far as I am aware if they
give that advice he will take it. I have tried to avoid imparting controversy into
this Debate, and I am sorry if I have done so at any stage.

Greece in Terrible Danger
Let me try to sum up. We want to bring the present conflict to an end as
speedily as possible, by whatever means can be devised. Apart from the tragedy
of the loss of life, we must bring it to an end, otherwise we cannot get supplies to
Greece and there will be the tragedy of starvation. We are trying to get food into
Greece. With the help of the Red Cross some supplies have been sent in, but they
are pitifully small and they will not he enough if the present situation continues
much longer. A population of 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 in Athens will be faced
by the serious threat of starvation and disease. The rest of Greece is in great need
of supplies which cannot reach there because of the present disturbed conditions.
So, we shall use all the means at our disposal to try to bring this conflict to an
end. We shall use all the means at our disposal to ensure that this conflict is not
made the excuse for a lasting vendetta, either of the Right against the Left, or of
the Left against the Right, and that when the conflict is over neither side shall
be allowed to try to eliminate the other. Our aim is to maintain law and order
and establish a Greek Government broadly representative of all opinion in Greece,
including E.A.M., and enable that Government to establish its authority through-
out the country. Our desire is to see such a Government re-formed at the earliest
possible date. The first task of that Government will be to get relief going again,
and food for their people. The second task will be to organize a free and fair
election. If our help is needed it will be available, and if our Allies will come
and help, that help will be valuable. We ask nothing of the Greeks. It is our
wish to bring our troops away as soon as is practically possible. We only ask
that order shall be established so that the people shall be fed with supplies, the
greater part of which we have ourselves collected. This is an unhappy phase in
Anglo-Greek relations. I hope that this chapter will soon be dosed, that there
will be once again that friendship in which we have taken a pride and that the
Greek people and our own people will be united together.
[House of Commons Debates]




RT. HON. ANTHONY EDEN
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
House of Commons, December 15, 1944

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Pethick-
Lawrence) has just made a speech of characteristic and constructive thoughtful-
ness, and I would like to say at once that with a large part-I think I can al-
most say with by far the greater part-of what he has said I find myself in
complete agreement. In speaking about this matter today I want to try as hard






The Curzon Line


as I possibly can to put the position as I see it, not from the angle of Poland or
of Russia, but from the angle of those of us in this country who have had to deal
with this vexatious problem for all this long period. I shall try very hard, and
I hope I shall succeed, in saying nothing that will be regarded as partisan. At any
rate, I beg the House to believe this, that having dealt with this subject for so
long, I am incapable of being partisan for either one side or the other. All I
heartily wish is for a solution, if it can be found, which will be acceptable to both
sides.
Let me first answer one or two speeches which were made. I have no com-
plaint whatever as Foreign Secretary about the speeches in this Debate by any
hon. Members. As I conceive it, it is the duty of Members of Parliament to ex-
press their views on these matters with frankness. It is the principal method by
which we make plain to the world the views of British opinion. The fact that
those opinions are sometimes contrary to His Majesty's Government, does not
necessarily mean that the opinions are always wrong. I therefore assure my hon.
Friends who referred to it, that, so far as I am concerned, no complaint lies any-
where that a certain amount of frankness has been used and, as I think, rightly
used in the course of this Debate.

Churchill Misquoted Atlantic'Charter
I begin with the point raised by my hon. Friend the senior Burgess of Cam-
bridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) about the reference of my right hon. Friend
the Prime Minister to the Atlantic Charter. I start with that, because I would
like to clear it out of the way before I get down to the main subject of the Debate.
What my right hon. Friend intended to convey was that, in view of His Majesty's
Government, there is an exception to the general principle that there should be
no territorial changes before the peace table. My hon. Friend is correct in pointing
out that that exception is not in the Atlantic Charter. The exception is in cases
where the changes are mutually agreed, and that is not part of the Atlantic Charter.
It is part of a statement of our own policy which we made in September, 1940,
when the Prime Minister said:
".We have not at any time adopted since this war broke out the line
that nothing can be changed in the territorial structures of the various coun-
tries. On the other hand, we do not propose to recognize any territorial
changes which take place during the war, unless they take place with the free
consent and goodwill of the parties concerned."-(Official report, 5th Sep-
tember, 1940; Vol. 365, c. 40.)
It is to that that my right hon. Friend was referring, and not to the Atlantic
Charter, and my hon. Friend was perfectly correct in his observations.

Affection for Polish Allies
Now I come to the main issue of the Debate, th Polish-Soviet relations and
the problem that underlies them. I do not hesitate, to say, from the point of
view of His Majesty's Government, that this has been for the last three years,
or a little more, the most vexatious and anxious problem with which we have
to deal. It is not only that it is of the greatest importance that Allied unity
should be maintained, and that it cannot be effectively maintained unless our
Allies are in general agreement; it is not only because it is important to us who
are allied to both those countries that there should be some understanding be-
tween them, but it is because, unless there is some understanding we find it
difficult to see how there can be confidence, settlement and peace in Eastern
Europe, when this war is over; and if there be not this confidence, then the
repercussions will be felt by us all.






British Speeches of the Day


Both these countries, I have said, are our Allies. We entered this war of
our own free will, by our own deed, in fulfillment of our guarantees to Poland.
Ours is the only country which has continued with its own territory-our island
territory-intact throughout the war, and which did, as I say, enter the war
voluntarily and of its own free will. From time to time it is right that we should
remind ourselves and others of that. We have, as the war has progressed, felt
a growing, not only esteem, but affection for our Polish Allies: for those we
have known, and for those we have seen in this country, and for their Armed
Forces, and for the gallantry of the part that they have played. There is some-
thing more than that; we have seen also that, of all the countries that have been
under the harrow of this war, Poland has, perhaps, suffered most of all. All
those considerations have entered into it, and I do not regard myself, and I do
not think any hon. Member should regard himself, as sentimental, if these con-
siderations weigh heavily on us when we approach this problem.
On the other side, we have our 20 years' treaty with Russia. We understand,
and we believe that they understand and other nations understand, how much
the future peace of Europe is going to depend upon our ability to work together
and to understand each other. We remember that in three great wars we have
fought together on the same side in the end, although we may not have begun
as Allies, and that after each of them, we have fallen apart. We know that if
that happens again, the prospects for the peace of Europe are very frail indeed.
Those considerations have to be in our minds when we face this problem, as we
have to face it now.
So it is that, ever since the German attack on Russia in the summer of 1941,
we have labored unceasingly to try to solve these Polish-Soviet differences. We
have not been successful always, but we have been successful sometimes. It was
here in London, actually in my room at the Foreign Office, that the Soviet-Polish
Treaty was signed, in the summer of 1941. Despite a checkered history, many
differences, arguments, criticisms and charges and counter-charges, that Treaty
did stand until February of last year, when it was denounced-I do not know
whether "denounced" is the right word-or when, rather, it was regarded as in
abeyance by the Soviet Government. Ever since then, we have tried to bring
about a resumption of relations. Sometimes we seemed to be almost in sight
of the goal and at others, the prospects became gloomy again. Since I have
been much concerned in these long negotiations, I ought today to pay my tribute,
which is a heartfelt one, to the courage and patience with which, first, General
Sikorski and later M. Mikolajczyk and M. Romer, made their contribution to
our work. Now I have to report that the prospects are not as good as they have
been, but we shall continue to do all we can to secure a strong and independent
Poland as our Ally, and, as we trust, the Ally of Soviet Russia.

Historic British Task
Now I come to one of the criticisms-perhaps not criticisms but observations-
made in the Debate on a remark which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister
let fall. I have not his exact words here, but I think they were to the effect
that we were dealing with two very great Powers, as great, if not perhaps greater
than us. I do not think that those words were quite correctly understood. I
am absolutely certain that my right hon. Friend had not the least intention of
suggesting that in meetings with any of those other great Powers we had any
sense of inferiority at all. Certainly we have not. I would ask my hon. Friends
who know the Prime Minister to imagine, if they can, my right hon. Friend
feeling himself any sense of inferiority over this. So far, that is a spectacle
that I have never seen either at home or abroad.







The Curzon Line


I would like to put the position a little differently. I would say that our
position in the world and our sense that we feel the equal, and fully the equal,
of even the greatest Powers on the earth's surface, is not in any sense based on
geography, on size or on population. I do not think these are the basis of our
strength and our authority; I think it is due to something different. I think
it comes from the fact that, owing to our island position, our traditions and our
long history, we have shown ourselves' able, over and over again, in titanic
struggles to be the leader in marshalling a coalition against any Power which
has sought to impose its will on Europe. And that is why I say that there is
no need for anybody to think for one moment that, in discussions, we feel inferior
to any Ally, however great, to whom we have to speak and to whom we have
to express our position. I am bound to say in addition that if our position is so
authoritative in Europe today there is no man who has played a greater part
in that than the Prime Minister himself.

Russia Wants No Overlordship
I want to say something about some of the criticisms, not uttered today, but
which I have seen, particularly in Polish quarters, of the efforts which M.
Mikolajczyk, M. Romer and M. Grabski have made to reach agreement with
our Russian Allies. Any criticism on that score is misplaced. The truth is that,
as I understand it, these Polish leaders understood how essential it was to Poland
and to Europe that they should make some effort, and a great effort, to settle
these age-long disputes, even though it might involve painful sacrifices.
[Mr. Petherick: Were they not settled five years ago?]
Forgive me if I say that I do not think that that is a complete answer to this
problem. These frontiers have been a matter of vexatious dispute for centuries,
and we over-simplify our problem if we treat it in that way. I am going to put
all I know about it, as fairly as I can. I do not believe that we can say: "It was
settled five .years ago and that there is nothing more to be done." I do not
think that would be possible, or reasonable, or that many wise Polish leaders
would regard it as the way finally to settle this problem.
I want to deal with another point that has been made. There has never been,
I must emphasize, in this discussion in London, from the Soviet side, any sug-
gestion that, as a result of any arrangement which might be made between Russia
and ourselves, Poland's links with the West should in any way be modified or
affected. On the contrary, Marshal Stalin emphasized to M. Mykolajczyk his de-
sire that the Treaty with ourselves and the Polish Treaty with France and any
relations that were possible between Poland and the United States subject to the
constitutional position of the United States, should be continued and if need be
reinforced. I think he has said that publicly and I think that it should be stressed
because it is not in my judgment true to suggest that the Soviet Government de-
sires that the Polish State and Government should be, as it were, in her orbit
and have no territorial or political links with other Governments.

History of the Curzon Line
I come to slightly more controversial ground. I shall try to give a brief ac-
count and I hope an accurate account of the story of the Curzon Line, to which
reference has been made by several Members in the course of the Debate. What
was the origin of this Line? It was originally drawn up by the Commission on
Polish Affairs to the Paris Supreme Council. They drew it up to mark the east-
ern limit of what was indisputably Polish territory so that the Polish Government
could immediately take over the administration in that area without question, even







60 British Speeches of the Day

while the position in relation to Russia was obscure. That was in 1919, and the
proposal became associated with Lord Curzon's name only a year later, when this
proposal was pulled out, as it were, again, and put before the two parties as an
attempt to bring hostilities to an end. Then it came to be called the Curzon Line,
but the work upon it was done a year before. It is fair to say that it was from
the outset only intended to show the minimum amount of territory which should
be assigned to Poland in the east. It is also true to say that the British delega-
tion at the Peace Conference consistently maintained that any further eastward
extension of Polish territory beyond the Curzon Line would be highly dangerous
to Poland, and before the Treaty of Riga was signed in 1921 we several times
warned the Polish Government against such extensions. Thus in the view which
my right hon Friend was expressing earlier today he was not departing so vio-
lently as some Members of the House seem to think from what has been our po-
sition before in relation to this vexed question.
[Mr. Ivor Thomas: Is the Secretary of State able to confirm that the Soviet
Foreign Minister, Tchicherin, replied to Lord Curzon that the Curzon Line was
unacceptable because it was too unfavorable to the Poles?]
I am familiar with that one. It is absolutely correct, and the reason for that
was that in the belief of the Soviet Government at that time a district which I
think is called Chelm was thought by the Soviet Government to be on the Rus-
sian side of the Curzon Line; and they said, and rightly said, that that was Polish
territory, and they did not agree with the Curzon Line in regard to that particular
area. These are technical matters, but I tried to answer the hon. Member be-
cause there is no bias in this. We want to try to see how this position arose.

Southerly Extension of Curzon Line
I go to the next stage which is significant-August, 1920. At that time, the
opposite happened to what had happened before. While at the earlier date the
Curzon Line was proposed to the Soviet Government by us with the approval of
the Polish Government, at the later stage to which I am referring the Soviet
Government, in their turn, approached the Polish Government with a proposal-
which was approximately in fact the Curzon Line-and the Polish Government
asked our opinion. We then told the Polish Government in 1920-the Soviet
Government having communicated to us the text of the terms-that we consid-
ered such terms would leave her enthnographical frontier unimpaired, and we
urged them, the Polish Government, not to refuse these terms. I only mention
these facts because it is fair to try to give the House a picture of past events,
though I do not myself overemphasize their importance.
I would like to refer to another matter which I think we must try and get
into the right perspective-the problem of Galicia. In the extension of the Cur-
zon Line to the south two alternatives were recommended to the Supreme Coun-
cil's Commission on Polish affairs. At this stage I should perhaps mention that
our representative on the Commission was Sir Eyre Crowe, certainly a distin-
guished holder of that position. There were two proposals. One was Line A,
which is the line that the Soviet Government now claim as the basis of the
frontier itself. Line A was proposed as the boundary between Poland proper
and an autonomous Eastern Galicia, which it was hoped to set up under the
suzerainty of Poland. Line B further to the East, which left Lvov to Poland, was
recommended if the bulk of Eastern Galicia was excluded from Poland and the
autonomous State under her suzerainty was not created. I hope that I make this
rather complicated business clear.
Our delegation favored Line A-the line which the Soviet Government are
now asking for-and it was eventually adopted by the Supreme Council, and







The Curzon Line


embodied in the draft Treaty. Of the reasons which actuated us at that time, one
was the economic position in that part of Europe and the necessity, as those who
reported thought, of keeping this economic area of Eastern Galicia as a whole.
The second reason was the possibility that there might be there a larger inde-
pendent State, perhaps as part of a greater Ukraine. I think the final reason
was the population problem. At that time the population of this area between
Line A and Line B, which is, as far as territorial matters go, the crux of the
dispute-if our Polish friends could get Line B their attitude would probably be
modified a good deal, and personally I can well understand their attitude-the
populations at that time were, out of a total of about 1,500,000, over 500,000
Ukrainians, little more than 250,000 Poles, and the rest Jews. I think that was the
reason why those concerned at that time had in mind to try and arrange some
autonomous regime.

Population of Disputed Area
I would like to ask the House for a moment to look at the population prob-
lem generally in the area between the Riga frontier and the Curzon Line taking
Line A. The figures I shall give are those of the 1931 Polish census. They are
the latest figures available to us though likely enough there have been very con-
siderable changes since then. They showed that the population in that area, in
what might be called the disputed area, was 10,700,000. Of that total, 3,900,000
are polish-speaking population; 3,200,000 are Roman Catholic population. I
think those who are authorities on these matters say, usually, the religious figures
are rather nearer to the mark than the language-speaking figures, because, for
instance, Jews might be Polish-speaking Jews who would be included in one
and not the other. That is about the figure-at the most 3,900,000, at the least
3,200,000. It would be fair to say, therefore, that while there are no later figures
than those of 1931 the Poles have never constituted much more than a third of the
total population of this area.
[Commander Agnew (Camborne): Has my right hon. Friend any figures for
Lvov itself ?
I have not, but I would gladly give them if my hon. and gallant Friend would
like to put down a Question. My view is that there is certainly a Polish majority
in Lvov itself. I have always taken that view though in the surrounding country
there is a Ukrainian majority.
The Moscow Conversations
Let me turn to the present situation, and, its difficulties. First, I would like
to answer a question on supplies, by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member
for the Wirral (Captain Graham). This matter is now being examined by the
Prime Minister and myself, with our technical advisors. I am unable to say ex-
actly what we shall do in the winter months, but it is under examination, and
it is on the basis of what we can do that we shall decide our action.
[Mr. Petherick: Before my right hon Friend leaves the history of events in
the earlier part of the two years immediately after the last war, may I say that
he has given a perfectly fair account of the events leading up to the Treaty of
Riga, but he has not mentioned the Treaty of Riga, which was the final arrange-
ment between Poland and Russia, and which always operated until 1939?]
I had not mentioned the Treaty of Riga, but I do not know which point my
hon. Friend wishes me to make about it. My point is that the story of this area
is a long-disputed one. Before the Treaty was signed, we ourselves advised the
Poles-I am not saying whether we were right or wrong-not to go so far East
as the frontiers given by the Treaty of Riga. It is true that the Russians accepted








62 British Speeches of the Day

the Treaty-nobody disputes that. But you cannot say, "This is where I take my
stand, and I refuse to go back any farther."-for if you do, it will be impossible
to reach a settlement. It is quite true that it was our initiative-the Prime Min-
ister's and mine-at Moscow which raised this Polish question once again. We
went to Moscow with the fullest intention of talking about it, and of putting
our point of view to our Russian Ally. I would like some of my hon. Friends
to believe that we are capable of putting our case quite strongly, even to an Ally,
though we do not necessarily put it in quite the same way on the Floor of the
House of Commons-and I hope we shall not put it in quite the same way on
the Floor of the House of Commons. The first thing we asked was whether M.
Grabski and M. Mikolajczyk, who had been parties to the conversations before,
could come to Moscow again. That proposition was at once accepted, on the first
night of our arrival, by M. Stalin and M. Molotov; and they came to Moscow. I
had hoped-I do not deny that-that, as a result of this discussion, a measure of
agreement would arise large enough to enable the conversations to continue, and
a final settlement to be reached. But after M. Mikolajczyk got back the Polish
Government was reconstituted, and those hopes have been disappointed.

Polish Future Not Nebulous
My hon. Friend the Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Raikes), in his very
eloquent speech, asked whether I could say a little more about the Moscow con-
versations. I will say a little, but not much more, because I have not abandoned
all hope of working out some solution to this problem. I think it is fair to ask
that the House should have some answer. First, my hon. Friend said that the
Polish Government were asked to give up at once, and go into the nebulous fu-
ture, with uncertainty as to what Poland will get. If that were the position, I
would agree that it would be quite an unacceptable one from the Polish point of
view. But that was not the position. The position was that concessions-1 do
not like that word, let us say frontier changes, would be made. There was abso-
lute agreement between us and the Russians, as well as the Poles, on the changes
there would be in the West. The Poles would not be committed to the Curzon
Line unless, as a result of these discussions, agreement was finally reached, and
the Polish Government, headed by M. Mikolajczyk, went into Poland and took
up their position there. There was no question of our asking the Poles to give
up something without agreement being reached. There was also the question of
the composition of the Committee, on which my hon. Friend asked whether they
were going to be 75 per cent, or not. ...
The very fact that the Russians were in possession was one of the reasons why
we wanted to get agreement. I will explain why. I do not know what the Lublin
Committee may have wanted, but I think it had never entered our heads to think
that such an arrangement would be possible for a moment. In fact, the only
thing that was agreed about the future composition of the Polish Government was
that M. Mikolajczyk himself should be Prime Minister. That was one thing about
which everybody seemed to be agreed-ourselves, the Russians, the Lublin Com-
mittee, and the Polish Government in London.

Uncertainty About America's Action
[Mr. Pickthorn: May I ask my right hon. Friend to answer a question which
I put to him, and which, I think, is relevant to this point? On what date did
His Majesty's Government assure themselves that the Polish Government under-
stood the constitutional impossibility of a Washington guarantee?]
I was coming to that. There was no misunderstanding about that. We do
tell our Allies frankly about these matters. We do not try to deceive people. We






The Curzon Line


put it quite plainly to our Polish friends. I do not believe that my hon,Friend
fully understood-I will not say understood, but fully balanced-what the Prime
Minister said on this subject. He said:
"It is certainly to be hoped that the three Great Powers will guarantee
the independent, sovereign, free Poland which will emerge from any arrange-
ment which is made now and ratified at the Peace Conference."
That is what my hon. Friend quoted. But my right hon. Friend went on to
say, in that very speech, that the question was whether the United States Govern-
ment would be in a position to give such a guarantee now. He also said:
"It is not for me to speak of the affairs of the United States of America."
-(Official Report, 27th October, 1944; Vol. 404, c. 499.)
He said the same thing today. I really think we can say that at no time have we
allowed our Polish friends-and I do not think that they would say we had-to
think that they would have a guarantee that we could not give. We can speak only
for ourselves. I do not doubt that the Poles are as well aware as we are of the con-
stitutional difficulties of the United States. Considering the number of Poles in
the United States, there must be plenty of people there to send telegrams to tell
them about it.

The Corridor
I come to a question which I do not think has played a great part-and which
should have played a greater part-except in the speech of the hon. Gentleman
who spoke just now. That is the Corridor. There has been a great deal of dis-
cussion about Eastern Poland, but hardly a word about the Corridor. I have taken
the view for many years, as an individual, that it is impossible for the Polish
State to have an independent national life with the Corridor system perpetuated. I
have told the House that once or twice before. I sat at Geneva as rapporteur on
this wretched Danzig business. Actually it was quite unworkable. Some people
seem to think, quite wrongly, that the Corridor was German. It was not; the popu-
lation of the Corridor was Polish. But, even so, the cross-traffic and the endless
problems of the Free City of Danzig, and the growing Herrenvolk attitude of the
German officials towards Poles, made it absolutely impossible for there to be any
arrangement on those lines. I say to the House that, quite independently of this
Polish-Russian problem at all, long ago I think I am on record as having said
this. The only way to solve this problem was that East Prussia should go to the
Poles and that the population of East Prussia should be shifted out. That is the
only way to get a permanent settlement.
In conclusion, I want to say a word about the movement of population. Of
course, my hon. Friend is right-it is an immensely difficult question. I do not
think it is impossible, and, if it is the only way to solve this problem of the Cor-
ridor, as I am convinced it is, then we have got to face it. The House should re-
member that there were certain populations of Polish descent when East Prussia
was under Polish suzerainty. I repeat my own conviction that it is the only way
in which we can hope to obtain a lasting settlement there.
Now I come to the question of what we are going to do now. If I may say
so, of the comments and the criticisms I have heard, there has only been one al-
ternative policy suggested, which was to wait until the Peace Conference to settle
these matters and to hold our hands meanwhile and make no commitment. I think
I was urged by one of my hon. Friends: "Do not say something or do something
which may be dishonorable, and do not commit yourselves to lines in Eastern
Europe for which you will afterwards be blamed." The last consideration does
not weigh so heavily as it should, because, in my experience, whatever you do, you






64 British Speeches of the Day

are quite certain to be blamed by somebody, so that consideration is not going to
weigh very much. At the same time, that is the only alternative-to take no further
action and let the matter wait until the Peace Conference. One of my hon.
Friends asked why we did not do that originally? My reply is that we foresaw
this position arising, with Russian Armies advancing through Poland, with no
understanding whatever with the Polish Government, which we were convinced
represented majority opinion in Poland, and with- no arrangements of any kind,
no civil affairs agreement other than some administration being set up to carry on
the Government somehow, or else it being done direct by the Russians. We saw
all the friction which would inevitably result. We knew, because the Russians
told us this, that they were prepared to make, with M. Mikolajczyk's Govern-
ment, if the frontier could be settled, an arrangement similar to the one they had
with the Czechs and similar to the one we have with the Belgians, the Dutch
and the French. . .
If we could have gotten an understanding between the Soviet and M. Mikol-
ajczyk's Government we knew the Soviet Government would make a civil affairs
agreement with the Polish Government on the same lines as we have made one with
the Belgians and the French. Such an agreement should have provided for the
setting up of a Polish administration which would have the confidence of the
Polish people, and we should have avoided those incidents and troubles, per-
haps serious troubles, which we are likely to see when there is no agreement. That
is the reason why we took this risk, and, if you like, burnt our fingers, but it was
a case in which, if we had not made this attempt, there would inevitably have
been these difficulties.

We Recognize the London Government
What is the position now? An hon. Gentleman asked me just now whether
we would go on trying. I must honestly say that, at present, the prospects of
agreement are pretty bleak. They are, honestly, not as good between this Polish
Government and the Soviet as they were between the previous Polish Government
and the Soviet Government; but if there was any opportunity, despite the risks,
and I know what they are, I think it would still be our duty to try. I think that,
among the very many perils that may arise, the worst that I see is the failure to
reach a settlement of this question, because I see repercussions that may arise which
may affect the relations of ourselves and our Soviet Allies, and the relations of
America and ourselves and of all of us, and which will affect that widespread
co-operation which is so indispensable.
I can say this to my hon. Friends. It is quite likely that we shall fail and
not get another opportunity. If that happens, what is our position? We recog-
nize this Government here in London as we recognized its predecessor. The sub-
ject will then have to wait for the Peace Conference, when all the Powers meet,
and I can only say that I pray that those who have to handle it then will be more
successful than we have been. I am not so optimistic as to see exactly why they
should be more successful than we have been, but I am prepared to believe my
hon. Friends when they say that they hope they will have that success. There is
a danger that developments will occur which I think will not be good for the
unity of the United Nations, and that is why we are trying to avoid this position
coming about.

Regular Meetings Desirable
My last words are about 'unity also, because it was raised in questions put
by the hon. Member for Aberdeen, East (Mr. Boothby) and the right hon. Gentle-
man the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence.) The Prime Min-







The Outlook for Foreign Trade 65

ister referred to this in his speech and both speakers have said that it was an un-
easy and gloomy forecast that the three Powers were not going to meet. We ar-
dently wish that they should meet, and I would go further and say that it is im-
mensely desirable that the three men upon whom the chief responsibility falls
should meet. I think it is also desirable that, at regular intervals, a second eleven,
in the shape of the Foreign Secretaries, should also meet. I believe that, if that
could be done regularly, we might be able to iron out some of the problems and
avoid some of the difficulties which arise. We might perhaps help to prepare
the way for the heads of the Governments to meet themselves.
So far as we are concerned we are perfectly ready to co-operate in any scheme
of that kind, to travel anywhere and meet them anywhere and to work with
them. It is not in our power to do more than that and it is for others also
to make a gesture. The Prime Minister is the oldest of all these men and has had
the heaviest war burden of them all. For the last four years it has been on his
shoulders. I think others ought to move too, and I hope they will, and move
soon, so that some of these problems can be dealt with.
Let me finish by saying that I am grateful to the House and to hon. Members
in all parts for the way they have spoken in this Debate. I think hon. Members
were right to be frank, and right to say what their feelings were. I cannot hold
out hopes of success in agreement between these countries, as matters are, but I
think it is sometimes the case, in diplomacy, that, if you stand back and let the
problem lie, success may come. Our affection and esteem for our Polish friends
is 'deep and real, and our desire to work with our Soviet Allies is unshaken. We
are in the unhappy position of trying to reconcile a problem which does not date
from our time but from centuries ago. So far, we have not succeeded, and it is small
comfort to know that others have failed before us, but we shall go on trying,
confident that in so doing we shall not dishonor our country, but are fairly and
truly trying to bring together nations who must be friends if their people are
to live in happiness and peace in the years to come.
[House of Commons Debates]




RT. HON. OLIVER LYTTELTON
Minister of Production
House of Commons, December 6, 1944

May I add my congratulations to those which have been offered to my hon.
and gallant Friend the Member for Bilston (Colonel Gibbons) for his very
thoughtful maiden speech, to which we all listened with admiration? We shall
hope to hear much more of him. I cannot enter upon the very wide topics which
this amendment and the speeches of the Mover and Seconder have raised today
without first saying that even first thoughts about post-war trade cannot be
formed, much less expressed, unless against the background of the grim and
sombre realities with which we are still faced. It is the wish of my colleagues
in the War Cabinet, as it is mine, to begin the reply to the first part of this De-
bate by giving a warning. It is winter; Germans are not beaten and the Japanese
war is still raging in China, Burma, the Philippines and at sea and in the air.
We may yet have to face battles sterner and bloodier than any we have yet fought,
and although victory is certain the time of victory is uncertain. At no time in the







66 British Speeches of the Day

war have we had greater need for singleness of purpose and greater exertions.
We must be strung up to the highest pitch we have yet achieved to exploit our
successes and press home our attacks.
Even by the discussion of such things as trade after the war, the impression
may gain ground that we can now start to improve the civilian standard of living
and resume exports in a substantial way. Such an impression is false. If such an opin-
ion were allowed to diminish our efforts we should be betraying the men who are fight-
ing our battles and we would be throwing away the opportunities which our sacrifices
have won for us. It would mean delay in victory and, with it, the loss of tens of thous-
ands of men who are the flower of the country, and to whom we look to be the fathers
of our future. No tragedy could be more poignant than that. There will be
changes in war production, and there may even be releases next year to civilian
employment. Men and women will be taken from their present work and given
other work, but because the scale of production is reduced in certain factories,
those who are left at work in them must not relax the tension under which they
have labored for so long. Every hour lost now, may mean another hour of
war, and of death. The only way in which we can make the last round a short
round, is by not relaxing. In the field of action there is still only one word,
"War"-unremitting and unrelenting.

Export Trade Has Been Cut Down
I must say that I listened to the speech of the seconder of the Amendment with
my usual admiration for his facility, but with something very like astonishment.
He seemed, first, to suggest that the export trade of this country had been allowed
to wither through inefficiency and the cold hand of officialdom. Our export trade
has not withered; it has been cut down as an act of policy. It has been cut down
to make its contribution to winning the war.
Again I was astonished to hear some of the phrases in which it was suggested
that the Board of Trade must now get into the posture in which it could win the
counter-departmental battle against the Ministry of Aircraft Production, the Min-
istry of Supply and the Admiralty, who, it is said, must not sneak through their
requirements for this, that or the other. These remarks are entirely unrealistic.
They may be applicable to other targets but not to the one with which we are faced
today. The task of reconversion from war to peace is vast and complicated. We
can see how great it is when we look back and remember how long it took to
turn our peace industries into the field of. war production. We did not reach
full war production until the end of 1942, and the task of going back the other
way is even greater, because war not only destroys in the economic sense but also
distorts. Considerations which have nothing to do with economics-military
considerations-supervene, the broad rivers of trade are diverted into channels in
which they have never flowed before, and considerations of cost and profit have
to give way to considerations of conserving manpower, shipping and foreign ex-
change, and it is on cost and profit that any industry, whether controlled by the
State or by private enterprise, must ultimately depend for its vigour and for its
survival. All these things in war are swept away.
Again, in the field of manpower the young men are fighting and their places
at the bench and the lathe are taken over by.young women.' It is still true that
one worker in three in the munitions industry is a woman. I have several times
mentioned, here and elsewhere, that our production, in terms of volume or value,
has now reached the highest point ever recorded in history whilst at the same
time-this is an important qualification-our imports, judged by tonnage, are
only about 40 per cent of what they were before the war. I am discussing this
subject to show how artificial is the distortion, and how unnatural is such ; situa-






The Outlook for Foreign Trade 67

tion, because we can only reach that position by first, living on our capital. The
instance that occurs to me is that we are now producing and consuming some-
thing like four times the home-grown timber that we used before the war. That,
of course, is a diminishing asset and we have only achieved this almost miraculous
result-less than half the imports and maximum production-by the most grind-
ing economies, which are utterly unacceptable in peacetime, in the use of certain
commodities. The one which naturally occurs to one is paper. The savings that
we have effected in paper run into tens of millions of tons of shipping but, at
the other end, the price that has to be paid is this most unpleasant inability to
print the copies of the books which we require to disseminate our points of view.
The hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir W. Beveridge), I think, is rather
distressed that his book is very difficult to obtain, so I was a little surprised to
see in the middle of it a quotation which seemed to suggest that we can go on
living on his very small scale of imports. If he had been here, I should have
told him and the House that, if we go on with that small scale of imports, his
next book-I hope there will be many of them-will be equally unobtainable.

Responsibility Defined
The point that I am on now is that the present situation is highly artificial
and distorted, but our approach to the subject which has very few political aspects
is in the political sense quite uncontroversial. I must try to deal with things in
chronological order,, and I hope it will be for the convenience of the House if I
start upon the third part of the Amendment, which deals with the re-conversion
of industry from war to peace. There seems to me to be two reasons for adopting
this course. The first is that the release from war production must come first in point
of time. Of course, the release of capacity also carries with it the release of man-
power and, on these subjects, in my Ministerial capacity I do not sing, like the
poet, "Arms and the Man." I sing "Arms" and the Ministry of Labour sings
"The Man," and we have to try to keep in tune and in time. ...
I will deal first with the release of capacity, which comes first in point of
time. There is another reason, which was explained by the Prime Minister in
answer to a question about the definition of the areas of responsibility lying be-
tween myself, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and my
right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour. It is that up to the point of the re-
lease of. capacity it is my responsibility, its absorption into peace production is
the responsibility of the Board of Trade, whilst the Minister of Labour remains
the partner of both throughout the whole process. The reasons for this distinc-
tion are quite unassailable. The Supply Ministries are mainly concerned today
with the engineering and allied trades, which provide the bulk of munitions,
but there are many industries which even in war have nothing very direct to do with
munitions and which are still under the control of the Board of Trade. I think
of the distributive trades-pottery, for example, and many others. As the release
takes place from war production we must look to the peacetime Departments,
with catholic responsibility, if we are to get the right balance. That does not
mean, of course, that the Supply Departments are to release capacity and man-
power wherever it suits the production of munitions best. They have to consider
all the time whether that capacity and that manpower is being released in places,
and for production, which will suit the plans of the President of the Board
of Trade.
I will come to the methods by which this changeover is to be effected. At
present I am only defining the area where my responsibilities end and those of
the President's begin. I will describe a little later on the methods by which these
things are handled. In order to show that we are in the main in agreement with






68 British Speeches of the Day

what the mover of the Amendment said about the necessity of the Board of Trade
assuming more responsibility for industry than before, I have already arranged
with my right hon. Friend to make the capacity offices of the regional boards
with which some Members are familiar available as a common service both to
the Ministry of Production and to the Board of Trade. They are now housed
in a Board of Trade building. Furthermore, on a rather larger topic, the regional
boards are now acting as a common service. They, too, are chiefly concerned with
engineering and the allied trades, but as the emphasis of our needs'and our pro-
duction becomes more directed towards peacetime products it will be necessary
for the regional boards to evolve and for their representation to change and to
expand. As far as is in my power-the decision will obviously rest with another
Government-I am doing everything I can do to give the regional boards a
permanent part in a consultative capacity in peacetime, and it is through that
particular medium that I should also expect to get that consultation and'dis-
semination of knowledge, both to management and to workers, which will always
add, first to the efficiency, and also to the' satisfaction-that is not a small thing
either-of carrying out the job. It is a great advantage to know what you are up to.

The First Stage
The main subject of this Amendment, I think, divides itself into three. First
there is the policy that we follow; then there is the release of capacity, and then
there is what capacity should be released first and for what production. I will
try to deal with these three sections of the subject in order. Of course, the policy
is very simple. The policy must be, without damage to war production, to re-
lease capacity and labor in those areas where they can be most readily absorbed,
and for purposes which will make the greatest immediate contribution to the
re-establishment of our commercial, financial and industrial life, of which the ex-
port trade is only one. In formulating either the policy or the method, we were
suffering from four main uncertainties which dominated, if they did not strangle,
the whole of the planning upon which we are resolved. Those four uncertainties
were, first, when will Hitler be beaten; secondly on the day when he is beaten,
how far forward in the Pacific will our American Allies be, and how far forward
will our own troops be in Burma; and then, what will be the nature of our de-
ployment against Japan? A very different deployment would be called for today
from what might be called for towards the end of the year. Lastly, what aid,
munitions and non-munitions, can we count on during the war with Japan from
the United States? The last df these four uncertainties has been resolved by the
recent negotiations. We now know in very definite form what munition and non-
munition supplies we shall receive from the United States during that period,
and we shall receive them on the most generous scale which the provisions of the
Lend-Lease Act permit.
On the first stage of re-conversion we can do more than plan; we can act, and
we have acted. The first step obviously is to release, as far as war conditions
permit, designers, draftsmen and technicians with the object of starting on the
production of prototypes and samples and carrying on experiments with different
products, always with the proviso that it must not interfere with war production.
The Board of Trade have invited applications from industry ior these facilities,
and, subject to that proviso, the Board are willing to grant facilities in generous
measure. The applications, although they are numerous are, I must frankly say,
rather disappointing, and I hope that Members will help in making it known that
the Board of Trade are anxious to provide, wherever they can, the facilities for
preparatory work. On another point I must add that, once a scheme is approved, the
Minister of Labour undertakes not to remove the labor, unless some emergency
production of higher priority should make it impossible for him subsequently






The Outlook for Foreign Trade 69

to carry out that promise; but to get the scheme carried out by the Board of Trade
carries with it, as far as possible, the right to hold the labor for these jobs . .

Manpower and Markets
I must say a word about the raw materials for preparatory work. There is
no bottleneck here at all. The quantities involved are insignificant, and with one
or two obvious exceptions, of which rubber is one that will occur to hon. Mem-
bers, I do not see any difficulty in supplying the raw materials for preparatory
work. . I do not think that, speaking as a whole, we shall be up against
shortages of raw materials for samples.
The actual release from war production of capacity and consequently of man-
power, although it may be substantial, cannot reach massive proportions until
after the end of the German war. I would remind hon. Members that, even one
year after the end of the German war, more than 50 per cent of the resources
now engaged on war production will still be required for the war against Japan.
Re-conversion from war to peace is going to be a much harder business than the
turnover from one type of war production to another. During the last 18 months
or so large numbers, running into hundreds of thousands, of workers have been
shifted from one form of war production to another, and the amount of unem-
ployment caused has been very small. This has not happened by chance. It has
happened only as the result of an elaborate piece of organization . and by
very careful liaison arrangements between the Ministry of Labour and the Supply
Departments. In re-conversion from war to peace we have no longer at the end
of the day an absolutely definite customer like we have when we are dealing with
weapons of war. In war production, when we change from guns to aircraft, the
Government is the buyer in all cases, but that cannot apply in peacetime. ..
The reason is, especially when we are talking about exports, that we have to
cater for the demands of buyers, the nature of whose demands cannot be fore-
told with great accuracy. Some of them are even in the occupation of the enemy
at this moment, and the ability of some of them to pay will be greatly impaired
by the sufferings through which they have gone during the war.
[Mr. Gallacher: In view of the exceptional difficulties that will arise, does
the right hon. Gentleman wish to impress on the House that it is better to leave
the export trade in a disorganized way than to organize it and overcome the
difficulties ?]
If I gave the hon. Member that impression it is a quite erroneous one.
I am now elaborating what are the problems we have to solve. To put the
Government in as the buyer at the end of the day for everything which we cannot
sell elsewhere is an economic solution which is very distasteful to me and to many
hon. Members on this side. The problem is not so bad as it sounds because there
will be, immediately after the war, an insistent demand for all classes of goods
'all over the world. "Therefore, the problem, to put it in true balance, is first,
to prevent transitional unemployment, which is quite possible, even though the
total demand may be in excess of there total supply, but that can be solved by or-
ganization; and, second, to try and direct, or to influence if you like-I do not
want to be controversial-our short resources into those industries and activities
which can make most contribution to our immediate needs.

Justice Between Firms
At this point I want to deal with a subject which was raised by the mover
of the Amendment and which is very important. That is whether in this re-con-
version we can pay much attention to justice between one firm and another. Is it
possible to cut down the munition program so that firms are treated justly and






70 British Speeches of the Day

so that it is done equally among the members of an industry? Although I have
given this matter a great deal of thought, I do not think that, as a rule, it will be
possible that considerations of equity as between one company and another to
enter very often into our calculations. It would be comparatively simple if the
whole of an industry was engaged upon the manufacture of a particular war-
like store. Then you might aim at an apportionment of the cut-down so that the
production fell in perfectly steady proportions, but, unfortunately, the pattern of
war production is not like that at all.
I will give the House an instance. The 25-pounder gun carriage has been
manufactured by no fewer than 18 firms. Of these in peacetime, four were mak-
ing food processing machinery, three were on railway equipment, including two
railway workshops, two were on gas and oil equipment, two on printing and
others on weighing machines, pumps, excavators, mining machinery and general
engineering. All these, diverse industries have been turned over in wartime to
the manufacture of the 25-pounder gun carriage. If we start to cut down the 25-
pounder carriage, how is it possible for us to arrange the pattern of these diverse
industries so that one manufacturer of food processing machinery does not get
a start over another? I must tell the House, frankly and bluntly, that I believe
a just apportionment between company and company in this kind of field will
prove, in 90 cases out of 100, if not more, to be impossible. In this matter the
national interest alone can govern our plan, but where we can deal equitably
the House may be assured that we shall do so.

Administrative Machinery for Re-conversion Program
I do not want to weary the House with a lot of detail, but I must set out in
broad terms what the drill is in the re-conversion program.
I am afraid that this part is purely administrative and a little dusty. At the
moment the Supply Department-and this will apply to re-conversion as well as
to alterations in war production-receives notification from the Service Depart-
ment which it supplies of a cut in its requirements, that Department makes a pre-
liminary plan based on what it thinks will cause the least dislocation to produc-
tion and will produce its war stores with the greatest efficiency, taking account of
the need to free particular industries and firms for civil production, for the needs
of development areas, and so forth. That is only a preliminary plan made by
the Supply Department. The plan is communicated to the Ministry of Produc-
tion, the Ministry of Labour and the Board of Trade. A meeting is held, called
the "Program Meeting," and it arrives, not at general conclusions, but at clear-
cut decisions. All the firms affected are notified by letter what the cuts are and
when they will take place. Two days before these letters go out to the firms, the
Regional Boards are notified of the proposal in order that we may mobilize on
our side the local knowledge and the knowledge of local conditions which
they have gained in such large measure in the war.
We know full well what industry wants. It wants to know how much ca-
pacity and how much labor can be released from war production, and when. That
is what the Government wishes to tell it. But I must emphasize that at this mo-
ment it is not very easy to be precise because all these questions depend, not,only
upon the duration of war against Germany, but also on the nature of the war as
it unfolds. The House will have seen, in the correspondence between the Prime
Minister and Sir Walter Citrine, the kind of thing that happened when we had
reduced our ammunition programs; at the beginning of this year we restored it
to full vigour, and the House will also have noticed that the Americans have had
to retrace a few of the steps they took towards re-conversion, because the course
of the war took an unprecedented form. It is very difficult to be precise, but that







The Outlook for Foreign Trade 71

is our aim and we shall do our best. I know that we shall fall short of perfec-
tion. We shall sometimes be convicted of inconsistency. Some hon. Friends will
think that firms in their constituencies have been singled out for an unpleasant
discrimination, and it may even be that, on occasion, we shall actually be proved
to have made mistakes.
I have dealt with the first two parts of this subject-the policy and the actual
process of re-conversion-and I now wish, in a general way and quite shortly,
to touch on the third, which is, what production should be released first, and for
what object? There is a general answer which I think is quite clear. We want
to release the plants and manpower which will make the largest contribution to
our export trade, to the re-equipment of industry, to the housing of our people,
to the raising of the civilian standard of life, which is painfully low, to the eas-
ing of transport, which I mention especially as a feature of the civilian standard,
and to the needs of the development areas. No one, I think, can give any of
these particular subjects priority. We want to move forward on a broad front,
but it would obviously be inappropriate for me this afternoon to do more than
make one or two remarks about one of them-our export trade.' After all, the
export trade cannot be looked at in isolation; it has to be looked at as part of
the whole demand. There is no such thing as an export trade in a box. The ex-
port trade is part of the whole trade, and very often the home demand will prove
to be the larger part.
We have, perhaps, the most important psychological task in front of us in all
these matters, which is, to realize that we now are the world's greatest debtors.
We.have .always been creditors, and the creditor mentality is deeply ingrained in
our outlook. We have to change that to meet our changing circumstances. We
have to realize that we cannot -afford to buy abroad anything which we can eco-
nomically make ourselves. We simply cannot afford it, and there are occasions when
our rather grand seigneur manner will have to be altered in order to match our
rather shabby and somewhat shiny coat. That is, perhaps, the most important
psychological change we have to make, because, without exports, it is impossible
to maintain the standard of life, to import the balanced quantities of food neces-
sary, or to bring in the raw materials which form the basis of the whole of our
industrial production. The task of raising exports is an immense one, because the
target is 50 per cent above the exports reached in, 1938. It can only be achieved
by practical measures, industry by industry.
Each industry engaged in the export trade before the war should set itself
a target and raise its sights above the point reached before, and should then ask
the Government, day by day, to remove the obstacles which impede its program
and to give it facilities, and so enable us to achieve our object. I am sure it can
be achieved, but it will, no doubt, require some time, and it will require great
drive and push. If I were asked my reason for saying this, I would point to the
recent White Paper* on the war effort of this country. That White Paper is, in the
main, devoted to the art of destruction.
It comes down, in the last analysis, not only to industries, but to firms them-
selves. That is the only way it can be done. It is no good theorizing. In the
end we have to come down to the strictly practical proposition of a firm which
wants to raise its exports and wants facilities and help from the Government to
do so. If we can make, as we have done, such a large contribution to war and
the arts of destruction, we can certainly achieve in the arts of peace no less a
contribution.
contribution. House of Commons Debates]

Statistics Relating to the WIar Effort of the United Kingdom; available gratis from
British Information Services, New York.







British Speeches of the Day


RT. HON. LEOPOLD AMERY
Secretary of State for India and Burma
House of Commons, December 12, 1944

I entirely agree with the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Wight (Cap-
tain P. Macdonald) in congratulating the hon. Members who have taken so much
trouble and given so much thought to producing a most interesting and, I think,
valuable report, on the whole problem of the future of Burma. That Report and
today's Debate have come very opportunely at a time when, in view of military
developments in prospect, the whole question of Burma's future is already under
active consideration by the Cabinet. Therefore, I can at once answer in the affirma-
tive the request which my hon. and gallant Friend has just made to me.
The Debate has been distinguished, not only by a high level of constructive
thought but also by the unanimous good will shown in every speech towards the
people of Burma. I would only add that that good will and the desire to
help the people of Burma forward are not of yesterday. From that point of view
I am entirely with my hon. Friend the Member for Farnham (Mr. G. Nicholson)
in saying that we have no reason to apologize for our past conduct of Burma
affairs, even if dur future conduct will be framed in the light of a more modern
outlook upon many problems, social and economic, than was the outlook of pre-
war years. In that connection I am glad my hon. Friend the Member for South-
West Norfolk (Mr. De Chair), in his very able speech at the outset, refuted that
libel upon British Government in Burma, which is based on the suggestion that
our Government must have been tyrannous and oppressive and in opposition to
freedom, because the people of Burma did not rise in universal armed guerilla
warfare against the Japanese. Nor did the people of Siam, an entirely independent
country. The people of Burma did not do so, because we had not armed them
and because, rightly or wrongly, perhaps, we regarded Burma as so entirely out-
side the field of possible war that we had neither attempted to encourage, except
to a small extent the military art in Burma, nor taxed the people of Burma to
any considerable extent for their defense.

A Libel on the Burmese People
There is another libel, not upon the British Government but on the Burmese
people, which suggests that at the moment of invasion they sided with the invader
and maltreated and interfered with refugees, and in every way showed themselves
hostile to our forces. It is perfectly true that a few thousand thakins, as they were
called, and no doubt a number of dacoits, as the hon. Member for Newark (Mr.
Shephard) pointed out, may have created trouble during that time, but the great
mass of the Burmese people did not show any hostility either to our Army or
civil administrators. As the Governor pointed out, if they had been hostile very
few would have escaped in that difficult time. I would remind the House, too,
that at any rate several thousand Burmans and Anglo-Burmans served at that time,
and have served since, in the Armed Forces of the Crown, absorbed today into the
main structure of the Indian Army, so far as land troops are concerned; so far as
the small Burmese Air Force is concerned, distributed but still serving effectively
and gallantly in a good many theatres of war; and so far as the little Royal Naval
Volunteer Force is concerned, continually, actively and most efficiently playing their
part in the conduct of operations against the Japanese.
The hon. Member for South-West Norfolk and others have paid a tribute
which is only too well deserved to the loyalty of the Nagas, Chins, Kachins and






Burma in the Post-War World


other frontier tribes who, in face of a good deal of oppression and savage reprisals
on the part of the Japanese, have consistently helped right through and made it
possible for our once relatively small regular Forces to hold the whole of a front
practically as long as the Russian front in Europe. I have heard many stories of
the gallantry of these levies and only shortness of time left to me prevents me
mentioning some of them. At any rate it is quite clear that the economic weakness
as well as the wishes of these tribal peoples will have to be considered. From that
point of view I entirely sympathize with what was said, very wisely and cautiously,
by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Squadron Leader
Donner).
I ought to have mentioned, perhaps, the fact that when the invasion took place
certain Ministers-the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and others-and a good
many Burmese officials came out with the Government and have been actively work-
ing with the Governor ever since. It is perfectly true that the Japanese have set
up a facade of an independent Burma under a dictator and a one-party dictatorship,
but I think the Burmese are not so stupid as not to be fully conscious of how little
that facade is worth, side by side with the ruthless suppression and exploitation of
their people by the Japanese, and what it has meant in poverty and distress, through
inflation and through wholesale-requisitioning of labor, cattle, and materials. Nor
can their national pride have been assuaged by the typical arrogance with which
the Burmese have been treated throughout. I saw the other day that there was
some attempt at a Burmese protest against the faces of senior Burmese officers be-
ing publicly slapped by Japanese officers under the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
That gives some slight idea of the kind of Government under which the Burmese
are groaning today. There was a rather remarkable artide in The Times this morn-
ing which drew a very interesting picture of what Burma is suffering under Japa-
nese brutality and under what is called the terrible savagery of Japanese reprisals.

What We Promised the Burmese
I would say, in refuting that libel against the people of Burma, that there is
nothing further from our minds than to regard them as hostile people. We be-
lieve that when the time comes they will welcome us as their liberators and
it is certainly in that spirit we mean to return to Burma. There is no question on
our part of hostility to the Burmese people or indiscriminate vengeance upon them.
On the contrary, we shall go there in the spirit of friendship, good will and help-
fulness. We desire, indeed, to make good what the people of Burma suffered in
part, at any rate, through lack of our own defensive foresight in this matter nor,
at any rate, so far as our good will in this matter is concerned, have the Burmese
forfeited or impaired in any way their claim to our assistance in moving towards
the goal of self-government which we have so repeatedly declared.
As my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Norfolk went into the past
history of these pledges it is perhaps only right that I should briefly follow him.
He referred to the fact that as far back as 1931 one of my predecessors made it
dear that the prospect of constitutional advance by Burma would not be prejudiced
by separation from India. That meant that the objective of complete self-govern-
ment was the same in both cases. It did not mean and could not possibly mean
complete identity of method at every stage or complete simultaneity in their ar-
rival at the goal. In fact, hon. Members are well aware that in consequence of
the internal difficulties in India which prevented the federal provisions of the Act
of 1935 from being implemented, India only attained self-government in the
sphere of provincial government. Burma, in 1937, received all the powers which
by the Act of 1935 were to have been conferred on India, not only in the provinces
but at the center. Even further than that, though the spheres of defense and






British Speeches of the Day


foreign policy were excluded constitutionally, in' 1941, as the problem of de-
fense became more fundamentally associated with every other problem of Govern-
ment, Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith set up a Council of Defense in which the
Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Home Minister of the Burma Government
were fully associated in the discussion of defense problems. It is quite clear that
even that did not wholly satisfy Burmese aspirations, and towards the close of
1941 the Prime Minister U Saw came here, and wanted to secure from His
Majesty's Government a categorical pledge that immediately at the end of the
war an agreement should be arrived at for the setting up of Burma as a self-
governing Dominion.
Even though I could not at that moment foresee the cataclysm which swept
over Burma a few months later, I did not feel that I could give so categorical and
precise an assurance, in an uncertain world, as was asked. I think the House will
not feel that' I was mistaken at that time. But I gave then, and I have repeated
more than once since, a pledge, making our principles in this matter clear. I gave
it again in April, 1942. It was that our aim is to assist Burma to attain complete
self-government as soon as circumstances permit, and I said that present circum-
stances did not allow of a more precise statement. Are circumstances today such
that they allow of a much more precise statement than could be given then? Let
us consider what those circumstances are. It has been pointed out in the Debate
that in our retreat we pursued a scorched-earth policy, in which a great shipping
flotilla, the main artery of Burmese communications, was destroyed, the oil wells
were practically wrecked, the lead mines, the port installations, the electrical ap-
paratus, the railways-all that we had built up over the years-were destroyed.
Since then the Japanese occupation has dispersed great amounts of capital. My
hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury '(Sir S. Reed) is quite right in saying
that you cannot destroy a rice field. But you may make it unusable for some time
if you destroy by slaughter or rinderpest all the cattle with which it used to be
worked.

Burmese Reconstruction
What of the tasks of restoration after reconquest? Immense tasks will confront
us. I might describe them as being tasks of two phases. There is, first, the phase
of elementary restoration. At this moment we are feeding some 40,000 people in
Northern Burma, and finding clothes for a much larger number. Cattle, the restora-
tion of the main network of transport, roads, docks, and the provision of at any
rate an indispensable minimum of equipment for agriculture-all these are a mat-
ter of immediate short-range restoration. Behind that lies the problem of long-
range reconstruction. In respect to that we all feel about Burma, as we feel about
this country, that it is not merely a matter of going back to pre-war conditions,
but of raising the social life of the country to a higher level, a level which may
perhaps take more intimate regard of the wishes and immediate welfare of the
Burmese people themselves, as well as of what you might call the general economic
development of the country as a whole. On all these matters: the problem of
industry, the problem of land policy-on which it will certainly be necessary to
find ways and means of securing the Burmese cultivator on his holding, of re-
covering from non-agricultural purchasers the holdings that the Burmese cultivators
used to work, and giving security and better means of access of credit in future
-Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith, to whose enthusiasm, vision, and sympathy for
the Burmese people, sustained during these long, bitterly-trying years of exile,
I should like to pay my tribute, has, with a keen team of officials, been working
indefatigably. With that work Burmese Ministers and Burmese officials have
been intimately associated.







Burma in the Post-War World


The achievement of the end we have in view depends on a good many factors.
There are, of course, first of all, the people of Burma themselves. As I have said,
those of them who left Burma have been co-operating with the Governor during
the years of exile; and co-operation and consultation with the Burmese must be an
essential feature of reconstruction at any stage. The foundation of reconstruction
of agriculture in Burma is the Burmese peasant himself. We have to set him on
his feet. In saying that, I must point out that to get him on to his feet, to re-
build the economic foundations of Burma, requires help and assistance. . .
o As was very truly said by my hon. Friend the Member for Newark, the standard
of life of the Burma peasant is, for Asiatic conditions, relatively a very high one;
and that is because of the general economic and industrial conditions, to which
other factors outside the Burmese themselves have contributed. Undoubtedly, we
do our best to train the people of Burma in every respect to take over themselves,
or at any rate to take an active part in, the modern development which had con-
tributed to make Burma what it was at the moment of invasion. But without those
other elements the Burmese standard of life would undoubtedly not be what it
has been, and would certainly not be capable of being restored to what it has been.

Population Problems in Burma
The first element is the population of Burma. There I must say that I rather
regretted a somewhat dangerous passage in a report by my hon. Friend-with so
much of which I agree-in which he spoke of the Indian exodus as having solved
the major part of the problem in Burma, and leaving a clean sheet for Burma in
future. Of the 1,000,000 and more Indian population of Burma, many resided in
Southern Burma long before 1886. My hon. Friend rather left out of account the
fact that the kingdom we conquered in 1886 was Upper Burma, and that Lower
Burma, the country in which most of that population resided, was Indian for over
a century. Of that 1,000,000, a large part have stayed in Burma. Of the others,
the greater part wish to return to Burma, and may be essential to the economic
recovery of Burma. I think it is a very dubious thing to talk of "the alien
element which has been cleared for good out of the country."
It is perfectly true that the problem of land bought in foreclosing of debt
will have to be considered, and that some scheme for repurchase at a reasonable
figure will have to be worked out. But there can be no question of a policy of
native xenophobia being carried out in Burma against a country like India, for
reasons of geography and trade and defense. I quite agree with the hon. Mem-
ber for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) that we must envisage the problem of the
defense of that part of the world as one. You cannot imagine that Burma could
deal with these matters except by a reasonable measure of friendly co-operation
with her greater neighbor. As a matter of fact, as part of these discussions in the
future, very friendly and helpful conferences have taken place between the Burma
Government and the Government of India, dealing with labor, immigration, in-
debtedness, and so on. I look forward to a Burma of the future working in full
independence of India, but also in friendly and fruitful co-operation with India.
That is one element.
Another indispensable element in present conditions is European capital and
technical skill. As rhy hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Basingstoke said
just now, if capital is to return it must have some measure of security. Hon. Mem-
bers, in their memorandum, have suggested ultimately some sort of trade treaty.
That, of course, will have to be considered at the time. But, in the long run, the
best security for British capital in Burma, as in other parts of the world, will be
the good will of the people themselves, their conviction that that capital is given
to help them to do what they cannot do for themselves, and to bring more wealth


75







British Speeches of the Day


into the country than it takes out of the country. I believe that British capital is fully
prepared to follow that course, and to do what is essential to bring the people
of the country in greater measure into partnership on the financial and administra-
tive side, and also to take measures to train more of the people to fill those tech.
nical positions which at present Burmese are not qualified to hold, and to fill
which it is necessary to give facilities, whether they are in India or in this country.
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour has, in connection with India, made
a most valuable and helpful experiment in bringing a series of batches of young
Indians over here to get technical training. It has been a great success. I see no
reason why something of the same sort should not be carried out in Burma as well.
There is another element which cannot be ignored either. That is His Majesty's
Government in this country. Reference has been made to the assurances which
have been given with regard to compensation-I might add that that is compensa-
tion for all who have suffered in Burma, not merely Europeans but Indians and
Burmese. There is this general promise of assistance towards setting right the
damage caused by enemy invasion. More than that is needed. There must be
some measure of assistance towards the cost of reconstruction, towards the deficit
problem in the period immediately following liberation. If assistance is given by
the taxpayer, it is obvious that it must be accompanied by some measure of control
over expenditure. All these matters are under the most active and detailed
consideration by His Majesty's Government.

The Bear's Skin
All these problems, from defense and foreign policy down to financial prob-
lems, involving the co-operation of this country, are being most closely considered.
In all these matters our objective is perfectly dear. It is a prosperous, contented
people on a high level of well-being and capable of sustaining, as soon as possible,
the responsibility of conducting their own affairs. What are yet unknown, owing
to the war, are the detailed steps and the time-table of such policy. Surely, so long
as Burma is the scene of active military operations, or the base of active military
operations, there must be a period of military control. The first steps in relief,
in restoration, in reconstruction, will be carried out by Civil Affairs officers, men
with experience of civil administration in the past, working under the direct author-
ity of the military commander-in-chief. That phase has already begun over a con-
siderable area in Northern Burma and is working, I think, very successfully.
Nobody can yet tell how long that particular phase will last, and the extent of
reconstruction which will be achieved during that phase will obviously affect the
nature of the civil administration to be set up, and the political situation, after
that phase is ended and when a further phase has begun. . .
The Civil Affairs officers, at present in uniform, carry on their work-with
their knowledge of local conditions-under the responsibility of the military
authorities. All that period ahead of us is, as has been truly said by more than
one hon. Member, still wrapped in great uncertainty. Even when Burma is liber-
ated, we shall not be able to tell what the situation will be in Malaya, Siam and
China, and what effect that will have on the situation in Burma itself.
I would say in conclusion that with so many factors undetermined at present,
it would be unwise at this stage to commit ourselves to publicly-announced pro-
grams which we might afterwards be forced, with some discredit, to go back on.
My hon. Friends in their Memorandum only ask for such a declaration "as soon
as military operations have sufficiently progressed." Well, I think they will have
to progress a stage further. In the same way, my hon. Friends ask for a fixed
term of six years, and that has occupied a good deal of attention in this Debate
this afternoon. I will not repeat either the effective argument in favor of such







Re-allocation of Manpower


a term, as used by my hon. and gallant Friend, the Member for South West
Norfolk, nor the argument used against it by the hon. and gallant Member for
Basingstoke, but what I will do is to quote the report of my hon. Friends which
says:
"The arguments on this question are almost evenly balanced."
I would say that they are so evenly balanced that only circumstances which are
yet in the uncertain offing can decide in which direction it will be wise to tilt
the balance when the time comes to dedare our intentions, when, again to use
the words we have already used,
"at any rate some of the navigation lights are back in their places."
All these considerations are as fully in the minds of His Majesty's Govern-
ment as in those of the House, and, in considering them further, what has been
said in this Debate will undoubtedly be of value to His Majesty's Government.
It may well be that the time will come-perhaps not in the dim future-when
the course of events will be dearer and when an announcement may be not only
possible, but valuable in assuring good will and co-operation. I doubt if that
time has yet come. There is an old adage about not disposing of the bear's skin
before you have killed it. In the present circumstances, while we are in death
grips with the major battle, and not yet in a position to devote our whole atten-
tion to killing the lesser bear, the precise nature of the lining and trimmings to be
given to that bear's fur is hardly a matter for the public announcement which is
likely to be effective in creating the psychological results which we desire. In the
minds of those responsible is the fact that for a public declaration there has to be
kept in mind not only the substance of the declaration, but the question of the
right timing.
I have attempted to put to the House the general position of the Government.
What I have said does not affect in any way the broad objects and outline of our
policy of progressive advance towards complete self-government within the Empire.
The Atlantic Charter, as my hon. and gallant Friend points out, is, after all, only
confirmation of a course of progress which has been developing and broadening
within this British Empire and Commonwealth future in every continent. The
war has inevitably interposed an obstacle and a postponement in that field, as it
has in the field of freedom and variety in our own life at home. In neither case
will the cessation of hostilities immediately and automatically restore the pre-war
situation, but the purpose and instinct of returning to the natural course of our
progress remain unchanged. They are, if I may say so, like a gyroscope which,
however much deflected, always tends to return to its true bearings.
[House of Commons Debates]




LORD WOOLTON
Minister of Reconstruction
House of Lords, December 12, 1944

The issue is one of allocation of manpower, and in this I think the Govern-
ment can claim that they have shown a comprehensive grasp of the subject. I
think my noble friend Lord Winster was right when he said that there is no issue
which is so important for the reconstruction period as this. There is also no issue
which might so easily lead to misunderstanding. We talk about demobilization







78 British Speeches of the Day

when the war with Germany is over; but demobilization is something which we
get when war is over and it seems to me that public men cannot too often repeat
that the war in the East and the war in the West are one war, and that the whole
of our resources of men and of materials that are necessary will be used against
all our enemies. The population of Germany before the war was 78 million peo-
ple and the population of Japan was 98 million people. A very powerful foe re-
mains to us when the war with Germany is over. I make this comment lest the
observations that have been made on the things that we have to do might be in-
terpreted as meaning that we were going to be less interested in the war when
we had got rid of one of our enemies, though I know that is not the view of the
noble Lord who has proposed this Resolution.
These White Papers* are framed on the recognition of the fact that there is
one war. They recognize that all civil needs, however urgent and however de-
sirable they may be, must be subordinated to military necessities, and they state
that the call-up of people to the Forces must continue and that, this being done,
there must be a re-allocation of the efforts of the population. But fortunately we
shall not be under such strain when we have only one foe to face as we were
when we had three foes to. face. Consequently more people who. have been
pressed into industry, and who must now be retained in industry though they are
past their best working days, may be relieved. Others who have rendered long
and inconvenient service in industry away from the comforts of their homes may
be able to work in more congenial neighborhoods. The noble Lord was rightly
concerned with the position of the men in the Forces for whose welfare he had
some official care.

Importance of Simplicity
Now the problem that the Government had before them was to secure a plan
that was fair, that was simple in its conception, and that would be practical and
speedy in its operation. The noble Lord recognized, as indeed the Forces rec-
ognize, that the scheme we put forward fulfills those conditions. But the noble
Lord was tempted, as in fact all of us who have thought about this problem
have constantly been tempted,-to abandon simplicity in order that we might get
improvements. That way danger lies. You can always think of people whom
it may be most desirable to bring out of the Army before somebody else. Special
categories are what we should think of-other people with less integrity would
think of special people who might advisedly be brought out. The trouble about
it is that we probably should not all agree as to who the special categories were
and we most certainly should not agree as to who the special people were.
There is a more important consideration, I think, than what we are thinking
about it: and that is what is going to be the opinion of men in the Forces. They
are not bothering about the relative value of the peacetime occupation of the other
fellow. There they are, working together, facing common dangers, suffering
common privations, without any regard to those social and industrial functions
that went on before the war; and I believe that the only way of convincing them
that there is absolute fairness and absolute justice is by having some system which
commends itself on the grounds of simplicity, which they can quite easily under-
stand and which they sum up by saying, "Well, at any rate that is fair." That
was why we abandoned-abandoned after a great deal of consideration-all these
suggested improvements that were put before us, and which many of us advanced,

Cmd. 6548, Comd. 6553: texts available gratis from Circulation Section, British In-
formation Services, New York; Cmd. 6568, Re-allocation of Manpower between Civilian
Employment . available from Sales Department, British Information Services, price 5#.






Re-allocation of Manpower


on this simple method of age plus length of service. So we shall release from
the Forces everybody who is unfit and as many as possible on the age plus length
of service basis. I am glad the noble Lord has called attention to the fact that
it would be a great mistake to assume that when the "Cease fire" goes then
immediately demobilization can take place. It obviously cannot. The aim of
the Services is that at the earliest possible moment-and they recognize the need
for speed-the Class A men shall begin to be released. Class A men will begin
to be released before Class B men begin to be released.

Territorial and Foreign Service
The noble Lord and the noble Marquess both asked me about the Territorial
Force. I share with them both their pride in and their praise for the Territorial
Army. But they say: "Cannot you do something more than give praise; cannot
you express it in something that is a little more tangible?" We have tried. I
was spoken to on the first day after I became a Minister by a very good civil
servant who said: "Never explain to the House administrative difficulties, because
you will find they are not interested in them." But at any rate the House will
understand that there may be a few administrative difficulties in finding out the
periods during which men have been serving in the Territorial units before the
time of demobilization. It was because of that difficulty that we abandoned the
plan of giving preference to those who were volunteers. But of course the method
of age plus length of service does in fact give them some preference. They were
the people who were in first; every two months that they served counts as a year
to be added to their age; therefore the people who were in first will be out first,
age for age, and under this plan the people who were in the Territorial Army
will come out before people who were not in the Territorial Army.
The next question my noble friend asked me was whether foreign service
*could not count. This of course is equally attractive on the face of it. Who
that has studied the relief map of Burma and seen the places where these men
have been fighting would not say, "Cannot something be done for them?" But
there again you would add much complication; and do you really do justice?
Men do not stay at home because they have not volunteered to go on foreign
service. I know men, and I am sure your Lordships do, who are in the Army
at home eating their hearts out because they have not been allowed to go. Their
lines may indeed have fallen in rather more pleasant places than those of the
men who have been fighting overseas, but the men have not in fact been very
much more comfortable in their minds about it. We came to the conclusion that
we must keep the demobilization scheme simple, but that we must give rewards
to the men who had been on foreign service by means of supplementary benefit
after the end of their service-leave after demobilization, with payment, rather
than priority.
The third condition that was raised by the noble Lord when he asked if we
could not do something about this matter was the question of people who had"
family responsibilities. Now, once you begin to do that, where do you get to.
Which family responsibilities? When were they incurred? Were they the people
who had family responsibilities before the war started, or were they the people
who, having been at home or having come home frequently, having been fortunate
in that way, have incurred family responsibilities? Ought they to have preference
over the men who have been out for four years? We have come to the conclusion
that the Government would be wise to stand on the simple basis that is pro-
pounded; a basis that every man in the Forces can work out and know that he
has been treated on an equality with the other fellow who is standing next to
him in the line.


79







British Speeches of the Day


Release of Personnel for Reconstruction Purposes
The noble Lord asked me a further question. He asked whether people
who were released under Class B would ever get into the same category as the
people who were released under Class A. The people under Class A go into
Category Z, and if you are in Category Z, as I understand it-I have been to
seek advice-you are not going to be called up to the Forces again unless there
is some dire national need. What happens to the people in the other category,
*the people who are released under Class B? It was said there was a gap. There
is no gap. These people need not go. They are people whom we call "builders"
as a general phrase. They are people who are urgently needed at home for some
reconstruction work. They are given the chance of saying: "No, we prefer to
stay in the Army until our age plus length of service lets us out." Alternatively,
they are at liberty to say: "Yet, we would like to go home." But they go home
under conditions. They are not demobilized; they are released under control
in order that they may come home and do a specific job which the nation con-
siders to be equally important with the job of staying in the Army. If they give
up that job, then they are recalled to the Colours. They presumably think that
it is an advantage to come home, otherwise they would not volunteer for it; but
having taken that advantage, and having had other advantages that will probably
come from being engaged in the building trade in this country between the wars,
then they must remain in the Army and they will never get into the same class
as the people who go by age plus length of service. They will remain in the
Army until the time of demobilization comes. We think that is fair, and certainly
it is not as the noble Lord's very intelligent friend in the Army thought, a
matter of misdrafting.
I am sorry to have taken rather a long time but I must answer the points.
The noble Lord then asked me whether there were any arrangements being made
for the release of specialists. Well, these represent a very small proportion of
the number of people in the Army. We have made provision for them in the
plan-a provision that is made quite clear. The first thing that is made dear
is that these specialists shall be specialists, and that there is going to be no favor-
itism in the selection of people in this category. We remember the people who
were so "essential" for early demobilization after the last war. It will be na-
tional need and not personal privilege that will determine the people who will
come out under this class, and if your Lordships will look at paragraph twelve of
the White Paper you will see that we have dealt with it there.

Release for Civilian Employment Not to Count
Now the noble Lord was good enough to send me his note about the airman,
and I think I must trouble your Lordships to let me read this because I want to
be quite clear about it. The noble Lord quoted a letter from an airman complain-
. ing that any period of release to civil employment does not count in reckoning
up his demobilization class and saying that there is a contradiction here between
the White Paper and a form which he received at the time of his release. Well,
there is no contradiction. Periods served in civilian employment, whether by
regular airmen or by those volunteering for the emergency, categorically do not
count as service for the purpose of the demobilization scheme. And, after all,
why should they count? There is no hardship here. Men so released have taken
up their old jobs; they have, in effect, already enjoyed a period of demobilization.
Periods of release to civilian employment do, however, count towards fulfilling
the term of regular engagement, as distinct from mobilization for the emergency
only. The airman who wrote to my noble friend Lord Nathan is laboring under
a misunderstanding, because the release certificate with which he was furnished


80 -






Re-allocation of Manpower 81

was issued before the demobilization scheme was worked out; and therefore,
while the certificate mentioned "not counting" towards a gratuity, etc., it did not
specifically state that his release period would not count for the purpose of the
demobilization scheme. Any similar release certificates issued now specifically
make this point. Due to the length of the war, the engagements of almost all
the regular members of the Forces have in any case expired, and these men are
now held on the same terms as temporary members. The point I have explained
to your Lordships about these releases applies to everybody.
I now come to the second part of the noble Lord's speech, in which he said
in effect that some way must be examined for applying the age and length of
service principle to all workers, not leaving release to be entirely dependent on
this or that factory becoming redundant fortuitously. Is not that what we have
done? If the noble Lord will be good enough to look at paragraph ten in the
White Paper he will see that we have put some words in italics:
. .those who have worked away from home for three years or more
and want to obtain work nearer home will be given first priority of release
for transfer to work of importance irrespective of the' work on which they
are engaged or whether they are redundant, unless in such cases there are sound
production reasons to the contrary."
In paragraph fourteen of that same Paper we provide that the order of release
under paragraph eleven shall, as and when substitutes are provided, be applied
even when there is no redundancy. I think if your Lordships will be good enough
to look at it, you will see that we have tried to carry the same principle out for
civilian employment as we have put forward for the demobilization of the Armed
Forces.

Stern Realities of Housing Problem
I come now to the last part of the noble Lord's speech in which he said there
must be hoqres for the men returning from the Forces to go to. He spoke about
the troops during their period of service having "all found" and being unac-
quainted with the shabby discomforts of which you and I are so well aware. He
spoke of those men looking forward to their reward at the end in home com-
forts and said those home comforts must be forthcoming. He said these houses
must be there forthwith and then, with great wisdom and great caution, he added
"as military interests allow." I will venture to go a little away from the White
Paper because the noble Lord has given me a chance of doing so. There is going
to be no domestic issue that will be more important in the public mind during
the course of the next few years than this question of providing homes. The
noble Lord will not take this amiss from me, I am sure; he and I are in complete
agreement. He said that these houses and those homes must be forthcoming.
I wish he had also said: "These houses must be forthcoming as soon as it is pos-
sible by the organization of the manpower of this country for these houses to be
built." I am sure that is what he meant, but it would have been a very long ,
sentence.
The noble Lord, Lord Winster, 'has spoken about the importance of politics.
I ventured a few days ago elsewhere to make a plea that this problem of housing
should be kept out of Party politics-not outside politics, but outside all Party
politics. I know of no people on any side in politics who do not want us to get
houses as quickly as possible and who are not determined that whatever they
can do shall be done to provide houses as quickly as possible. We have had
war in this country as well as war overseas. Houses in this country have been
one of our most serious war casualties. On the first occasion that I had the
privilege of addressing your Lordships as Minister of Reconstruction, I reminded






British Speeches of the Day


you of the last war and the phrase about "homes for heroes." I said then I
would not be a party to making promises about what we were going to do in
the way of providing for housing until I knew how we were going to fulfill
those promises. No effort on the part of this Government or any other Govern-
ment would be sufficient to ensure that there will be houses for everybody who
needs them at the end of the German war. When those Class A men and women
come home from the Forces there will be a great need of houses, and it is not
any use saying that there must be houses. I am not going to be a party to fooling
the men in the Forces into thinking that when they come back there will be
houses for everybody. The men in the Forces are accustomed to facing stern
realities.
The people of this country have had to face many realities and they have
never objected when they have been told the simple and unvarnished truth
about them. When the facts have been placed before them they have given
them due weight and proper judgment, and I beg that we shall not mislead them
into thinking that this problem of housing can be settled by any other means
than by the use of sufficient labor to meet it. The Government have shown in
this White Paper their recognition of the fact that the problem of housing is a
problem of manpower and that they are taking steps as soon as the military
situation allows it to release that manpower from the Army, under control, in
order that houses may be built. Th6 troops will understand this: they will under-
stand that menmust leave the Forces designated for this particular work as soon
as the enemy in Europe is beaten. We have all the comprehensive plans for
housing and when we get the labor we shall then be enabled-still in a period
of great scarcity of labor-to make a major attack on this problem. I hope the
noble Lord and your Lordships will agree with me that this problem is one of
such magnitude, one which, if the subject of light words, might cause so much
distress in the country, that it behooves us in the interests of social stability to
give full support to the proposals for tackling the problem that are inherent in
these Papers.
I have heard it said that we want a comprehensive housing policy. We have
the policy; we have got the plans and this is one of them. What the people
want is houses, and you cannot build houses with paper plans. You can only
build houses when you get labor to build them, when you get the labor that
makes the necessary bricks and all the other accessories that go to house building.
There is no Member of this Government who is not determined (least of all
my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour) that to the utmost of our capacity
that labor shall be forthcoming even at a time when there is great scarcity of labor
and when we are fighting against a most powerful foe six thousand miles away.
and whilst we continue to wage war against that foe until the end.

Students and Teachers
I have not dealt with some of the questions about which I hate not been given
previous notice. I have been asked by Lord Winster: "Are we going to keep
men in the Army until there is work for them to do?" The answer is, No. If
it is not known where there is work for a particular man to do we have arranged
for a considerable period of leave at the end of his service during which, on
full pay, he will be able to live without suffering poverty until he finds work.
The truth is that, apart from the dislocation that inevitably will take place
in industry in moving from war to peace production, there will be for the first
few years after this war at any rate an amplitude of work. Some of your Lord-
ships laid special emphasis on the subject of teachers and university students.
The early release of students, if they are to be released, must be in Class B, be-






The Jamaica Hurricane 83

cause they are very young people and therefore they would be late in demobiliza-
tion. The question of the release of a number of university students in Class B
is, as the phrase goes, receiving active consideration. Some of us are very interested
in university work-I am myself-and I think he can rely upon it that we will
see that the attention is active. On the subject of teachers, I should be glad if
your Lordships would not press me at this stage. Consideration is being given
to the problem at this time. Whether the teachers would include youth leaders
or not I do not know, but I will remember what the noble Lord has said and
discuss it with the Minister of Education.
The noble Marquess, Lord Reading, spoke with much depth of sympathy
about derelict officers. I hope we shall avoid that situation this time. At any
rate I can assure him that the point has not escaped the Government's attention
and discussions are already taking place between the Minister of Labour and
large employers of labor. If I may cease to be a Minister for a moment and
go back to my former life as an industrialist, I may say that I should have thought
it was entirely in the interests of men controlling large industrial enterprises that
they should give the greatest possible welcome to these men. We have long
since learnt in industry that the old idea that you need a long period of training
before you are capable of occupying an important managerial position is just not
true. What you want is a good education and the training that goes with a
good education. These men who have been carrying responsibility in the Forces
for five years seem to me to be material which wise men of business will welcome
into their ranks.
[House of Lords Debates]




RT. HON. OLIVER STANLEY
Secretary of State for the Colonies
House of Commons, December 13, 1944

I am sure that the Committee will deplore the events which have made
necessary the introduction of this Supplementary Estimate. On August 20th the
island of Jamaica was struck by a hurricane more severe than any that had been
experienced for over 40 years. Luckily, it seems to have avoided, to some extent,
at any rate, the main centres of population, with the result that the loss of life
was smaller than one might have anticipated, but the damage to property was of
very serious dimensions. In the Northern and North-Eastern parts of the island,
where the hurricane struck with its full force, it is reckoned that something like
80 per cent of the banana plantations were destroyed, 1,500,000 coconut trees
blown down or broken, and serious losses caused to mixed cultivation and to
orchard crops, such as citrus fruits, and to fishermen's gear. In addition, in that
area, there were 17,000 buildings totally destroyed and 20,000 buildings badly
damaged.
It is quite clear that the island of Jamaica, left to its own financial resources,
would have been quite unable to meet the effect of such a serious cataclysm of
nature. Jamaica is not one of those territories which has benefited by the war.
The interruption of shipping has, in fact, made her economic position extremely
difficult, and her financial situation, to say the least of it, tight. When the Gov-
ernment applied to me, representing His Majesty's Government, for assistance,
I felt that I could, witlbut any hesitation, say that I would submit to this Com-






British Speeches of the Day


mittee and this House, in full certainty that they would support it, a request for
financial assistance. Of course, I am tied, in the discussion of a Supplementary
Estimate, strictly to the matters set out in that Estimate, but I think that it would
probably be in order for me to explain why another big measure of assistance
which we are giving to Jamaica in connection with the hurricane, is not included
in the Supplementary Estimate.

Exchequer Aid for Repairing Damage
We have left to the resources of the island itself the problem of dealing with
the restoration of public buildings, communications, etc., even though that is
estimated at something like 350,000, but we are giving assistance, not only to
the particular branch of what I might call agricultural rehabilitation, included
in this estimate, but also on the very much more serious problem of the rebuilding
of houses which is involved. Under that heading, we have been asked by the
Jamaica Government for assistance to the extent of 30,000 in direct grant, and
no less than 875,000 in interest-free loan, and I have agreed to give it. The
reason why that does not appear in this Estimate, is that I think that the rebuild-
ing of houses, where it is certainly the intention that the, new house, when built,
will conform more to our ideas of modern practice and social desirability than the
old one, could well come within the limits of the Colonial Development and Wel-
fare Act, because there is, in this replacement of what one might call a blitzed
area, a real element of development and a real assistance to the building program
which, in any case, we should have undertaken under the Act.
Therefore, the assistance given under this head will come out of the Colonial
Development and Welfare Vote, a sub-head of which, of course, appears in the
main Estimates, and it is only in so far as, at the end of the year, the sum actually
dispensed to Jamaica will bring the sum dispensed under that head over the
sum estimated in the general Estimates that I shall have to come to the House
for a further Supplementary Estimate. This other part, which is set out here
as agricultural rehabilitation, had no corresponding sub-head in the original
Estimate, and therefore has to come to the Committee in this form.

Bananas and Coconuts
By far the most serious damage was that suffered by the banana plantations.
In the days before the war, the export of bananas from Jamaica used to run some-
where about 2,000,000, 50 per cent of the total Jamaica export, and, though,
of course, war conditions and the unfortunate incidence of banana disease-leaf-
spot disease-has brought these exports to a standstill now, it is clear that the
future financial and commercial position of Jamaica is largely bound up with a
prosperous banana export. It is, therefore, quite essential that, for that purpose,
it should be resuscitated, and also for the fact that, at the present moment, it is
not possible to export bananas. They are, of course, being bought by His Majesty's
Government and consumed locally, and do provide a very valuable local food crop.
Most of these banana growers are small men without resources, and it is neces-
sary, if they are to rehabilitate the industry and be able to face the future, to
give them the utmost assistance possible. What the Government is asking for,
and what, in this Estimate, the Committee is asked to approve, is, first of all, a
free grant of 196,000 and a loan, free of interest, of 454,000. The loan will be
free of interest from us to the Government of Jamaica, and will be re lent from
the Government of Jamaica to borrowers locally for three years at 21/, per cent
interest. While the interest is designed merely to cover the charges of operating
the loan and to give a reserve against bad debts, the amounts loan I will be
amounts up to 6 per acre as a maximum, and will vary according to the degree







The Scope and Purpose of UNRRA 85

of damage which has been done to the holding as a whole Where there has been
a large degree of damage to the holding as a whole, the amount per acre will be
bigger.
The next most important crop which has suffered is the coconut crop, where
the acreage involved is some 20,000. Here, owing to the long time which coco-
nuts take to reach maturity, it is considered that loans will be sufficient. No
direct grant is being given, but there will be an interest-free loan of 550,000
to be re-lent locally for 20 years, free of interest for six years and at 21/2 per cent,
thereafter. Here, the maximum loan per acre will be as much as 25. One
incidental result of this assistance to this particular form of agriculture is that
the work of replanting takes a considerable amount of labor and therefore will
provide a considerable amount of employment to people in the district who suffered
from the hurricane.
Orchard crops, fortunately, suffered rather less. They are mainly citrus, and
investigation shows that the damage done there was a good deal less than was
expected and was at one time feared. The Governor had asked for a loan, free
of interest, of 15,000 which will be re-lent to growers for 10 years at 21/2 per cent.
With regard to the ordinary food crops they will get a loan of 70,000 to be
re-lent locally at 21/2 per cent where the money is required for replanting pur-
poses. There are a certain number of cases in which small cultivators might qualify
assistance under all these headings. They may be growing bananas and coco-
nuts and food crops at the same time. Obviously it would be inconvenient to
give such growers assistance on various terms in respect of each bit of production,
and in those cases their production will be treated as a whole, and for those cases
we are providing a loan of 40,000, free of interest, to be re-lent to growers for
three years at 21/2 per cent. I do not know whether the Committee will require
further details of the actual way in which these sums are being expended, but
if so I should be prepared to answer any questions. The main facts are clear-
that Jamaica has suffered this terrible act of God, and that without assistance
from this House would be quite unable to meet the consequences of the damage.
I feel certain that the Committee will be prepared to vote this money and give
Sto- Jamaica, who tomorrow is voting on the new constitution, a real chance of
re-establishing herself and of regaining economic stability and well-being.
[House of Commons Debates]




LORD SELBORNE
Minister of Economic Warfare
House of Lords, December 14,1944
[EXTRACTS]
My Lords, I must first thank the noble Lord who has just sat down for the
compliment which he has paid to me and to my Department in suggesting that
this terrifically difficult and important task should be handed over to us. I am
afraid that I cannot agree with him, because I think that this -work is already
in very competent hands in being entrusted to Governor Lehman and his assistants.
It is dear from this debate, however, that there is a great deal of misapprehension,
even among some of your Lordships who have been able to study the matter,
as to the facts of the case and as to the true position. I think that I can best







British Speeches of the Day


endeavor to answer as many as possible of the important and interesting questions
which have been addressed to me within the time of my disposal if I pass the
machinery under review and deal with the points raised by noble Lords and by
the right reverend Prelate at the appropriate moments.

UNRRA'A Terms of Reference
Passing at once, therefore, to the question raised by the noble Earl who opened
the debate and by the noble Lord, Lord Rennell, I would endeavor to explain
exactly what UNRRA i. The terms of reference of UNRRA are set out in
Cmd. 6491, which embodies the UNRRA agreement, and also in some of the
resolutions passed at Atlantic City, which will be found in Cmd. 6497. They
are, briefly, to help to set the liberated countries on their feet if invited to do so
by their Governments. The noble Marquess, Lord Reading, appeared to think
that there was something to be criticized in that; but really he would not suggest
that any body should endeavor to go and administer relief or anything else in,
let ps say, France, except at the invitation of the French Government. ...
Who administers the relief is a matter, as the right reverend Prelate put it,
of secondary importance; the important thing is that the most appropriate ma-
chinery in the circumstances of each country should be employed. The great
obstacle to relief is the practical one which the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, de-
scribed in his speech. It is not, I think, in any sense wrong that UNRRA should
function only when invited to do so by the Government of the country concerned.
No one could possibly criticize that, and I gather from what he has said that the
noble Marquess does not criticize it. Having received the invitation of the Gov-
ernment of the country, its function is to send relief supplies, food, clothes,
medicines, fuel and so on, to provide health services, to repatriate displaced persons
and to provide rehabilitation supplies-seeds, fertilizers and machinery. The
noble Earl who, introduced this Motion is entirely mistaken on that point. He
seemed to think that it was beyond the powers or terms of reference of UNRRA
to introduce machinery, seeds, fertilizers and the like. He is entirely mistaken;
that is one of the specific functions with which UNRRA is charged. It has also
to restore public utilities and services.
[The Earl of Huntingdon: I should like to ask the noble Earl one question.
Does that include machinery? Is UNRRA allowed to introduce, for instance, part
of a cotton-spinning machine?]
Yes, if it is necessary to make the machine work. If the machine has had a
part broken, then certainly UNRRA would be able to supply that part; it would
be within, its terms of reference to do so.

An Autonomous Body
The noble- Earl and the noble Lord, Lord Rennell, asked how far UNRRA
is autonomous. I think Lord Rennell said "Is UNRRA a principal, or is it
merely an agent?" The answer is that UNRRA is an autonomous international
body; that is to say, it is a principal. It is a body which can do things. Its Coun-
cil decides the policy. All member Governments are represented on the Council.
The executive authority lies in the Director-General. In one part of his speech
the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, advocated that executive authority should be given
to Governor Lehman. In the latter part of his speech he seemed to change his
mind and thought it should be given to me, for which, as I have already said,
I feel flattered. But I can assure the noble Lord that his first idea was the right
one. It had also occurred to other people, and executive authority has been given
to Governor Lehman and resides in him.







The Scope and Purpose of UNRRA


Then noble Lords asked,'if decisions are referred back to the Governments,
what Department in this country answers. I think I have already answered that
question: decisions are not referred back. UNRRA has full authority to act within
its terms of reference and within the means at its disposal; but if it wishes to
address any question to His Majesty's Government on' any matter-and of course
communications are frequent-the channel through which those communications
are addressed is the Foreign Office, and the Foreign Office passes them on, or
refers the matters to the appropriate Government Department or Departments who
are concerned with that particular question. I think noble Lords will agree that
it is necessary to have a single channel by which all these communications come....
It might be found desirable by UNRRA to consult a conference of the Govern-
ments to get their advice and guidance, but the last word in all these matters rests
with UNRRA within its terms of reference and within the means at its dis-
posal. I hope I have answered the questions of the noble Lord. Then noble
Lords asked whether UNRRA had been charged with reconstruction, and the
answer to that question is in the negative. Rehabilitation may, in some cases,
have a narrow borderline with reconstruction, but UNRRA stops at rehabilitation,
and in reconstruction you get on to other machinery and other problems, such
as were discussed at Bretton Woods. Then the noble Earl asked me a question
about the position of the Combined Boards, and that is a matter on which it is
very important to have a clear idea. The Combined Boards are American, United
Kingdom and Canadian organizations for allocating the resources of the world,
and UNRRA is in the closest touch with the Combined Boards. But it is with
the Combined Boards that the last word rests in regard to the allocation of any
commodity; and that of course is a limited factor on UNRRA, as it is on every-
body else.

Supplies and Finance
When I said just now that the last word rests with UNRRA within its terms
of reference, I was in part referring to the fact that UNRRA can only deal with
such supplies as are allotted to it by the Combined Boards. Now the Combined
Boards have to take full account of the needs of UNRRA, but they also have to
take into account the needs of countries not within UNRRA's sphere. For in-
stance, the Combined Boards decide how much food shall be allotted for the
United Kingdom, how much food shall remain in the United States, how much
food or what supplies will be available for the Armies in the East and the Armies
in Europe. They deal with global problems, and therefore the needs of UNRRA
are only one of the problems with which the Combined Boards have to deal.
Then the noble Lord asked me about finance. UNRRA is financed by contri-
butions from member Governments whose home territory has not been occupied by
the enemy, and the rate of contribution was fixed at one per cent of the national
income for the year ending June 30, 1943. That gives a total of 500,000,000,
of which 300,000,000 have already been appropriated in the Budgets of seven
member countries, and the contribution from the United Kingdom is 80,000,000.
The noble Earl, Lord Huntingdon, raised this question-he said: "Is that enough?
The amounts involved are little more than was spent by the United Kingdom
alone in feeding itself before the war, and whereas the population of the United
Kingdom is 45,000,000 the population of our European Allies is 135,000,000."
That reveals, if I may say so, a misconception of the functions of UNRRA. The
functions of UNRRA are not to feed countries that do not require the food but
to feed those countries that do require the food.
In the noble Earl's 135,000,000, for instance, there is the population of
France. Now the population of France, generally speaking, is self-supporting in


87







88 British Speeches of the Day

food: France is a great food-producing country; and the food shortages that exist
in France at the present moment are confined to one or two items such as, let
us say, milk or sugar, but do not by any means extend to the whole range of the
country's consumption. In France as in other countries the real problem is not
the total amount of food in the country but its distribution. The shortages are
in the cities, as they always have been, and not in the country districts. That is a
problem of railways and not of food, and the noble Earl must bear that in mind
when he compares the total food budgets of this country with the financial means
at the disposal of UNRRA to help the food deficiencies of Europe. In addition to
this money at the disposal of UNRRA there is a separate fund for administrative
expenses; that amounts to about 11,500,000 dollars, and our contribution to that
is about 1,000,000 dollars. I have given these facts in order to try to put in its
proper perspective the machine called UNRRA which has to deal with this ter-
rible European problem.

Conditions in Europe Worse Since Liberation
I strongly subscribe to what the noble Lords have said about the gravity of the
problem. It is one of the most serious with which we have ever been confronted.
I would like here to say that for over two and a half years it has been my very
unpleasant duty to administer the blockade of Europe, involving as it did our
friends as well as our enemies. During that time I told your Lordships and other
audiences on a number of occasions that while there undoubtedly had been famine
in Greece-terrible famine-which had necessitated the rupture of the blockade,
in the rest of occupied Europe there was no famine; there was very serious dis-
tress and there was malnutrition, but nothing that could be properly called famine
conditions. . .
When the liberation took place and British and American newspaper corre-
spondents were once more able to get into France and Belgium, the newspaper
reports went to the other extreme. A few luxuries in the shops, like toys and
scent, appeared to have given the impression that there had been ho privation, no
hunger, and that there was no urgent need for relief in Europe. My Lords, there
could not have been a greater .mistake than that. The point that these Press corre-
spondents appeared to have missed was that these countries were not mobilized
and organized in the way which Great Britain is. In this country, owing to the
efficient administration of His Majesty's Government, everybody has enough food,
and hardly anybody has too much food. In Europe, on the other hand, a great
many people did not have enough food and a few people were enjoying a standard
of living in excess of anything known in this country; but they were very few.
It was an entire mistake to think that the great bulk of the people in occupied
Euiope were not hungry.
The situation has deteriorated and is considerably worse than it was when I
last addressed your Lordships on the subject. It has worsened considerably since
June 6, and if you ask the reason it has already been given by the noble Lord,
Lord Strabolgi-that the ravages of war have immensely complicated the problem.
When your ports are smashed up, your bridges broken down, your locomotives
destroyed, your trucks burnt and your junctions obliterated by bombing, the prob-
lems of feeding hungry people in the towns are magnified many times over. And
that is the answer, I think, to a number of points that have been alluded to this
afternoon. The noble Lord, Lord Rennell, said that there is profound disappoint-
ment in Europe that the promised help has not come earlier. He charged His
Majesty's Government with having raised false hopes. I listened very carefully
for any evidence that he could give of any statement made by any authoritative
person that help would be immediately available to the people of Europe, but he
did not quote anything of that nature and I am certainly not aware of it.






The Scope and Purpose of UNRRA


Part Played by Military
The right reverend Prelate in his very interesting speech did quote a statement
by the present Minister of Food which seemed to me to be a very wise, judicious
and carefully balanced statement and not one that could, by any stretch of the
imagination, be said to be a reason for false hopes. I think on the contrary His
Majesty's Ministers, and especially the Prime Minister, have warned the public
that the process of rehabilitation in Europe after the war would be a very difficult
one and that the vast amount of distress caused by the war could not be remedied
quickly.
I would ask your Lordships to visualize the situation I have just described also
in connection with the criticisms that UNRRA is not functioning. When the
Allied Armies liberate a country they immediately bring food to the starving people
and they are bringing food at the present moment to the people of Holland and
Belgium, and if in any part of France it was necessary they would be bringing
food there too. They have done the same in Italy. That is a necessary function
of the liberating Armies. UNRRA only comes in after the Armies have passed on.
The idea that there is a necessary gap of six months is an entirely mistaken one.
I cannot think where any noble Lord got the idea about six months. UNRRA can
follow the Army instantaneously if it is invited to do so by the military authori-
ties and by the Government of the country. That is exactly what has happened in
Greece. In Greece you have UNRRA functioning today because it has been in-
vited by General Scobie by the Greek Government, and UNRRA is functioning
in Greece as the agent of the military. As the right reverend Prelate has pointed
out, the label of the machine is a secondary matter.
[Viscount Samuel: Will the noble Earl say whether Greece is the only country
which has invited UNRRA to function?]
I think so except in the case of Italy, which I will deal with in a few moments.
Neither Belgium nor France has asked for it and I think the reason is that the
Governments of those countries feel they can handle the problem quite adequately
themselves. That is a perfectly right position. They have a certain amount of food
in their own countries, they are in command of all the available resources, they
know what the deficiencies are and they can make direct application to the Com-
bined Board. When you get a Government like the French Government or the
Belgium Government which is in every way as well organized as the Government
of any other country, there is probably no reason why they should not make a
direct application to the Combined Boards for any materials that have to be
imported rather than avail themselves of the machinery of UNRRA.

The Real Bottleneck
I think we are all agreed as to the seriousness of the position which now
exists in Greece, Belgium, Holland and Poland. The deterioration in the position
is due primarily to the ravages of war and the destruction of communications. Some
noble Lords have talked about bottlenecks and cutting red tape and the like. The
real bottleneck is transport. If the ships, the railway trains, the railway bridges,
the harbors could be made available immediately, then food would flow imme-
diately. The real problems arise in connection with transport. I am thankful to
say there are comparatively few world shortages of food. No doubt there are some.
There is a world shortage of milk, there is a world shortage in boot leather and
there are one or two other commodities in which there is unfortunately a world
shortage, but I am thankful to say there are ample supplies of wheat and other
cereals and if only the transport problems can be overcome there is no reason why
any portion of the world should starve. I mentioned that in Greece UNRRA






British Speeches of the Day


was already functioning on behalf of the military and the noble Earl, Lord
Huntingdon, asked me whether the lamentable occurrences of the last few days
had resulted in relief being stopped. I am thankful to say that is not the case.
The merciful work has gone on, in some cases under the hail of bullets. The food
has been disembarked at the ports and is being taken to the population. The
fighting and rioting has no doubt hindered the supply of food but the food supply
has gone on, and will go on, as far as can be managed.

UNRRA Sending Mission to Moscow
Other steps noble Lords might care to know about are that refugee camps are
being established in all liberated territories and all preparations are being made
for work in Eastern Europe, in Poland, and in Czechoslovakia. I think it was
the noble Earl who asked whether there had been any hitch in regard to a mission
from UNRRA going to Moscow. My information is that there has been no hitch.
The Mission has been arranged but the date has not actually been fixed. Some of
your Lordships have alluded to the great problem of displaced persons. That is
one of the most complicated and difficult international problems. This terrible
problem has been caused by the ruthless methods of our enemy. It has produced
a state of affairs which takes us back to the days of Sennacherib. UNRRA is a
very suitable body to deal with an international problem of this nature. The Mon-
treal Conference, as noble Lords probably know, extended the authority of UNRRA
in this respect and decided that UNRRA should look after displaced United
Nations nationals such as French deportees in Germany and also persons displaced
because of race, religion or political activities, as for instance German Jews found
in any part of Europe. This is indeed a terrible problem. Some 14,000,000 people
have got to be taken back to their proper homes, but as the noble Earl pointed
out the problem does not end when they have returned to their homes. Means
to enable them to earn a livelihood must be as far as possible provided. Let us
make no mistake. The economic problems that are going to confront Europe dur-
ing the next few years will be as grave as anything ever known in history. It
is only by collaboration and the co-operation of all nations that we can hope to
solve them.

UNRRA in Italy
I ought to say a word about Italy about which certain noble Lords have spoken.
I am glad that it has been recognized this afternoon that the action of the Ethiopian,
Greek and Yugoslav representatives on UNRRA in voting for the extension of
relief to Italy, has been a noble and inspiring act of Christian charity which ought
to be recognized all over the world. UNRRA has now been authorized to carry
out certain limited operations in Italy in respect of displaced persons, medical
assistance and care of children. The expenses in lira are to be borne by Italy
and in foreign exchange by UNRRA up to 50,000,000 dollars. The question
whether Italy can repay any or all of this is to be considered later.
I have endeavored to answer your Lordships' questions by giving a picture of
the problem and of the machinery that is being created to deal with it. The
problem is not so much shortage of supplies but shortage of transport, including
European land transport.
[The Earl of Huntingdon: May I ask a question? Will UNRRA be allowed
to supply railway trucks and engines ?)
Yes, certainly; that comes under the heading of missing or broken machinery.
The problem is transport and UNRRA is ready to step in and help as soon as
military authorities have moved away and the Government of a country think
they can make a useful contribution. His Majesty's Government attach the greatest






Question Time in the House of Commons 91

importance to the work of UNRRA, not only because we feel it is the proper
instrument to bring relief and rehabilitation to many nations that are not so well
organized as France and Belgium, but also because it is the first great practical
experiment in international co-operation. The success or failure of UNRRA may
do a great deal to make or mar the future of international co-operation in the
years that lie before us. Any help that His Majesty's Government can give to
UNRRA we shall give. We attach the highest importance to its work and we
are satisfied that it is fitting in, as was intended, with the other machinery that
exists. If there are people who are disappointed it is because they misunderstood
the official statements that were made or because things which have been read in
the Press or heard on the wireless have had a meaning put upon them which
was never intended.
It is impossible to repair the ravages of the war in a few weeks, just as it
was impossible to establish a Second Front in Europe in 1941. When you are
confronted by major world problems such as we are confronted with now their
solution cannot be achieved in a day. We, believe that the machinery which has
been designed to deal with the problem is the right machinery. It has the whole-
hearted support of His Majesty's Government and anything we can do to assist
UNRRA by releasing what labor can be released from the war effort, by the supply
of goods which can be made in this country without damage to the war effort and
by the release of shipping for the purpose of carrying these materials-anything
that we can do to help His Majesty's Government will do. It is impossible to
exaggerate the importance of the evil which now threatens us, and everyone must
do what he can to bring relief to these sorely stricken nations who are being
liberated.
'[House of Lords Debates]




QUESTION TIME IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

The first hour- of every sitting day in the House of Commons is devoted
to answering questions which Members of Parliament put to Ministers.
A selection from some of the questions asked during December, 1944,
is included below, together with the Ministers' answers, with the inten-
S tion of illustrating the scope and purpose of this part of Parliamentary
business.

LEND-LEASE IN 1945
Mr. Shinwell (Labour) asked the Prime Minister whether he can state
the nature of the agreement between His Majesty's Government and the Govern-
ment of the U. S. A. for the payment of goods and raw materials outwith the
Lend-Lease agreement; whether payments will be made out of our foreign assets,
or will the U. S. A. accept goods and material produced in Great Britain which
may be made available for export.
The Prime Minister: I must thank the hon. Gentleman for making me
acquainted with the word "outwith" with which I had not previously had the
pleasure of making acquaintance. For the benefit of English Members I may say
that it is translated "outside the scope of." I thought it was a misprint at first.
It is our wish that our current dollar expenditure, including payment for goods
and raw materials not obtained under Lend-Lease, should be met so far as possible






92 British Speeches of the Day

out of our current dollar receipts in respect of goods and material produced in
this country and otherwise. As a consequence of the arrangements which have been
made, I hope that this purpose will, to a large extent, be attained.
Mr. Shinwell: Does my right hon. Friend realize that that statement re-
quires considerable amplification and elucidation, and that the point which concerns
hon. Members-especially myself-and traders in this country is whether this is
going to be one-way traffic which will have the effect of increasing the load of our
foreign debt, or whether America will be prepared, in return for goods she sends
to this country, to accept goods from us, That is the simple point.
The Prime Minister: I think my hon. Friend is going a little outwith the
Question which he put.
Mr. Shinwell: Does my right hon. Friend realize that to indulge in the
one-way traffic is outside the scope of what is necessary in order to rehabilitate
British trade?
The Prime Minister: I do not think the statement I made to the House
the other day, which was agreed in detail with our American friends, gave any
sense of disappointment, but the special application of it will, of course, be watched
most carefully.
[December 5, 1944]



NURSERIES
Sir W. Davison (Conservative) asked the Minister of Health what is the
total number of children in the day nurseries throughout this country; the number
of the staff; the total cost; and the average cost per child per week.
Mr. Willink: The number of places in wartime nurseries was, in November,
1944, 68,548. In addition there were 3,570 places in the more informal nurseries
established primarily for evacuees. The number of children on the register accord-
ing to the latest complete return-for April, 1944-was 61,316. The number of
staff at the same date was 13,126 nursery staff and 3,562 domestics. The amount
paid to local authorities in England and Wales in the year ended March 31, 1944,
in respect of wartime nurseries was 3,453,000. This figure comprises both run-
ning costs and capital expenditure incurred by local authorities. From an examina-
tion of expenditure in a selected number of nurseries it is estimated that the
average net cost per child attendance, including amortization of capital costs, is
25s. a week.
[December 14, 1944]



BELGIUM- (DISARMAMENT OF RESISTANCE)
Sir Richard Acland (Common Wealth) asked the Prime Minister which
units of the British Army were used to stop and disarm lorry loads of insurgents
en route from Mons and elsewhere to Brussels at the end of November; and how
many lorry loads were involved.
The Prime Minister: I think the hon. Member is referring to the state-
ment I made on December 8. Precautionary measures were taken by the British






Question Time in the House of Commons 93
Army, but the disarming was, in the main, carried out by the Belgian authorities.
In a few cases Belgian civilians willingly approached British troops to surrender
their arms, and they were naturally helped to do so. The attitude of the British
military authorities was regulated by the instructions received from the supreme
Commander. These instructions were in full accord with the views of His Majesty's
Government and we should be glad to share his responsibility.
Sir Richard Acland: Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that responsible
people on the spot have sent accounts of the whole of this incident which are
widely different from the story of the organized putsch as put to this House by
the Prime Minister last week?
The Prime Minister: I was advised on the facts of the matter by the best
authorities at the disposal of His Majesty's Government. Before I referred to it,
I had what I put down carefully checked by those authorities, and I have no reason
to believe that they did not represent the essential point, namely, that we did
intervene, and.had been ready to intervene, in putting down disorder on the lines
of communications at the request of the supreme Commander, and that we were
acting under American instructions when we did that.
Mr. Shinwell (Labour) As my right hon. Friend made this point of great
substance in the course of his speech, namely, that lorry loads of well-armed men
were proceeding to Brussels for insurrectionary purposes-that was the allegation
-will he take note of the fact that, from an authoritative Belgian source last week
it was stated categorically that all that happened was that two lorry loads of men
proceeded from Mons to Brussels, with the deliberate intention of handing over
in an organized way their arms to the British military authorities, and that is all
that happened?
The Prime Minister: Everyone can believe what he likes about a thing
like that. I do not know why they should have been traveling by this inconvenient
route to take exceptional action to deliver over arms which their party, and parties
associated with them, were objecting to giving up at all. It seems very odd but,
as I say, I understand that there had been for several days-[Interruption] I am
answering a Question put on behalf of the hon. Gentleman opposite and he might
allow me to reply-that for three or four days beforehand there had been very
considerable anxiety about what would happen in Brussels and, as will be seen,
our general officer, General Erskine, who is under the orders of the supreme
Commander, gave several warnings and I believe there was also an advance, by a
large crowd, on Parliament House or wherever it was.
[December 19, 1944)


COLONIAL EDUCATION
Wing-Commander Grant-Ferris (Conservative) asked the Secretary of
State for the Colonies what action has been taken to implement the recommenda-
tions of the report on mass education in the Colonies.*
Colonel Stanley: The far-reaching proposals made in this Report are still
under consideration in most of the territories concerned. But in one, Sierra Leone,
an experimental community education campaign on lines similar to those suggested
in the Report has already been so successful that a grant has been made under the
Colonial Development and Welfare Vote for its extension to a wider area.
Mass Education in African Society, available gratis from British Information Services,
New York.







94 British Speeches of the Day

Wing-Commander Grant-Ferris: Will the Secretary of State consider
this a matter of some urgency, as it is bound up with the question of the return-
ing demobilized troops, who will be looking for educational facilities?
Colonel Stanley: Yes, I certainly regard it as a matter of great urgency;
but the hon. and gallant Member, with .his recent experience, will know how
terribly short of Colonial Service staff is nearly every Colony.
[December 13, 1944]



NATIVE COLONIAL ADMINISTRATORS
Mr. Sorensen (Labour) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies
whether he has now considered representations made to him on the inferior con-
ditions of service among native administrative staffs as compared with Govern-
ment Civil Service in Nigeria; and what action is likely to be taken to secure for
the Native Administrative Service a pension scheme, a housing scheme, scholarships
to study abroad and the appointment of administrative officers from the African
administrative staff.
Colonel Stanley: The salaries and conditions of service of Native Ad-
ministration staffs were improved last year. Housing schemes have been held up
by the war, but will be resumed when materials and staff are available. Native
Administration staffs are eligible, equally with African Government officials, both
for scholarships to study abroad and for appointments as Administrative Officers,
in both cases selection depending on suitability. As regards pensions, I would refer
to the reply which I gave the hon. Member on October 18th.
(December 13, 1944]



COUNT SFORZA
Mr. Bellenger (Labour) asked the Prime Minister whether the question
of the return of Victor Emmanuel as King of Italy was discussed at his interview
with Count Sforza.
The Prime Minister: I informed Count Sforza that I welcomed the as-
surance he had given to the United States Government in his letter to Mr. Berle,
which I read to the House on December 8th, that matters of internal politics, in-
cluding the monarchy, should be adjourned until Italy was free. As regards the
future, that would be for the Italian people to decide.
Mr. Bellenger: I do not think my right hon. Friend has answered my
Question. Has his attention been called to the statement, alleged to have been
made by Count Sforza, that my right hon. Friend spent a good deal of the time
of the interview urging the retention of Victor Emmanuel as King of Italy. How
does that conform to the oft-repeated assurances, which he has given in this House,
that His. Majesty's Government have no desire to interfere in constitutional matters
affecting these other countries?
The Prime Minister: That is not so at all. I gave at the time a full
account of the matter to the House. The Speech is on record in which I explained
that I thought it better to go on with the King Victor Emmanuel-Badoglio regime






Question Time in the House of Commons 95

until the military situation had got into better condition. We did go on for a
very considerable time, the results not being unsatisfactory so far as our armies
are concerned. I certainly said nothing in my conversations with Count Sforza
which I had not already made dear as being the policy of His Majesty's Govern-
ment at that time. It is quite true that Count Sforza, as far as my memory serves
me, descanted a great deal upon the evils which come to a country when the
senior reigningefamily in the country is displaced by a junior reigning family,
like the House of Savoy, but I was not quite dear, and I am still not quite dear,
about all the implications of his conversation on that point.
Mr. Ivor Thomas (Labour): Did not Count Sforza make it dear at the
interview that he made a very sharp distinction between the institutional question
of the monarchy, which is to be held in abeyance until the Constituent Assembly,
and the personal question of King Victor Emmanuel, to whom he never promised
any support?
The Prime Minister: He certainly expressed an animus against King
Victor Emmanuel, with whom he had very lengthy and not at all unnatural dis-
agreement, but the statements which I made to him were within the lines of the
statement I made at that time publicly to Parliament. That is what I am responsible
for.
Viscountess Astor (Conservative): Is it not true that Stalin backed up
the Government in keeping the Badoglio Government in office? Was it not Stalin s
wish, and did not he come with us?
The Prime Minister: It is quite true that the Soviet Government, of
course, did recognize the Badoglio Government under King Victor, but the mat-
ter was:not then so heated and lively a topic as it is now.
[December 14, 1944]



FAR EAST (REHABILITATION)
Mr. Creech Jones (Labour) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies
whether plans for the rehabilitation of the economic life of the far-eastern terri-
tories are being worked out; whether long-term development planning is being con-
sidered, and what policy will His Majesty's Government adopt when the Japanese
are defeated.
Colonel Stanley: Yes, Sir. We have been working on rehabilitation plans
for some time, and considerable progress has been made in spite of the difficulties.
With regard to the second and third parts of the Question, account is naturally
taken of long-term considerations and possibilities in working out those plans, but
it would be premature to make any announcements about specific long-term
development policies which can only take final shape after the ejection of the
Japanese.
[December 14, 19443





















THE JOURNAL OF THE
PARLIAMENTS OF THE EMPIRE
The Journal of the Parliaments of the Empire is a quarterly publica-
tion issued by the Empire Parliamentary Association, giving a summary
of the proceedings of general interest in the various legislatures of the
British Commonwealth. It provides not only an account of the views of
representatives of various parties in the different Parliaments on inter-
national affairs and other important subjects, but also an account of
legislative enactments of general interest. It thus provides information,
in a condensed form, on legislation and the points of view of leading
men in various parts of the British Commonwealth upon many matters
which are of common interest to those in the United States of America
who are concerned with parliamentary and international affairs.
The Journal is obtainable in North America from the Oxford Uni-
versity Press, 480 University Avenue, Toronto 2, Ontario, Canada. Price:
$1.25 per copy, plus postage, $5 per annum post free.













OTHER MATERIAL AVAILABLE FROM
BRITISH INFORMATION SERVICES INCLUDES:


Britain. A monthly magazine. $1.00 a year; $1.20 in
Canada.

Information Division Circular. A fortnightly bulletin of
current background news on Britain. Free on appli-
cation.

Labor and Industry in Britain. Monthly. Free on appli-
cation.

Information papers on wartime Britain covering Taxation,
Education, Rationing, Women's Work, Industry, etc., may
be obtained free on application.

Also:
Britain Looks Ahead (Official Statements).
Post-War Planning (Unofficial Statements).
Wartime Planning for Physical Reconstruction.
The British Commonwealth and Empire.
The British Constitution.
50 Facts About India (illustrated).
John Britain (illustrated).
Britain versus Japan (illustrated).
50 Facts About Britain's War Effort.

(All available free on application.)

For catalogue of Films available, terms of hire, etc., apply
to any office of British Information Services.


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