BRITISH INFORMATION SERVICES
AN AGENCY OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT
OF THE DAY
WINSTON CHURCHILL, Prime Minister, February 27, 1945.
The Crimea Conference.
HUGH DALTON, President of the Board of Trade, January 31, 1945.
TOM WILLIAMS, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture,
January 30, 1945.
HERBERT MORRISON, Home Secretary and Minister of Home Security,
February 4, 1945.
The Lessons-of Hitler.
C. R. ATTLEE, Deputy Prime Minister, February 7, 1945.
Labor Must Look Ahead.
OLIVER STANLEY, Secretary of State for the Colonies, February 7, 1945.
Colonial Development and Welfare.
SIR JOHN ANDERSON, Chancellor of the Exchequer, February 13, 1945.
RICHARD LAW, Minister of State, February 14, 1945.
Relief to Liberated Countries.
R. H. BRAND, Head of the United Kingdom Treasury Delegation,
February 20, 1945.
Some British Post-War Problems.
THE EARL OF HALIFAX, British Ambassador to the United States,
February 26, 1945.
Thoughts on the Crimea Conference. t 5 "
BRENDAN BRACKEN, Minister of Information, February 21
Britain's Economic Future. G T I~ -
QUESTION TIME IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
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Please note that this is Vol. III, No. 3, of British Speeches
of the Day. On the cover of the February issue 'Vol. IV'
was a misprint for 'Vol. III.'
RT. HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL
House of Commons, February 27, 1945
The recent Conference of the three Powers in the Crimea faced realties and
difficulties in so exceptional a manner that the result constituted an act of State, on
which Parliament should formally express their opinion. His Majesty's Govern-
ment feel they have the right to know where they stand with the House of Com-
mons. A strong expression of support by the House will strengthen our position
among our Allies. The intimate and sensitive connections between the Executive
Government and the House of Commons will, thereby, also be made plain, thus
showing the liveliness of our democratic institutions and the subordination of
Ministers to Parliamentary authority. The House will not shrink from its duty of
pronouncing. We live in a time when equality of decision is required from all who
take part in our public affairs. In this way also, the firm and tenacious character of
the present Parliament, and, generally, of our Parliamentary institutions, emerging
as they do fortified from the storms of the war, will be made manifest. We have,
therefore, thought it right and necessary to place a positive Motion on the Paper,
in support of which I should like to submit some facts and arguments to the House
at the opening of this three days' Debate.
The difficulties of bringing about a Conference of the three heads of the Gov-
ernments of the principal Allies are only too obvious. The fact that, in spite of all
modern methods of communication, 14 months elapsed between Teheran and Yalta
is a measure of those difficulties. It is well known that His Majesty's Government
greatly desired a triple meeting in the Autumn. We rejoiced when, at last, Yalta
was fixed. On the way there, the British and United States delegations met at
Malta to discuss the wide range of our joint military and political affairs. The com-
bined Chiefs of Staff of the two countries were for three days in conference upon
the great operations now developing on the Western Front, and upon the war
plans against Japan, which it was appropriate for us to discuss together. The
Foreign Secretary, accompanied by high officials and assistants some of whom un-
happily perished on the way, also met Mr. Stettinius there. On the morning of
February 2nd the cruiser which bore the President steamed majestically into the
battle-scarred harbor. A plenary meeting of the combined Chiefs of Staff was held
in the afternoon, at which the President and I approved the proposals which had
been so carefully worked out in the preceding days for carrying our joint war effort
to the highest pitch, and for the shaping and timing of the military operations.
Meanwhile the Minister of War Transport and the American authorities concerned,
had been laboring on a vessel all to themselves at the problem of shipping, which
govern our affairs at present and which affect the movement and the reserves of
oil, food, munitions and troops. On all these matters, complete agreement was
reached-very difficult and complicated matters-like making an international
Bradshaw in which the times of all the express trains may have to be varied, if
half a dozen unforeseen contingencies arise. No hard-and-fast agreements were
made on any political issues. These, naturally, were to form the subject of the triple
conference, and they were carefully kept open for the full meeting.
Reasons for the Shipping Shortage
The reason why shipping is so tight at present is that the peak period of the
war in Europe has been prolonged for a good many months beyond what was
British Speeches of the Day
hoped for last Autumn, and, meanwhile, the peak period against Japan has been
brought forward by the American victories in the Pacific. Thus, instead of one
peak period fading out or dovetailing into the other, there is an overlap, or double
peak period, in the two wars which we are waging together on opposite sides of the
globe. Although for a couple of years past our joint losses by U-boats have ceased
to be an appreciable factor in our main business, 'and although the shipbuilding
output of the United States flows on gigantically, and although the Allies have
today, far more shipping than they ever had at any time previously during the war,
we are, in fact, more hard-pressed by shipping shortage than ever before. The same
double peak of war effort, of course, affects all our preparations for the turnover to
peace, including housing, and the much-needed supplies for civilians. All these
facts call for the most strenuous and searching economy on the military side, where
indulgence or miscalculation, or extravagance of any kind, is a grave injury to the
common cause. They also lamentably hamper our power to provide for the dire
needs of the liberated territories. I am not prepared to have this island cut below
its minimum safety reserves of food and oil, except in cases where sure and speedy
replacement can be made. Subject to this, we shall do everything in our power to
help the liberated countries. It is easy to see the rigorous character of the discus-
sions which Lord Leathers-who is highly competent in these matters and is ad-
mitted to be a magnificent authority on all this aspect, and who holds it all in his
head, has conducted on our behalf, and we may be satisfied today with the fair and
friendly distribution of burden and hardship which has been agreed upon between
Great Britain and the United States over the whole inter-allied shipping pool.
There was the diplomatic conference proceeding on one cruiser; there was the
military discussion proceeding on another, and the discussions on shipping going
forward on a third vessel. Then, at the end, the President arrived, and the results
were submitted to him and to me. I kept in touch with what was going on, and
we jointly approved all these matters, on which action was immediately taken.
After that, we all flew safely from Malta to the airfield in the Crimea, and
motored over the mountains-about which very alarming'accounts had been given,
but these proved to be greatly exaggerated-until we found shelter on the southern
shore of the Crimea. This is protected by the mountains and forms a beautiful
Black Sea Riviera, where there still remain undestroyed by the Nazis, a few villas
and palaces of the vanished Imperial and aristocratic regime. By extreme exertions
and every form of thoughtfulness and ingenuity, our Russian hosts had restored
these dwellings to good order, and had provided for our accommodation and com-
fort in the true style of Russian hospitality. In the background were the precipices
and the mountains; beyond them, the devastated fields and shattered dwellings of
the Crimea, across which twice the armies have surged in deadly combat. Here on
this shore, we labored for nine days and grappled with many problems of war and
policy while friendship grew.
France to Gain from Crimea Conference
I have seen a criticism in this country that France was not invited to participate
in the Conference at Yalta. The first principle of British policy in Western Efirope
is a strong France, and a strong French army. It was, however, felt by all three
great Powers assembled in the Crimea that, while they are responsible for bearing
to an overwhelming degree the main brunt and burden of the conduct of the war
and the policy intimately connected with the operations, they could not allow any
restrictions to be placed upon their right to meet together as they deemed necessary,
in order that they may effectively discharge their duties to the common cause. This
view, of course, does not exclude meetings on the highest level to which other
Powers will be invited.
The Crimea Conference
France may however find many reasons for contentment with the Crimea de-
cisions. Under these decisions France is to be invited to take over a zone of occupa-
tion in Germany, which we will immediately proceed to delimit with her, and to sit
on the Allied Control Commission in Germany, which regulates the whole affairs
of that country after the unconditional surrender has been obtained. France is to be
invited to join the United States, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Social-
ist Republics and China in sponsoring the invitations to'the San Francisco-Confer-
ence, which has been arranged for April 25th this year. She is invited to join the
United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union in operating the pro-
cedure laid down in the Declaration on Liberated Europe. She is also a member
of the European Advisory Commission, to whom most important tasks have been
relegated, including advice to the Governments upon most important matters con-
nected with the treatment of Germany. This Commission, with French assistance,
has already completed in great detail all the terms upon which unconditional sur-
render will be received and accepted. Everything is provided for in that sphere.
If we were confronted tomorrow with a collapse of the German power, there is
nothing that has not been foreseen and arranged beforehand by this important
European Advisory Commission consisting of Mr. Winant, Ambassador Gusef, and
Sir William Strang, of the Foreign Office.
[Mr. Bellenger (Bassetlaw): Does that apply to occupation only?]
No, it applies to what I have said-to the arrangements for the occupation as
far as they can be foreseen, and also it is to advise us on various matters connected
with Germany apart from the actual taking over by our military authorities. All
these arrangements show clearly the importance of the role which France is called
upon to play in the settlement of Europe, and how fully it is recognized that she
must be intimately associated with the other great Powers in this task. In order to
give further explanations of the proceedings of the Conference, we invited M.
Bidault, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, to visit London at the earliest
opportunity. He was good enough to come, and during the last few days, we have
had the pleasure of a series of clarifying talks with him, in which he has been able
to become fully informed of the whole position, and to express in the most effective
manner the views and wishes of France upon it.
Voting Procedure for World Organization
On world organization, there is little that I can say beyond what is contained
in the Report of the Conference, and, of course, in the earlier reports which
emanated from Dumbarton Oaks. At the Crimea, the three great Powers agreed on
a solution of the difficult question of voting procedure, to which no answer had
been found at Dumbarton Oaks. Agreement on this vital matter has enabled us
to take the next step forward in the setting up of the new world organization, and
the arrangements are in hand for the issue of invitations to the United Nations
Conference which, as I have said, will meet in a couple of months at San Francisco.
I wish I could give to the House full particulars of the solution of this question
of the voting procedure, to which representatives of the three great Powers, former-
ly in disagreement, have now wholeheartedly agreed. We thought it right, how-
ever, that we should consult both France and China, and should endeavor to secure
their acceptance before the formula was published. For the moment, therefore, I
can only deal with the matter in general terms.
Here is the difficulty which has to be faced. It is on the great Powers that the
chief burden of maintaining peace and security will fall. The new world organiza-
tion must take into account this special responsibility of the great Powers, and must
be so framed as not to compromise their unity, or their capacity for effective action
if it is called for at short notice. At the same time, the world organization cannot
172 British Speeches of the Day
be based upon a dictatorship of the great Powers. It is their duty to serve the world
and not to rule it. We trust the voting procedure on which we agreed at Yalta
meets these two essential points and provides a system which is fair and acceptable,
having regard to the evident difficulties, which will meet anyone who gives pro-
longed thought to the subject.
United Nations Meeting at San Francisco
The Conference at San Francisco will bring together, upon the invitation of the
United States, Great Britain, the British Commonwealth, the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics, the provisional Government of the French Republic and the
Republic of China, all those members of the United Nations who have declared
war on Germany or Japan by March 1, 1945, and who have signed the United
Nations Conference declaration. Many are declaring war or have done so since
Yalta, and their action should be treated with respect and satisfaction by those who
have borne the burden and heat of the day. Our future will be consolidated and
enriched by the participation of these Powers who, together with the founder mem-
bers, will take the opening steps to form the world organization to which it is hoped
that ultimately and in due course all States will belong. It is to this strongly-armed
body that we look to prevent wars of aggression, or the preparation for such wars,
and to enable disputes between States, both great and small, to be adjusted by
peaceful and lawful means, by persuasion, by the pressure of public opinion, by
legal method and eventually by another category of method which constitutes the
principle of this new organization.
The former League of Nations, so hardly used and found to be inadequate for
the tasks it attempted, will be replaced by a far stronger body in which the United
States will play a vitally important part. It will embody much of the structure and
characteristics of its predecessor. All the work that was done in the past, all the
experience that has been gathered by the working of the League of Nations, will
not be cast away, but the new body will differ from it in the essential point that it
will not shrink from establishing its will against the evil-doer, or evil-planner, in
good time and by force of arms. This organization, which is capable of continuous
progress and development, is at any rate appropriate to the phase into which the
world will enter after our present enemies have been beaten down, and we may
have good hopes, and, more than hopes, a resolute determination that it will shield
humanity from a third renewal of its agonies. We have all been made aware in
the interval between the two world wars of the weaknesses of international bodies,
whose work is seriously complicated by the misfortune which occurred in the
building of the Tower of Babel. Taught by bitter experience we hope now to make
the world conscious of the strength of the new instrument and of the protection
which it will be able to afford to all who wish to dwell in peace within their habita-
This new world structure will, from the outset and in all parts of its work, be
aided to the utmost by the ordinary channels of friendly diplomatic intercourse,
which it in no way supersedes. For our part, we are determined to do all in our
power to ensure the success of the Conference. On such an occasion it is clearly
right that the two leading parties in His Majesty's Government and in the British
nation, should be represented and all parties bound for the future in these decisions.
I am glad to inform the House that His Majesty's chief representatives at this Con-
ference will be my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and
the Lord President of the Council, the leader of the Labour Party. I am most
anxious that this principle should be established even in what are perhaps the
closing stages of'this memorable coalition. I am anxious that all parties should be
united in this new instrument, so that these supreme affairs shall be, in Mr. Glad-
The Crimea Conference
stone's words, "high and dry above the ebb and flow of party politics." I confess
that I have not verified that quotation, and I ask for all indulgence if I should be
proved to have made any slip.
Our Policy is Not Revenge
The Crimea Conference finds the Allies more closely united than ever before,
both in the military and in the political sphere. Let Germany recognize that it is
futile to hope for division among the Allies and that nothing can avert her utter
defeat. Further resistance will only be the cause of needless suffering. The Allies
are resolved that Germany shall be totally disarmed, that Nazism and militarism in
Germany shall be destroyed, that war criminals shall be justly and swiftly punished,
that all German industry capable of military production shall be eliminated or con-
trolled, and that Germany shall make compensation in kind to the utmost of her
ability for damage done to Allied Nations. On the other hand, it is not the pur-
pose of the Allies to destroy the people of Germany, or leave them without the
necessary means of subsistence. Our policy is not revenge; it is to take such
measures as may be necessary to secure the future peace and safety of the world.
There will be a place one day for Germans in the commit of nations, but only
when all traces of Nazism and militarism have been effectively and finally ex-
On the general plan, there is complete agreement. As to the measures to give
effect to it, much still remains to be done. The plans for the Allied Control Com-
mission will come into operation immediately on the defeat of Germany; indeed,
they are far advanced, advanced, as I have said, to the point where they could be
instantly made effective. On the longer-term measures, there are many points of
great importance on which detailed plans have yet to be worked out between the
Allies. It would be a great mistake to suppose that questions of this kind can
be thrashed out, and solutions found for all the many intractable and complex prob-
lems involved, while the Armies are still on the march. To hurry and press matters
of this kind might well be to risk causing disunity between the Allies. Many of
these matters must await the time when the leaders of the Allies, freed from the
burden of the direction of the war, can turn their whole or main attention to the
making of a wise and far-seeing peace which will, I trust, become a foundation
greatly facilitating the work of the world organization.
The Polish Frontier
I now come to the most difficult and agitating part of the statement which I
have to make to the House-the question of Poland. For more than a year past,
and since the tide of war has turned so strongly against Germany, the Polish prob-
lem has been divided into two main issues-the frontiers of Poland and the freedom
The House is well aware from the speeches I have made to them that the
freedom, independence, integrity and sovereignty of Poland have always seemed to
His Majesty's Government more important than the actual frontiers. To establish a
free Polish nation with a good home to live in, has always far outweighed, in my
mind, the actual tracing of the frontier line, or whether these boundaries should be
shifted on both sides of Poland further to the west. The Russian claim, first ad-
vanced at Teheran in November, 1943, has always been unchanged for the Curzon
Line in the East, and the Russian offer has always been that ample compensation
should be gained for Poland at the expense of Germany in the north and in the
west. All these matters are tolerably well known now. My right hon Friend the
Foreign Secretary explained in detail last December the story of the Curzon Line.
British Speeches of the Day
I have never concealed from the House, that, personally, I think the Russian claim
is just and right. If I champion this frontier for Russia, it is not because I bow to
force. It is because I believe it is the fairest division of territory that can, in all
the circumstances be made between the two countries whose history has been so
chequered and intermingled.
The Curzon Line was drawn in 1919 by an expert Commission, of which one
of our most distinguished foreign representatives of those days, Sir Eyre Crowe,
was a member. It was drawn at a time when Russia had few friends among the
Allies. In fact, I may say that she was extremely unpopular. One cannot feel that
either the circumstances or the personalities concerned, would have given undue
favor to Soviet Russia. They just tried to find out what was the right and proper
line to draw. The British Government in those days approved this Line including,
of course, the exclusion of Lvov from Poland. Apart from all that has happened
since, I cannot conceive that we should not regard it as a well-informed and fair
Changes at the Expense of Russia
There are two things to be remembered in justice to our great Ally. I can look
back to August, 1914, when Germany first declared war against Russia under the
Tsar. In those days, the Russian frontiers on the west were far more spacious than
those for which Russia is now asking after all her sufferings and victories. The
Tsarist frontiers included all Finland and the whole of the vast Warsaw salient
stretching to within 60 miles of Breslau. Russia is, in fact, accepting a frontier
which over immense distances is 200 or 300 miles further to the east than was
Russian territory and had been Russian territory for many generations under the
Tsarist regime. Marshal Stalin told me one day that Lenin objected to the Curzon
Line because Bialystok and the region round it were taken from Russia. Marshal
Stalin and the modern Soviet Government make no such claim and freely agree
with the view taken by the Allied Commission of 1919 that the Bialystok region
should go to Poland because of the Polish population predominating there.
We speak of the Curzon Line. A line is not a frontier. A frontier has to be
surveyed and traced on the ground and not merely cut in on a map by a pencil and
ruler. When my right hon. Friend and I were at Moscow in October Marshal
Stalin made this point to me, and at that time he said that there might be deviations
of eight to ten kilometres in either direction in order to follow the courses of
streams and hills or the actual sites of particular villages. It seems to me that this
was an eminently sensible way of looking at the problem. However, when we met
at Yalta the Russian proposal was changed. It was made clear that all such minor
alterations would be at the expense of Russia and not at the expense of Poland in
order that the Poles might have their minds set at rest once and for all and there
would be no further discussion about that part of the business. We welcomed this
Soviet proposal. One must regard these 30 years or more of strife, turmoil and
suffering in Europe as part of one story. I have lived through the whole story
since 1911 when I was sent to the Admiralty to prepare the Fleet for an impending
German war. In its main essentials it seems to me to be one story of a 30 years'
war, or more than a 30 years' war, in which British, Russians, Americans and
French have struggled to their utmost to resist German aggression at a cost most
grievous to all of them, but to none more frightful than to the Russian people,
whose country has twice been ravaged over vast areas and whose blood has been
poured out in tens of millions of lives in a common cause now reaching final
The Crimea Conference
Poland Saved by Russian Armies
There is a second reason which appeals to me apart from this sense of con-
tinuity which I personally feel. But for the prodigious exertions and sacrifices of
Russia, Poland was doomed to utter destruction at the hands of the Germans. Not
only Poland as a State and as a nation, but the Poles as a race were doomed by
Hitler to be destroyed or reduced to a servile station. Three and a half million
Polish Jews are said to have been actually slaughtered. It is certain that enormous
numbers have perished in one of the most horrifying acts of cruelty, probably the
most horrifying act of cruelty, which has ever darkened the passage of man on the
earth. When the Germans had clearly avowed their intention of making the Poles
a subject and lower grade race under the Herrenvolk, suddenly, by a superb effort
of military force and skill, the Russian Armies, in little more than three weeks,
since, in fact, we spoke on these matters here, have advanced from the Vistula to
the Oder, driving the Germans in ruin before them and freeing the whole of
Poland from the awful cruelty and oppression under which the Poles were writhing.
In supporting the Russian claim to the Curzon Line, I repudiate and repulse any
suggestion that we are making a questionable compromise or yielding to force or ,
fear, and I assert with the utmost conviction the broad justice of the policy upon
which, for the first time, all the three great Allies have now taken their stand.
Moreover, the three Powers have now agreed that Poland shall receive substantial
accessions of territory both in the north and in the west. In the north she will cer-
tainly receive, in the place of a precarious Corridor, the great city of Danzig, the
greater part of East Prussia west and south of Koenigsberg and a long, wide sea
front on the Baltic. In the west she will receive the important industrial province
of Upper Silesia and, in addition, such other territories to the east of the Oder as it
may be decided at the peace settlement to detach from Germany after the views of a
broadly based Polish Government have been ascertained.
Thus, it seems to me that this talk of cutting half of Poland off is very mis-
leading. In fact, the part which is to be east of the Curzon Line cannot in any
case be measured by its size. It includes the enormous, dismal region of the Pripet
Marshes, which Poland held between the two wars, and it exchanges for that the
far more fruitful, and developed land in the West, from which a very large portion
of the German population has already departed. We need not fear that the task of
holding these new lines will be too heavy for Poland, or that it will bring about
another German revenge or that it will, to use a conventional phrase, sow the seeds
of future wars. We intend to take steps far more drastic and effective than those
which followed the last war, because we know much more about this business, so
as to render all offensive action by Germany utterly impossible for generations to
Freedom Guaranteed by World Organization
Finally, under the world organization of nations great and small, victors and
vanquished will be secured against aggression by indisputable law and by over-
whelming international force. The published Crimea Agreement is not a ready-
made plan, imposed by the great Powers on the Polish people. It sets out the
agreed views of the three major Allies on the means whereby their common desire
to see established a strong, free, independent Poland, may be fulfilled in co-operation
with the Poles themselves, and whereby a Polish Government which all the United
Nations can recognize may be set up in Poland. This has become for the first time
a possibility now that practically the whole country has been liberated by the Soviet
Army. The fulfillment of the plan will depend upon the willingness of all sections
of democratic Polish opinion in Poland or abroad to work together in giving it
effect. The plan should be studied as a whole, and with the main common objective
British Speeches of the Day
always in view. The three Powers are agreed that acceptance by the Poles of the
provisions on the Eastern Frontiers and, so far as can now be ascertained on the
Western Frontiers, is an essential condition of the establishment and future welfare
and security of a strong, independent, homogeneous Polish State.
The proposals on frontiers are in complete accordance, as the House will re-
member, with the views expressed by me in Parliament on behalf of His Majesty's
Government many times during the past year. I ventured to make pronouncement
upon this subject at a time when a great measure of agreement was not expressed
by the other important parties to the affair. The Eastern frontier must be settled
now, if the new Polish administration is to be able to carry on its work in its own
territory, and to do this in amity with the Russians and behind their fighting fronts.
The Western frontiers, which will involve a substantial accession of German terri-
tory to Poland, cannot be fixed except as part of the whole German settlement
until after the Allies have occupied German territory and after a fully representative
Polish Government has been able to make its wishes known. It would be a great
mistake to press Poland to take a larger portion of these lands than is considered
Sby her and by her friends and Allies to be within her compass to man, to develop,
and, with the aid of the Allies and the world organization, to maintain.
I have now dealt with the frontiers of Poland. I must say I think it is a case
which I can outline with great confidence to the House. An impartial line traced
long ago by a British commission in which Britain took a leading part; the
moderation with which the Russians have strictly confined themselves to that line;
the enormous sacrifices they have made and the sufferings they have undergone;
the contributions they have made to our present victory; the great interest, the
vital interest, which Poland has in having complete agreement with her powerful
neighbor to the East-when you consider all those matters and the way they have
been put forward, the temperate, patient manner in which they have been put
forward and discussed, I say that I have rarely seen a case in this House which I
could commend with more confidence to the good sense of Members of all sides.
Polish Freedom Pledged
But even more important than the frontiers of Poland, within the limits now
disclosed, is the freedom of Poland. The home of the Poles is settled. Are they to
be masters in their own house? Are they to be free, as we in Britain and the United
States or France are free? Is their sovereignty and their independence to be un-
trammelled, or are they to become a mere projection of the Soviet State, forced
against their will, by an armed minority, to adopt a Communist or totalitarian
system? Well, I am putting the case in all its bluntness. It is a touchstone far
more sensitive and vital than the drawing of frontier lines. Where does Poland
stand? Where do we all stand on this?
Most solemn declarations have been made by Marshal Stalin and the Soviet
Union that the sovereign independence of Poland is to be maintained, and this
decision is now joined in both by Great Britain and the United States. Here also,
the world organization will in due course assume a measure of responsibility. The
Poles will have their future in their own hands, with the single limitation that they
must honestly follow, in harmony with their Allies, a policy friendly to Russia.
That is surely reasonable.
A New Polish Government
The procedure which the three great Powers have unitedly adopted to achieve
this vital aim is set forth in unmistakable terms in the Crimea declaration. The
agreement provides for consultation, with a view to the establishment in Poland of
The Crimea Conference
a new Polish Provisional Government of National Unity, with which the three
major Powers can all enter into diplomatic relations, instead of some recognizing
one Polish Government and the rest another, a situation which, if it had survived
the Yalta Conference, would have proclaimed to the world disunity and confusion.
We had to settle it, and we settled it there. No binding restrictions have been
imposed upon the scope and method of those consultations. His Majesty's Gov-
ernment intend to do all in their power to ensure that they shall be as wide as
possible and that representative Poles of all democratic parties are given full free-
dom to come and make their views known. Arrangements for this are now being
made in Moscow by the Commission of three, comprising M. Molotov, and Mr.
Harriman and Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, representing the United States and Great
Britain respectively. It will be for the Poles themselves, with such assistance as
the Allies are able to give them, to agree upon the composition and constitution of
the New Polish Government of National Unity. Thereafter, His Majesty's Gov-
ernment, through their representative in Poland, will use all their influence to
ensure that the free elections to which the new Polish Government will be pledged
shall be fairly carried out under all proper democratic safeguards.
Our two guiding principles in dealing with all these problems of the Con-
tinent and of liberated countries, have been clear: While the war is on, we give
help to anyone who can kill a Hun; when the war is over we look to the solution
of a free, unfettered, democratic election. Those are the two principles which this
Coalition Government have applied, to the best of their ability, to the circumstances
and situations in this entangled and infinitely varied development....
The course we have adopted is simple, direct and trustworthy. The agreement
does not affect the continued recognition by His Majesty's Government of the
Polish Government in London. This will be maintained until such time as His
Majesty's Government consider that a new Provisional Government has been
properly formed in Poland, in accordance with the agreed provisions; nor does it
involve the previous or immediate recognition by His Majesty's Government of the
present Provisional Government which is now functioning in Poland. We are
awaiting- [Interruption.] Let me remind the House and those who have
undertaken what I regard as an honorable task, of being very careful that our
affairs in Poland are regulated in accordance with the dignity and honor of this
country-I have no quarrel with them at all, only a difference of opinion on the
facts, which I hope to clear away. That is all that is between us.
Free and Unfettered Elections Promised
Let me remind them that there would have been no Lublin Committee or
Lublin Provisional Government in Poland if the Polish Government in London
had accepted our faithful counsel given to them a year ago: They would have
entered into Poland as its active Government, with the Liberating Armies of Russia.
Even in October, when the Foreign Secretary and I toiled night and day in Mos-
cow, M. Mikolajczyk could have gone from Moscow to Lublin, with every assurance
of Marshal Stalin's friendship, and become the Prime Minister of a more broadly
constructed Government, which would now be seated at Warsaw, or wherever,
in view of the ruin of Warsaw, the center of Government is placed.
But these opportunities were cast aside. Meanwhile, the expulsion of the
Germans from Poland has taken place, and of course the new Government, the
Lublin Government, advanced with the victorious Russian Armies, who were
received with great joy in very great areas in Poland. Many great cities changing
hands without a shot fired, and with none of that terrible business of underground
armies being shot by both sides, and so forth, which we feared so much, having
British Speeches of the Day
actually taken place during the great forward advance. These opportunities were
cast aside. The Russians, who are executing and preparing military operations on
the largest scale against the heart of Germany have the right to have the communi-
cations of their armies protected by an orderly countryside, under a government
acting in accordance with their needs.
It was not therefore possible, so far as recognition was concerned, to procure the
dissolution of the Lublin Government as well as of the London Government simul-
taneously, and start from a swept table. To do that would be to endanger the
success of the Russian offensive, and consequently to prolong the war, with
increased loss of Russian, British and American blood. The House should read
carefully again and again, those Members who have doubts, the words and the
terms of the Declaration, every word of which was the subject of the most profound
and searching attention by the Heads of the three Governments, and by the
Foreign Secretaries and all their experts.
How will this Declaration be carried out? How will phrases like
"Free and unfettered elections on the basis of universal suffrage and secret
be interpreted? Will the "new" Government be "properly" constituted, with a
fair representation of the Polish people, as far as can be made practicable at the
moment, and as soon as possible? Will the elections be free and unfettered? Will
the candidates of all democratic parties be able to present themselves to the
electors, and to conduct their campaigns? What are democratic parties? People
always take different views. Even in our own country there has been from time to
time an effort by one party or the other to claim that they are the true democratic
party, and the rest are either Bolsheviks or Tory landlords. What are democratic
parties? Obviously this is capable of being settled. Will the election be what we
should say was fair and free in this country, making some allowance for the great
confusion and disorder which prevails?
One cannot entirely avoid some nucleus of party inspiration being formed,
even in this country, and no doubt sometimes very able Members find themselves
a little out of joint with the party arrangements. But there are a great number of
parties in Poland. We have agreed that all those that are democratic parties-not
Nazi or Fascist parties or parties of collaborators with the enemy-all these will be
able to take their part.
These are questions upon which we have the clearest views, in accordance with
the principles of the Declaration on liberated Europe, to which all three Gov-
ernments have duly subscribed. It is on that basis that the Moscow Commission of
three was intended to work, and it is on that basis it has already begun to work.
Polish Gallantry Recognized
The impression I brought back from the Crimea, and from all my other contacts,
is that Marshal Stalin and the Soviet leaders wish to live in honorable friendship
and equality with the Western democracies. I feel also that their word is their
bond. I know of no Government which stands to its obligations, even in its own
despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government. I decline absolutely to
embark here on a discussion about Russian good faith. It is quite evident that
these matters touch the whole future of the world. Somber indeed would be the
fortunes of mankind if some awful schism arose between the Western democracies
and the Russian Soviet Union, if all the future world organization were rent
asunder, and if new cataclysms of inconceivable violence destroyed all that is left
of the treasures and liberties of mankind.
The Crimea Conference 179
Finally, on this subject, His Majesty's Government recognize that the large
forces of Polish troops, soldiers, sailors and airmen, now fighting gallantly, as they
have fought during the whole war, under British command, owe allegiance to the
Polish Government in London. We have every confidence that once the new
Government, more fully representative of the will of the Polish people than either
the present Government in London or the Provisional Administration in Poland,
has been established, and recognized by the great Powers, means will be found
of overcoming these formal difficulties in the wider interest of Poland. Above all,
His Majesty's Government are resolved that as many as possible of the Polish
troops shall be enabled to return in due course to Poland, of their own free will,
and under every safeguard, to play their part in the future life of their country.
In any event, His Majesty's Government will never forget the debt they owe
to the Polish troops who have served them so valiantly, and for all those who
have fought under our command I earnestly hope it may be possible to offer the
citizenship and freedom of the British Empire, if they so desire. I am not able
to make a declaration on that subject today because all matters affecting.citizenship
require to be discussed between this country and the Dominions, and that takes
time. But so far as we are concerned we should think it an honor to have such
faithful and valiant warriors dwelling among us as if they were men of our own
[Mr. Deputy-Speaker: The Sitting will now be suspended until 2:15 p.m.
The brief interval which has separated us, enables me to carry the House to
altogether different fields. We leave the Crimean shores, and travel southwards to
warmer climes, in which also we find many matters where British interests are
important, and where we are involved. President Roosevelt invited the Emperor of
Ethiopia, King Farouk of Egypt, and the King of Saudi Arabia to meet him at
Ismailia before sailing for home, and conferences upon his cruiser were accordingly
arranged by him. I myself took leave of the President on the 15th of this month
in Alexandria Harbour, after long and most agreeable talks about the state of our
affairs in the light of the Crimea Conference, and also talks about our special
business in the Far East, in which, as the Japanese are aware, we both take some
Italian Problems Discussed
We also spoke of our joint occupation of Italy and of our policy there. Upon
this, the House is aware, there was a great deal of misunderstanding in large
sections of the American Press some weeks ago. During our recent talks I
repeatedly asked both the President and Mr. Stettinius to state whether there are
any, and if so what, complaints by the United States Government against us for
any steps we have taken in Italy, or have not taken in Italy; and I received
categorical assurances that there are none. Moreover, I must place it on record
that when I visited Italy in August last I made a series of proposals to His Majesty's
Government, of which I informed the President, for mitigating the severity of the
Allied occupation in Italy, and generally for alleviating the hard lot of the Italian
people. These matters were discussed at our second Quebec Conference, and it was
at Hyde Park, the President's private country home, that he and I drafted the
declaration of September 28th, which was, and is, intended to make a very definite
mitigation in the attitude of the victorious Powers towards the Italian people, and
to show our desire to help them in due course to resume their place among the
leading nations of Europe. Last Saturday the right hon. Member for Stockton-on-
Tees (Mr. Harold Macmillan), who is acting President of the Allied Commission,
British Speeches of the Day
and Admiral Stone of the United States Navy, who is its Chief Commissioner, were
received by the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary of Italy, and announced to
them the new measures decided upon in favor of the Italian Government, in
fulfillment of this September declaration.
As I myself have taken the lead in bringing these proposals forward and,
eventually securing their adoption, I am not prepared to accept suggestions from
any quarter-although we suffered injury and ill-usage at Italy's hands in the days
of Mussolini's power-that Great Britain has fallen behind other victorious
Powers in taking a generous view towards Italy, or that we nourish any design
of "power politics" which involved Italy. The sentence I used was that we had
no need of Italy for any of our designs, and that was wrested from its context, but,
as a matter of fact, it was a mere, reply which I was bound to make to suggestions
in some quarters of the United States Press, that we were embarking on some power
politics-whatever they may be-in the Mediterranean. I am glad to say that the
facts I am now setting forth have been explicitly accepted by the United States,
or at any rate in all responsible quarters, and that this view was thoroughly endorsed
by the President and Mr. Stettinius, and I have received quite definite assurances
that no complaints of any kind were or are preferred against us, which would
call for any reply on my part, such as would certainly be forthcoming.
Our two nations can, therefore, proceed on their joint task in Italy-which
in future will be burdened with many new complications and difficulties-in the
closest confidence and unity. We look forward to Italy's return under a truly
democratic regime to the community of industrious and peace-loving nations. In
her efforts to help herself, Italy can count upon British goodwill, and upon Allied
goodwill. She can count also on such material aid as is at our disposal, and
she will continually receive her fair share. I said some time ago that Italy would
have to work her passage home. She has some way to go yet, but it would be less
than just if I did not pay a tribute to the invaluable services, the full tale of which
cannot yet be told, of Italian men and women in the Armed Forces, on the seas,
in the countryside, and behind the enemy lines in the North, which are being-
rendered steadily and steadfastly to the common cause. New difficulties may be
cast upon us when the great districts in the North are cleared, and when the
problem of feeding the great masses for whom we shall then become responsible is
thrown upon us and upon the provisional Italian Government, which Government
may itself be called upon to undergo changes, as a consequence of the greatly
increased constituency for which it will become responsible, through the liberation
of the Northern districts.
Some Middle Eastern Rulers
My right hon. Friend and I thought it would be becoming as well as con-
venient and agreeable, that we should also see the two rulers who had made long
journeys to Egypt at the President's invitation, and that we should pass in friendly
review with them, the many matters .in which we have common concern. It was
our duty also to pay our respects to King Farouk of Egypt, and we thought it right
to seek a talk with President Shukri of Syria, in order to calm things down as
much as possible in the Levant. It should not, however, be supposed that anything
in the nature of a general conference on Middle East affairs took place. The mere
fact that the Regent of Iraq and the Emir Abdulla of Transjordania were not on
the spot should make this perfectly clear. Any conference would naturally include
authorities of that sort. There was no question of shaping hew policy for the
Middle East, but rather of making those friendly personal contacts by which public
business between various States is often helped. I must at once express our grief
and horror at the assassination of the Egyptian Prime Minister, Ahmed Maher
The Crimea Conference
Pasha, with whom my right hon. Friend had a long and cordial interview only a
few days, almost hours, before he fell a victim to foul play. His death is a serious
loss to his King and to his country. The sympathy of Great Britain for the widow
and family of the late Prime Minister of Egypt has, of course, been expressed, not
only in telegrams from the Foreign Office, but also by various personal visits of our
Ambassador, Lord Killearn, and I am sure the House will associate itself with
these expressions. There is little doubt that security measures in Egypt require
considerable tightening, and above all that the execution of justice upon men
proved guilty of political murder should be swift and exemplary.
Some Declarations of War
The Egyptian Government have, we feel, acted rightly and wisely in deciding
to declare war on Germany and Japan, and to sign the United Nations Declaration.
We did not press the Egyptian Government at any time to come into the war,
and indeed upon more than one occasion in the past our advice has been to the
contrary. There were evident advantages in sparing the populous and famous city
of Cairo from wholesale bombardment, and we have been content with the attitude
of Egypt as a co-belligerent. Egyptian troops have, during the war, played an
important part. They have maintained order throughout the Delta, they have
guarded many strong-points and depots, and, in all kinds of ways, they have been
of assistance to our war effort, which has once again proved successful in shielding
the fertile lands of the Delta from the shock of the foreign invader. We have had
every facility from Egypt, under our Treaty of Alliance, and successive Egyptian
Prime Ministers and Governments have given us support in the manner which we
deemed to be the most effective. Egypt is an Associated Power, and she should
take her rightful place as a future member of the world organization and as one
of its founders, when the occasion is reached at San Francisco at the end of April.
We are also very glad to welcome Turkey into the ranks of the United Nations.
Turkey declared herself most firmly on our side by the Treaty of Alliance in 1939,
at a time when the gathering dangers were only too apparent. As I explained to the
House on a former occasion, Turkey became conscious of unexpected military
weakness after the war had started in earnest on account of the influence-the
decisive influence-of new weapons with which she was quite unprovided and
which we were not in a position to supply. As these weapons exercise a decisive
effect on the modern battlefield, the Turks felt that they could no longer confide
their safety to their renowned infantry and to the artillery of the last war. We did
not, therefore, for a long time press them for a Turkish declaration of war. It
was not until after the Teheran Conference that we considered that the moment
had come, when Turkey could enter the struggle without grave imprudence. The
Turkish Government did not feel able to do so at that time, but they have aided
us in various ways which it would not be profitable to recount, and we have never
had the slightest doubt where their hearts lay. They, also, will be welcomed by
Great Britain into the ranks of the United Nations, and I do not consider that the
ties renewed between our two countries after the miserable disasters of the last
war have been in any way impaired.
Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and the Lebanon
I was greatly interested in meeting King Ibn Saud, the famous ruler of Saudi
Arabia. I had the honor of entertaining this most remarkable man to luncheon in
the Fayoum Oasis, and of expressing to him the thanks of Great Britain for his
steadfast unswerving and unflinching loyalty to our country and the common cause,
which never shone more brightly than in the darkest days and in the hours of
mortal peril. His aid will be needed at the close of the war in reaching a solution
of the problem of the Arab world and of the Jewish people in Palestine. I have
British Speeches of the Day
hopes that, when the war is over, good arrangements can be made for securing the
peace and progress of the Arab world, and, generally of the Middle East, and that
Great Britain and the United States, which is taking an increasing interest in these
regions, will be able to play a valuable part in proving that well-known maxim of
the old Free Trader "All legitimate interests are in harmony." [Lughter.] I
knew that would give pleasure to the right hon. Baronet the Member for South-
West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris). My right hon. Friend enjoys these reminis-
cences of by-gone controversies, or comparatively by-gone controversies.
My discussions with the Emperor of Ethiopia raised no serious difficulties,
because an agreement for the next two years had already been reached, as the result
of the Mission to Ethiopia which Lord De La Warr had just completed with much
patience and address. It was a satisfaction for me to see for the first time in the
flesh Haile Selassie, that historical figure who pleaded the cause of his country
amid the storms of the League of Nations, who was the first victim of Mussolini's
lust for power and conquest, and who was also the first to be restored to his
ancient throne by the heavy exertions of our British and Indian armies in the far-
off days of 1940 and 1941.
Finally, we had the pleasure of a long discussion with President Shukri of
Syria, in which we did our utmost to enjoin a friendly attitude towards the French
and to encourage negotiations for a suitable settlement with the French, affecting
not only Syria but also the Lebanon. I must make cear, once and for all, the
position of His Majesty's Government in respect of Syria and the Lebanon, and in
relation to our French Allies. That position is governed by the statements made in
1941, in which the independence of these Levant states was definitely declared by
Great Britain and France. At that time, and ever since, His Majesty's Government
have made it clear that they would never seek to supplant French influence by
British influence in the Levant states. We are determined also to respect the inde-
pendence of these States and to use our best endeavors to preserve a special posi-
tion for France in view of the many cultural and historic connections, which
France has so long established with Syria. We hope that it may be possible for
the French to preserve that special position. We trust that these States will be
firmly established by the authority of the world organization, and that French
privilege will also be recognized.
However, I must make it clear that it is not for us alone to defend by force
either Syrian or Lebanese independence or French privilege. We seek both, and
we do not believe that they are incompatible. Too much must not be placed,
therefore, upon the shoulders of Great Britain alone. We have to take note of
the fact that Russia and the United States have recognized and favor Syrian and
Lebanese independence, but do not favor any special position for any other foreign
country. All these and many other matters affecting the Middle East are fitting
and necessary subjects for the Peace Conference, at which we must resolutely strive
for final settlements of lasting peace between all the States and races comprised in
the Middle East, and in the Eastern basin of the Mediterranean.
The Visit to Athens
On the way back from the Crimea, to say "good-bye" to the President at
Alexandria, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I stopped in Athens.
I must say that from my point of view this was the high spot of the whole
journey. I could not help recalling, the grim conditions of our visit only seven
weeks before, when the cannon were firing close at hand, and bullets continually
struck the walls and people were killed and wounded in the streets not far away.
The contrast between these violent scenes and the really rapturous welcome we re-
ceived from vast crowds of delighted citizens was one of the most vivid, impres-
The Crimea Conference
sive and agreeable experiences of my life. Peace reigned over the beautiful, im-
mortal city. Its citizens were wild with joy. His Beatitude the Archbishop was
seated in the Regency, firmly grasping the reigns of power. Together we drove
through the crowded streets, lined by the first instalment of the new national Greek
Army, until I found myself called upon to address what was, incomparably, the
largest and most enthusiastic gathering'that, in a very long experience of such
demonstrations, I have ever seen. There is no subject in my recollection on which
the policy of His Majesty's Government has received more complete vindication
than in regard to Greece, nor has there been any on which greater prejudice and
misrepresentation has been poured out against them in the United States-
[Interruption]-not without some assistance from these shores. All this was done
with a gay, and, as I said, a wanton disregard of the ill-effects produced on the
spot, and the encouragement given to the resistance of the terrorists in Greece. I
am sure we rescued Athens from a horrible fate. I believe that the Greek people
will long acclaim our action, both military and political. Peace without vengeance
has been achieved. A great mass of arms has been surrendered. Most of the
prisoners and hostages have been restored. The great work of bringing in food
supplies has resumed its former activity. Public order and security are so estab-
lished that UNRRA is about to resume its functions. The popularity of British
troops and of those who have guided the course of policy, such as Mr. Leeper and
General Scobie, is unbounded in these regions, and their conduct continues to re-
ceive the approbation of His Majesty's Coalition Government.
I should by no means lead the House to suppose that our difficulties are over.
The Greek National Army has still to be formed, and to be effective to maintain
impartial order. The Greek Budget has to be balanced in some way. The drachma
has to be restrained within reasonable limits; the raw materials have to be pro-
vided to enable industries of various kinds to get to work in Athens, where there
are considerably more than a million people. The sense of unity ard respon-
sibility has to grow stronger with the Greek people. And here I must remark
that the future of Greece is in the Greeks' own hands. The Greeks must not
expect that the whole process of their restoration can be accomplished by British
labors or American assistance. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary re-
mained a day longer in Athens than I did, and he was at pains to bring home to
the Greek authorities the fact that, now that political stability has been achieved,
financial and economic problems must take first place, and that the burden and
responsibility are upon the Greek nation and that they must, on no account, sit
back and leave these tasks to foreigners.
I trust that these remarks will in no way detract from the great kindness and
enthusiasm with which I was received a little while ago, but if my words should
cause pain I am not entirely sorry for it. The intense political activity of the Greek
mind must continue to give way to practical problems. As soon as possible they
must reach that election, fair, free, unfettered, with secret ballot and on a basis
of universal suffrage, to which everyone is looking forward, and which can alone
regulate and adjust everything that has been done. I look forward to it with the
greatest confidence. I particularly welcome the wish of the Greek Government
that Russian, British and American observers shall be free, on the spot, to make
sure that the will of the people finds complete and sincere expression. So much
for that episode, upon which we have had several exciting and even momentarily
heated Debates in recent times.
Meetings of Foreign Secretaries
I thank the House very much for their courtesy and attention. I would refer,
for a moment or two before sitting down, to the Conference as a whole, and in
relation to the grave matters which I mentioned before the interval with which the
British Speeches of the Day
House indulged me. It was the custom of the Conference at Yalta to hold its
meetings of the three Heads of Governments and Foreign Secretaries late in the
afternoon, and to sit for several hours each day. Here the main issues were
deployed, and the measures both of agreement and of difference were dearly
revealed. I remember particularly one moment when a prolonged silence fell
upon our small body, maintained for two or three minutes. It was immediately
found very convenient to remit the measures of agreement or of difference, when-
ever our discussion had carried us, to the morning greetings of the Foreign Secre-
taries. Each Foreign Secretary presided over these meetings in rotation. So ex-
cellent was the combined work of the Foreign Secretaries that our problems were
returned to us nearly every day in time for the full meeting, in a form in which
final agreement could be reached, and lasting decisions taken.
There was a proposal on the agenda for the institution during the present anxi-
ous period of regular meetings of the Foreign Secretaries, an improvement of the
combined and collective work which has often been asked for here, in order to
prevent avoidable divergence of views, and to concert the actions of the three
great Powers. This was to meet a felt want, and to serve to bridge the unavoid-
able gap in the meetings of the three heads of Government. There was, how-
ever, no need to argue this matter at Yalta, because the work of the three Foreign
Secretaries proved itself so invaluable, efficient and indispensable that its con-
tinuing collective activity was acclaimed by all. It is, of course, only a temporary
arrangement, appropriate to these times of special stress, when so heavy a military
burden is resting on the three great Powers. We may expect it eventually to
merge in the larger and permanent organization which will be set up at San
Francisco, once that organization is in full working order, and the Peace Con-
ference has finished its labors. In the intervening period these meetings of the
three Foreign Secretaries to whom, from time to time, the Foreign Secretaries of
other countries may be added, will prove of undoubted advantage.
Here is the moment when the House should pay its tribute to the work of my
right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. I cannot describe to the House the aid
and comfort he has been to me in all our difficulties. His hard life when quite
young, in the infantry in the last war, his constant self-preparation for the tasks
which had fallen to him, his unequalled experience as a Minister at the Foreign
Office, his knowledge of foreign affairs and their past history, his experience of
conferences of all kinds, his breadth of view, his powers of exposition, his moral
courage, have gained for him a position second to none among the Foreign Secre-
taries of the Grand Alliance. It is not only my own personal debt, but even more
that of the House to him which I now acknowledge.
A World of Imponderables
I suppose that during these last three winter months the human race all the
world over has undergone more physical agony and misery than at any other
period through which this planet has passed. In the Stone Age the numbers
were fewer, and the primitive creatures, little removed from their animal origin,
knew no better. We suffer more and we feel more. I must admit that in all this
war I never felt so grave a sense of responsibility as I did at Yalta. In 1940
and 1941 when we in this island were all alone, and invasion was so near, the
actual steps one ought to take and our attitude towards them seemed plain and
simple. If a man is coming across the sea to kill you, you do everything in your
power to make sure he dies before finishing his journey. That may be difficult,
it may be painful, but at least it is simple. Now we are entering a world of im-
ponderables, and at every stage occasions for self-questioning arise. It is a mis-
take to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled
at a time.
I trust the House will feel that hope has been powerfully strengthened by our
meeting in the Crimea. The ties that bind the three great Powers together,. and
their mutual comprehension of each other, have grown. The United States has
entered deeply and constructively into the life and salvation of Europe. We have
all three set our hands to far-reaching engagements at once practical and solemn.
United we have the unchallengeable power to lead the world to prosperity, free-
dom and happiness. The great Powers must seek to serve and not to rule. Joined
with other States, both large and small, we may found a world organization which,
armed with ample power, will guard the rights of all States, great or small, from
aggression, or from the gathering of the means of aggression. I am sure that a
fairer choice is open to mankind than they have known in recorded ages. The
lights burn brighter and shine more broadly than before. Let us walk forward
[House of Commons Debates]
RT. HON. HUGH DALTON
President of the Board of Trade
House of Commons, January 31, 1945
I think the House will agree that this is a simple and useful Measure* for
the encouragement of post-war exports. What the Bill does in the first Clause
is to increase from 75,000,000 to 200,000,000 the limit of liability laid down
in the Export Guarantees Act, 1939, and within that maximum the subsidiary
limits of 7,500,000 for re-exports and of 2,500,000 for ancillary services con-
nected with the export trade, are both doubled. I have read in certain organs
of the Press calculations designed to prove that, in effect, and in terms of goods
covered, this is no increase at all, and I, therefore, think it may be worth while
to submit a very simple piece of arithmetic to the House. At the present time
prices of United Kingdom exports are, roughly, double the pre-war level, and
therefore the 75,000,000 which we are proposing to increase, is equivalent, at
present prices of exports, to 150,000,000. On this basis the increase is from
150,000,000 to 200,000,000, that is to say, an increase on 150,000,000 of
50,000,000. In other words, an increase of 331/3 per cent. . .
Therefore, in terms of goods, as distinct from money, the Bill provides for
an increase of 331/ per cent at present export prices. But there is no reason to
suppose that present export prices will remain at their high level in the years
to come. I myself anticipate that there will be a gradual decline in the prices
of British exports from the level now ruling. In so far as that anticipation turns
out to be correct, the increase in terms of goods covered will be greater than 331/3
per cent. Moreover, at the present time, the liabilities covered amount not to
75,000,000, which is the present legal limit, but only to 40,500,000. This, as
the House will readily appreciate, is owing to our exports having been so substan-
tially reduced because of the war, and in consequence of Lend-Lease receipts,
with the result that it has not been necessary to employ the export guarantees to
the maximum extent permissible under the present Act. Therefore, in addition
to the increase now proposed, there is a "slack" of between 34,000,000 and
The Export Guarantees Bill.
British Speeches of the Day
35,000,000 within the 75,000,000, which is now the legal maximum. I think
that when we take account of these considerations, the maximum I am asking
the House to assent to will be sufficient to cover an increase of at least 50 per
cent in the volume of our exports over the pre-war figure, which is, roughly, the
target which has been set before industry and the country on various occasions.
I would add that if it should turn out, as we go forward, that this figure is
insufficient, the Government will be perfectly prepared, if the case is established
and we find ourselves rapidly approaching this new ceiling of 200,000,000, to
consider whether a further increase should not be effected. That can be done
in the simplest fashion, by means of a one-Clause Bill substituting for the
200,000,000 in this Bill some larger figure. . .
Range of Guarantees Extended
So much for Clause 1, which is the main Clause of the Bill. ... .Clause 2
is new. It has been put in on the advice of our Export Guarantees Advisory
Council, about which I will say a word in a moment. For the first time, it
extends the range of guarantees to the sale of primary products produced over-
seas and sold direct by United Kingdom merchants without coming to the United
Kingdom itself. As the House knows, London is the traditional center for much
of such business, and, if in future such transactions are not financed in London,
they will be financed somewhere else overseas. This would mean that we should
lose a certain amount of invisible exports with a consequential loss of foreign
exchange. We are very anxious not to lose foreign exchange needlessly in the
years to come and, therefore, this new permissive Clause has been inserted. It
will, however, be used with great discretion. Each case will be considered on its
merits, and in no case will guarantees be given under this Clause if it should be
the opinion of the Advisory Council or of Ministers at the Board of Trade that
British visible exports would in any way be hindered or damaged by such guaran-
tees. But wisely used this is, I think, a valuable extension of the field of export
Exports Must Pay for Imports
This is no new plan which I am submitting, it is new only in respect to de-
tails, for the principle of export credits, with the Government standing behind the
exporter, dated back to 1919. The first export credits scheme was introduced in
that year, and since then there has been a long series of amending Acts, eight or
nine of them, and this is one more in the series. We are now going one step
further in order to make sure that our export trade in the post-war years shall
not be handicapped through lack of reasonable credits. But I think it is necessary
that I should say one word of caution about credits and their use. We cannot live
on credit alone, no one can; we must get paid for what we produce. I hope no
one will bemuse himself with the belief that the prosperity of this country can
be restored merely by large scale credit operations for the benefit of those who
have the advantage of receiving the products of British industry. The purpose
of exports is not fun, it is not to send away goods merely for the sake of sending
them away-goods on which British labor has toiled and sweated-in order that
other people may enjoy them. It would be very foolish indeed to contemplate
export trade on that basis.
There is only one justification for exports and that is that it is more useful
to send away the things we have made in exchange for other things we need
rather than to keep them here. The purpose of our export trade is to obtain the
food without which our people cannot be properly nourished and to obtain the
raw materials without which they cannot be fully employed. That is the sole
purpose and we want the food and the materials soon. We do not want to-
morrow's breakfast postponed for three or even for five years. It is very
nice to send things away on the understanding that three or five years hence we
shall get paid for them and get foreign exchange to buy our food, but there must
be a limit to this operation, and I am sure the House will keep that consideration
Before the first World War, and still to some extent between the wars, we
were what was called a creditor country, but as a result of the sacrifices we have
made during this war we shall be a debtor country at the end of it in the sense
that a large number of persons and Governments outside this country will have
claims upon us in the form of sterling balances and the like. Therefore we must
keep a sharp eye upon the total volume of credits, particularly long-term credits,
or we shall find ourselves working for a rather distant future, and all the ad-
vantages of British labor at work now being devoted to getting imports not now
but years hence. Having said that, and it is important that it should be said and
understood, it remains true, for otherwise I should not be moving this Bill, that
there are many cases where the Government should rightly come in in order to
make sure that certain exports can proceed and that certain orders can be com-
pleted, where without this Government credit, that might not be possible.
Export Guarantees Advisory Council
I said just now that I would say a word about the Export Guarantees Advisory
Council. This is a body which meets regularly and advises us on each of these
transactions. The Council includes representatives of banking, of industry, in-
cluding the co-operative movement, and of organized labor. Its services have
been of very great value to the Government and I want to take this opportunity
of thanking its members for the work they have done. It is convenient, indeed
it is essential, that there should stand, as part of the mechanism of a Bill of this
kind, some body of experienced people who can be a sieve between the applica-
tions which may be made for guarantees and the Ministers who have to justify
the guarantees if need be, in this House . .
It is worth observing that over the period during which this Government
support of exports by way of guarantees has extended, the receipts from the
premiums have always been sufficient to cover the expenditure of the Department,
and that for the whole period of more than 20 years since guarantees were first
given no charge has fallen upon the Exchequer. The Financial Secretary to the
Treasury is not here for the moment or I think he would blush with pleasure.
The premiums charged for these credits, although they have in my opinion been
reasonable, have none the less been sufficient to cover the claims which have had
to be met. . The accounts will shortly be in the hands of the House-they
are now with the printers-but, since the Bill is before us, perhaps I may give
a figure a little in advance of publication. When the annual volume of Trading
Accounts and Balance Sheets is issued by the Stationery Office for the year ending
March 31, 1944-and that will be very soon-it will be seen that there is still
a reserve of approximately 1,500,000 against the liabilities so far entered into,
and, as I have already said in another connection, although the limit of guarantees
under the present Act is 75,000,000 the Department's present liabilities are only
40,500,000, owing to the lesser requests for these facilities which have been made
during the war. When we restart our export drive there is no doubt that these
liabilities will, as it is intended that they shall, quickly grow.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of the Department of Overseas Trade is
specially charged with the administration of the Export Credits Guarantee De-
partment, subject to his joint responsibility to the Foreign Secretary and to myself.
188 British Speeches of the Day
He has devoted a great deal of time and care to the work-I am glad to tell that
to the House-and I think that it has proved a very satisfactory piece of machinery,
although it has not been used to the full during these war years. It has been
of great value in the past, and it is because we are now within sight of the end
of the war and within sight of the period when the export drive must be resumed
with vigor if we are to get our food and raw materials, that it appeared to the
Government that the time had come to increase the limit of liability and to intro-
duce this Bill. Therefore, I commend this .Bill to the House as a practical
Measure for the rather tricky period, as it will be, of transition from war to peace,
for the support and encouragement of British exports.
[House of Commons Debates]
RT. HON. TOM WILLIAMS
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture
To the Liverpool Constitutional Club, January 30, 1945
[ Extracts ]
I am sure that there can be no lasting prosperity for Liverpool or for any other
city or town unless farming also is prosperous. The war has taught us that
every person and industry has a contribution to make to the well-being of the
community, and that the best must be made of all sections of the community
to make the best of the community itself. After the war if we are to enjoy full
employment, gigantic national insurance schemes, freedom from want and wider
spread of industrial and social prosperity no single large industry can be allowed
to descend to the depth of depression reached by British agriculture between 1921
and 1939. I should like, therefore, to pose a question: "What should be our
attitude towards this great industry; what should we do with our land in
peace-time?" . .
Agriculture is one of our largest industries in this country; there are nearly
400,000 farmers and over 600,000 workers employed in the industry. It provides
a living, therefore, for over 1,000,000 families and that takes no account of the
hundreds of thousands of men and women in ancillary industries. In pre-war
years, the value of the output was something like 290,000,000 per annum, which
has been increased during the war to somewhere approaching 600,000,000.
However you care to look at the industry, the number of people depending upon
it, the value of its produce, the widespread nature of it, you will realize that it
is not only one of our largest, but one of our most important industries. More-
over, the capital invested, although not easy to estimate, is enormous.
Here, then, is an industry that not only sells large volumes of food but must
make very large purchases from the industrial market. To give but one example:
during the war 100,000,000 worth of machinery has been placed on our farms.
Therefore the more prosperous the industry, the greater its value to other indus-
tries and services, and it is impossible to avoid depression in some other indus-
tries if agriculture is sorely depressed. . .
For a healthy agriculture nature demands rotation cropping-the policy we
are pursuing in this country. The Hot Springs Conference recognized this and
recommended balanced mixed rotational farming and the avoidance of single
crop farming. In this country we can produce a wide range of commodities as
cheaply as any country in the world. However, during the inter-war years . .
agriculture became sorely depressed. Hundreds of thousands of farmers were
making a bare living while workers' wages were scandalously low. There was
no encouragement to aim at maximum production because there was no guar-
anteed market. Indeed, a good harvest very often brought the least return. Low
farming became the order; millions of acres went out of cultivation. We were
producing only one-third of our food supply, and to do this we were importing
8,000,000 tons of animal feeding-stuffs. Thanks to a brutal war we can tell a
different story today. The Government had to provide suitable conditions which
would encourage maximum production on every farm. The widespread machinery
invoked for help, advice and guidance I need not dwell upon. It is sufficient to
state that the two' conditions, the guaranteed market with assured prices fixed
well ahead, saw the farmers rise to the occasion. You will have seen some figures
in the Press; I need not worry you with them now. I only need state that we are
now producing more than two-thirds of our food supply from our own soil. It
has been a revelation to all of us to see what can and has been done, and a de-
pression thought to remember what was not done in peacetime. No less than
5,000,000 acres of grass has been ploughed up and yet we have actually increased
our milk supply. That is the broad picture of the industry now. Over 1,000,000
families enjoying a fair measure of prosperity, supplying the needs of the nation
and being good customers of general industry.
The Land After the War
My question posed earlier on: "What shall we do with the land after the war?"
still remains unanswered. I believe that with appropriate conditions provided by
the State, namely guaranteed markets, reasonable prices, and with the maintenance
and improvement of technical efficiency, the margin between food prices in this
country and food prices overseas will not be large. And may I say that efficiency
has been stepped up enormously during the war. Thousands of farmers have
had the benefit of first-class advice right in the middle of their fields and they
have been very willing students. Instead of fearing a good harvest, they have
had good reason to aim at maximum production, and technical knowledge hitherto
ignored has been used to the full extent. Moreover, they have learned the value
of machinery. Indeed, we are now the most highly mechanized agriculture in
Europe. But with all our machinery and knowledge, we can never hope to be
self-sufficient. There will always be a very large market here for certain kinds of
imported food, both human and animal.
It must be remembered that agriculture was not only depressed in Great
Britain between the wars, it was depressed all over the world and we cannot
expect to continue buying our food supply at the expense of impoverished pro-
ducers abroad. Neither is it good business to see food producers in all coun-
tries living on the barest margins and unable to purchase the multiplicity of in-
dustrial goods which shout aloud for customers. There is definitely no clear
line of demarcation between agriculture and industry. They are as essential to
each other as the Army, Navy and Air Force in wartime. One can make out a'
reasonably good case for the maintenance of a healthy well-balanced agriculture
on defense grounds. But I think a much better case can be made on broad
general economic grounds.
Hundreds of thousands of farmers with a very small income are poor cus-
tomers to general industry; 600,000 workers on thirty-six or thirty-seven shillings
a week can only buy the barest necessities. What contribution can they render
to full employment? Or, for that matter, what can be said for any system that
prevents our farmers from buying machinery, equipment and other requirements?
And who can justify a wage for the workers so low as to prevent them from
paying more than three or four shillings a week rent for a broken-down hovel?
British Speeches of the Day
I submit, therefore, that while it would be national folly to forget 1917 and
193.9 on purely social and economic grounds, it would be a disaster to forget
all that we have learned about the productive capacity of our land during the war.
There is also another aspect to this question of whether it will be desirable
or possible for us to import food of all sorts and any sort as freely as we did
before. We have largely liquidated our overseas investments in fighting this war.
There is no need for me to stress that because the facts are so well known. As
you know, we have got to increase our exports far above their pre-war level to
maintain our standard of living. Now I know that we have to import in order
to export and that a reduction in imports will not necessarily benefit our foreign
exchange position the same as an expansion of exports. It would do no good,
indeed, it would do harm to reduce imports of raw materials on which our manu-
facturing export industries are based. But if we import less food than before
the war, and make up the loss in production from our own soil, that will be a
net gain to our foreign exchange position. We may indeed be driven to do this
in any case because countries overseas are developing their manufacturing industries
and may not be content in future to send us food in exchange for our manu-
factured goods on the same scale as before.
I want to suggest to you, therefore, that all this points to the conclusion that
there is no real or deep conflict of interests between agriculture and shipping. We
have got to increase our exports, which will need more shipping; and there is
nothing in my case for agriculture against that. On the other hand, I hope I
have given you some solid reasons for supporting the maintenance of a prosperous
agricultural industry in this country.
The reasons I have given you have been mainly economic. But there are
others too, which I may briefly mention. We have learned a good deal during
this war about the feeding of the people and about nutritional requirements. One
result of that will be an increased demand for certain kinds of foods after the
war; and it will be the same in other countries. We know that there will be a
world shortage of food for some years; and it may well be that our only sure
means of satisfying the demand in our own country will be to continue to produce
the maximum possible in our own fields; although, of course, that does not mean
the continuation of the production of exactly the same kinds of foods as now. We
shall need to turn over more to nutritionally desirable foods, livestock products,
milk, meat and eggs, and so on.
Another thing-agriculture is not only a great industry but also a way of life.
The soil is-a natural asset and it seems to me to be the greatest folly not to make
the best possible use of it. I am convinced, too, that a country that does not sus-
tain a strong, healthy, rural population is a country that will very soon be on the
down grade as a nation. What does all this amount to for the future? It means
that if farmers are to put their industry into a condition to take advantage of all
the opportunities of the future, they will need water supplies for their farms,
new buildings and, not least, new houses and cottages. A prosperous agriculture
would create a large market for many industrial goods and services; there is a
market for agricultural machinery alone to the value of some 25 million a year.
The farmers must feel reasonably sure of their future; and if they are to have
that confidence to plan ahead, they must be assured of a stable market at reason-
able prices for all the food the country wishes them to produce. Given that,
British agriculture can be as much an asset in peace as in war, and industry gener-
ally will benefit enormously from a large market on their doorstep.
The Lessons of Hitler
RT. HON. HERBERT MORRISON
Home Secretary and Minister of Home Security
To the Manchester Council of Labour, February 4, 1945
Hitler has just completed twelve years of absolute power over the German
people. He is just beginning his thirteenth year: it should be his unlucky one.
It has been a long twelve years to us, but it will look a short period to the his-
torian of the future.
This man has been a curse to his own country, to Europe, and to the world.
Hitler's role in world history has been to demonstrate the terrible but logical
result of the wrong kind of controls-the regimenting of the masses to serve a
powerful clique. In other countries besides Germany, there have been wishful
thinkers who have played with the idea that these Fascist controls would serve
their interests, keep their workers servile. Now they have had a lesson in what
really happens. Hitler, as soon as he had destroyed his enemies on the Left,
turned on his friends of the capitalist Right, induding those who had financed
his campaign for power. And those not destroyed by Hitler now go down with
him to ruin. There are morals that the world, if it is wise enough, can draw
from his rise and fall.
How He Did It
Hitler was able to conquer and enslave his own country for three reasons.
The first was the economic confusion and chaos in Germany's affairs during the
Twenties and the Thirties. The consequences of the last war, the inflation and
the world-wide slump, hit Germany in some respects harder than other countries,
though other countries shared in many of the misfortunes. We did.
Cartels and big business monopolies dominated the German economy to a
dangerous extent, and the more the general social and economic fabric disin-
tegrated, the more the solid dictatorial power of these irresponsible bodies stood
out by contrast. Germany had gone through a so-called revolution, which had
however left the representatives of the earlier order-the militarist-aristocratic
oligarchy-still sitting in many of the seats of great power, in the Army, in much
of the governmental machine, and in the Law Courts. There is a good deal to
be said against revolutions even when they are carried through to completion.
There is little to be said for a revolution which is half-baked.
As a result-and this was the second main reason for Hitler's rise to power-
German government was weak. Pushed about among these great irresponsible
forces of militarism, social oligarchy and business monopoly, it never showed those
qualities of leadership, drive and ordered, constructive decision which alone could
have saved the Republic and German democracy. Under a succession of coalition
governments, uneasy partnerships of incompatible groups, the Reichstag failed
to rise to its responsibilities, and as representative and spokesman of the nation
it showed neither coherence of mind nor firmness of will. A succession of elec-
tions and of makeshift governments so weakened the center of political power
that there grew up unchecked, and indeed virtually tolerated, a series of rival
private armies. Such a development was utterly inconsistent with the ends and
principles of parliamentary democracy. These irresponsible military machines
were not only the product of weakness in the central government, but immeasur-
ably increased that weakness. And the. small regular Army contained elements
which were co-operating with one or other of the private armies against the
British Speeches of the Day
State-particularly that of the Nazis. So a combination of military, political and
economic reasons steadily undermined democracy in Germany, and its disintegration
was quickened by the growing influence of two great anti-democratic parties both
seeking dictatorial powers. One was on the Right, one on the Left; and the
The third reason for Hitler's successes underlay both the other two, and was
in fact the most important and fundamental of the three. It was the character
of the German people. If irresponsible private power in various forms could
flourish, if German democracy was the poor growth that it was, the reason lay
in the soil in which its roots were struck. The German people were unpromising
raw material for the successful establishment of a democratic society over a
shortish period. In spite of their efficiency in many fields they had a very poor
and immature sense of political responsibility. Instead of thinking it a shame
that their Republic should go downhill as it did, they seemed to accept it without
any such moral uprising as would have checked the decline. The German people
showed themselves not merely ready to be ordered about but positively liking it.
This, incidentally, is the measure of the continuing problem, which Germany
presents to the civilized world today.
The Inevitable Drift
These, then, were the circumstances and the factors which led to Hitler's
power. How did Europe face the growing menace to peace and stability which
he represented? It would have been so easy to stop this evil man. The great
bulk of people in all nations wanted peace. Thinking of nations as distinct from
governments, there were not more than two, Germany and Japan, which were
not fundamentally peaceful in outlook. If that overwhelming majority had had
not merely the wish for peace but the will to achieve it, nothing would have
been easier than for them to combine. By economic and military force they could
have stopped Hitler before his power grew to a point that encouraged him and
his gangsters in reasonable hopes of gaining success from an aggressive world war.
But it wasn't done: he wasn't stopped. Nations and their governments were
too much afraid of the so-called risks inherent in the use of economic or military
force for the protection of peace-risks so much less than those which in fact
they incurred by the lack of it. They stood by and watched the inevitable drift to
a major war, watching, talking and waiting, like Mr. Micawber, for something
to turn up. And it did: the second World War.
Meanwhile Hitler subjected country after country, often by bloodless vic-
tories. During his years of power, and indeed to some extent before them, he
exploited two techniques comparatively new in modern history. One technique
was used in gaining and holding power at home, the filthy technique of anti-
Semitism, a base and brutal device adopted quite deliberately by Hitler and the
groups behind him to pervert and poison the mind of the German people and
to give outlet to primitive lusts and cruelties which in civilized States are banned
or eradicated. The other technique was used to help him in his external aggres-
sions-the Fifth Column technique, the method of deliberately seducing groups
of citizens in other countries from their allegiance to their own nation and using
them to hollow out the fabric of their own State and prepare it for easy conquest
by the Nazis. This technique was used with powerful effect, not only before the
war in Austria and Czechoslovakia, but during the war in Holland, Belgium,
and Norway, where the original Quisling in person was produced.
There is one thing in which we British can take pride. The Fifth Column
technique had no success with us. It was not for want of effort on Hitler's part:
but what with a resolute people on the one hand and a determined Government
The Lessons of Hitler
on the other, it never had the shadow of success. When we were in our gravest
peril in 1940 the Government dealt vigorously with Fascist organizations here
and detained their key members; so also with people of hostile origin and asso-
ciations. But at the most there were never more than about 1,800 of all sorts
detained under Regulatioq 18B. In spite of efforts to attack and weaken the ad-
ministration of this Regulation, first because it put these people in and then
because it let them out in circumstances which did not involve danger, the policy
stood firm. The historian will, I believe, record that the administration of these
exceptional powers in Britain was carried out with firmness and determination,
yet in an underlying spirit of genuine liberalism. The Government and the Home
Office can fairly claim that no actual or potential Fifth Columnist was at any
time during the war given a chance to do material damage to the war effort.
Now Hitler faces Year Thirteen. He marked the occasion with a speech.
It was the speech of a desperate man on the verge of defeat; it was an urgent
effort to keep his people together in face of the ruin that hangs over them-and
him. Hitler is doomed.
The extraordinary Soviet victories, remarkable even to eyes which have be-
come accustomed to the spectacle of Russian military prowess and organizing
skill, are carrying the Red Armies closer and closer to Berlin. One of Germany's
two great centers of war industry and basic supply has been torn from her grasp,
the other having been blasted by the bombing of the Anglo-American Air Forces.
Mile by mile her territory is being eaten up. In the West, though the turn of
the Anglo-American Allies to play their latest and again dramatic share in the
struggle has not yet come, we can look back not many months to a victory which
in all the circumstances must rank as one of the most creditable and glorious
of the whole war-the invasion and liberation of France, Belgium, Luxembourg,
and Southern Holland. A large part of Italy is under Allied control. The Ger-
mans have been driven from South Eastern Europe. Around Germany is the
overwhelming power of the Allied Armies. Above her is an absolute air supremacy
in the hands of her enemies. Off her coasts and on the seas of the world is the
unchallenged power of the British Commonwealth and the United States of
America. Victory may or may not yet be within our grasp; it is certainly well
After victory one of the first tasks must be, in a spirit of stern and relentless
justice, to liquidate the brutes who have plunged the world into a misery and
horror unknown since the Dark Ages, if indeed it was matched even then. The
conscience of mankind will not suffer the gang of criminals who have ruled
Germany to cumber the ground and darken the sun.
Clear Purpose and Firm Will
And now-how to prevent World War Three-a disgrace which will surely
occur if mankind is not active and lively in its prevention. What morals can we
draw for the future from the circumstances which attended the Nazis' rise to
power? There are, I would suggest, three.
The weak irresolution among the nations which gave Hitler his chance must
never again give such a chance to such another. We must face the urgent need
of making agreements among the nations for a system of world security and for
bringing to bear economic and military power for the preservation and the pro-
tection of peace. Nor is this a task for governments alone. An international
organization can only do its job if it has behind it an alert, lively, courageous
public opinion in deadly earnest about the task. The men and women in the
British Speeches of the Day
international assemblies will reflect the mood of peoples. It is for the peoples
to keep their purpose clear and their will firm.
The second lesson is for the democratic societies in particular. Both nationally
and internationally we must avoid the error of thinking of democracy as a mere
external system of political organization. A democratic society is neither an unled
mob nor a select body of prominent politicians. A democratic representative system
is not a mere calculating device for assessing and recording opinion. Democracy
is an organism, capable of life and growth, or of decline anddecay. The blood
in its veins and the energy in its muscles must be supplied by an informed, in-
telligent, thinking, active electorate. That electorate must be well organized in
courageous, public-spirited purpose, under the leaderships of political parties
which are ready to lead and ready to be called to public account for their policies
and their actions. Governments themselves must be 'no mere expression of the
interests of sectional groups, but public-spirited bodies, tolerant and adaptable in
spirit, firm and clear in purpose, and free from the corrupting effect of jobbery
in any form.
These governments must be ready on the one hand to maintain civil liberties
and the freedom of the press, but on the other hand to deal firmly and in a
realistic spirit with really dangerous subversive plotters, high or low.
The third lesson, and in some ways it may be the hardest as it is in some
ways the most important, is the persistent inter-relationship between politics and
economics in the national and international sphere. Ideal political systems in
nations or in the world are of little good if, side by side with them the process of
getting a living goes to pieces and economic chaos takes increasing hold. Economic
failure means political decay and gives to determined and unscrupulous minorities
a chance which they will not fail to seize. The making of a political world peace
must take account of and provide means for the achievement of the maximum
degree of economic well-being. Man cannot live by bread alone, but if man's
.daily bread is threatened by insecurity, by disorganization, and by the unchecked
:selfishness of powerful groups, nothing can prevent the collapse of societies
guilty of such failure.
RT. HON. C. R. ATTLEE
Deputy Prime Minister
To the World Trade Union Conference, February 7, 1945
I esteem it a high privilege to be present at this great World Trade Union
Conference. In the absence of the Prime Minister I have the honor of bringing
you the greetings of His Majesty's Government in Great Britain and Northern
Ireland and to wish you in their name all success in your deliberations. We wel-
come this great Conference to London. You represent the great majority of the
organized working people of the free countries of the world. I am certain that
the results of this meeting will be of far-reaching importance to the world.
Labor Must Look Ahead
I greet you also as an old trade unionist and as the Leader of the British
Labour Party, a Party founded by Trade Unionists and based on the principle of
the closest and most intimate co-operation between the political and industrial sides
of the Labour Movement.
It is, I think, most fitting that your meeting should be held here in this great
and famous city. It was here in London that the first Trade Unions, the first
continuous associations of wage earners for maintaining and bettering the con-
ditions of their working lives, were established. It was here in London in the
early years of the war, when Hitler tried to force a quick decision by destroying
with bombs our citizens and their homes, that the common people won a great
victory against the forces of aggression by their heroism and endurance. You
can see the battle scars of that fight around you. You can see many ruined homes.
As you can see, the spirit of Londoners is unbroken. It can never be broken.
A Workers' War
It is a remarkable circumstance that the first great international meeting of
the war was concerned with the standard of living of the workers. It was that
of the International Labour Office in New York, in 1941, at which I had the
honor to represent our Government. A second conference has just concluded here
in London, and now today we have this great gathering of the world forces of
Trade Unionism. It emphasizes the fact that this is a people's war. It is a
workers' war, a war for freedom, a war to defeat the foulest tyranny that the
world has known for centuries. Trade Unionism has always been among the first
of the victims of Fascism, and organized labor in this country realizes that this
challenge to everything for which it stands must be taken up. ..
In the countries under Nazi rule there are millions of workers torn from
their homes and forced to work to arm their oppressors. We salute all those, who,
faithful to the cause of freedom, do their utmost to hinder and delay the arming
of our enemies. In the Resistance movements of the lands overrun by Hitler,
Trade Unionists everywhere have taken, and are taking, a leading share in the
fighting. Very many of them have fallen in the common cause.
In the free countries, organized labor had shown what free men and women
can do. They have cheerfully worked very long hours; they have gone to the
work that was most urgently needed; they have continued at work under con-
stant danger from bombing; they have taken their share of every kind of work,
from the humblest routine job to service in the highest places of Government.
In Britain the workers, besides their ordinary work, have filled the ranks of the
fire-fighters, the Civil Defense and the Home Guard. Here in this country we
have mobilized for war a greater proportion of our man and woman power than
in any other. The task of doing this in a peace-loving, old, industrialized coun-
try was tremendous. It could not have been done without the full co-operation of
the Trade Union Movement.
We were fortunate in this country to have a highly developed industrial or-
ganization with many wise and experienced leaders. We were fortunate in having
the great machinery of consultation built up through many years. Without them
the many adjustments occasioned by the changing needs of the war could not
have been made so smoothly and efficiently. In every phase of war activity the
assistance and advice of Trade Unionists has been sought, and never in vain.
We were fortunate indeed to have a great trade union leader, Mr. Ernest Bevin,
as Minister of Labour and member of the War Cabinet, to carry through the
great change-over from peace to war and to deal with the difficult problems of
allocation of manpower. The Government knows full well what it owes to Sir
British Speeches of the Day
Walter Citrine, and his fellow members of the Trades Union Congress and to
all the officials and the rank and file of the Trade Union Movement.
You will know that in the course of the war great advances in social and
industrial legislation have been, and are being, carried through. To cite only one
example, nearly eight million workers, men and women, have exchanged casual
earnings for a ftll week's wage. Workers and the wives of workers know well
what this means. Many of the changes made in wartime will, I believe, be carried
on into the post-war period. . .
The People's Part in the Future
Victory has yet to be won but victory is certain, and, while we must maintain
to the utmost our war effort, it is natural that our minds should turn to peace
and its problems.
In laying the foundation of a new and peaceful world, Governments must
play their parts, but so also must peoples. The United Nations are resolved to
prevent another world war. They are determined to establish firmly the rule of
law in the world, and to take measures to ensure that never again shall those
who love peace be at the mercy of those who delight in war. This determination
must be backed by the workers in all lands. Governments can do much to ensure
freedom from fear. They can do much to ensure freedom from want, but the
maintenance of complete freedom depends on the people themselves. We are
fighting for democracy. We do .not believe in everything being ordered by leaders
from above. We are fighting to destroy totalitarianism.
The Trade Union Movement has always represented a particular range of
human interests. It is within the State, but not a State organization. It co-operates
with Governments, but is not just an instrument of Governments. It is an in-
dependent organization in the body politic. It stands for democracy and liberty.
I believe that it is vitally important that this freedom should be preserved. It is
one of the crimes of the Fascists that they sought to bring every human activity
under the orders of the gang who had seized power, and to destroy all freedom
of thought and of expression.
It is now many years ago since Karl Marx gave the slogan: "Workers of the
world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains, you have a world to win."
It was never true in this country that the workers had nothing to lose. It has
become less true with the passing of years. If it had not, the Trade Union Move-
ment would have been a failure. Besides the rights of freedom of conscience and
freedom of speech, won long ago by our ancestors, the freedom to choose their
representatives and through them their Government has been won by the people.
The right of free association has been won. The worker has ceased to be counted
a mere instrument of production. He has gained rights. He has, through his
representatives, taken an increasing share in the control of industry. He has
built up great organizations. He has raised his standard of life. But there is
one country where this slogan is true. The German workers had their Trade
Union organizations, built up over many years, destroyed in a moment. They
lost their right as citizens. To them it is true to say today, "You have nothing
to lose but your chains." But the other part of the slogan is still true for us all.
We have a world to win. When the forces of oppression have been utterly
destroyed, there is a world to win, a world of peace and happiness, a world of
social justice, and to gain this world for all we must have unity; but let us remem-
Labor Must Look Ahead
ber that unity is not uniformity. Mankind cannot be made in a single pattern.
The workers in their various countries will retain their different characteristics, and
these will express themselves in their Trade Union Movements. . .
I said earlier that it was significant that the first international meeting of the
war was concerned with the conditions of the workers. It is no less significant
that in the Atlantic Charter, so widely adopted as the aim of the United Nations,
the desire is expressed to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations
in the economic field with the object of securing for all improved labor standards,
economic advancement and social security. The inclusion of these words is a tribute
to the influence upon world opinion of the Trade Union Movement. The satis-
faction of this desire can in my view only be achieved by Governments and Trade
Unions working in co-operation. Statesmen and economists today agree that the
maintenance of the purchasing power of the masses is essential if full employment
is to be secured. They are now persuaded that the immense powers of production
which scientific advance has afforded must be matched with increasing powers
of consumption. I am persuaded that economic co-operation for raising the
standards of the workers all over the world to keep pace with technical advance
is a necessary factor in securing peace.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize again one of the most important
aspects of international Trade Unionism. Without in any way belittling the
value of establishing international standards of wages, hours and conditions, I
think the supreme value is the creation and maintenance of close personal rela-
tionships between the workers in different countries. You may have the most
cordial relationships between Governments, you may have exceptional sentiments
as to the need for international co-operation, but they will have little effect unless
the men and women of the different countries know and like one another. A
lasting world peace depends on mutual tolerance and understanding. In this war
new and dose ties have tbeen created between those who have fought side by side in
the common cause. They must be maintained and strengthened, but other old
ties have been broken and must be reknit, among which are those that linked the
workers together in international organizations. In Europe, in particular, we have
to try to create a European spirit transcending nationalism. The way to this is
through contacts between people with similar interests; the scientist, the painter,
and the musician find it easy, on the basis of a common interest, to make friends
across frontiers. It is the same with the miner, the engineer, and the railwayman.
There was a time when in all the countries in Europe the small educated classes had
a common outlook, a common culture which resulted in a European consciousness.
In these days when power is passing from the few to the many, when the working
man is the inheritor of the achievements of the past in art, literature and science,
we need to create a new European consciousness, but this consciousness must extend
to the masses and not be the preserve of the small governing class. There was,
too, a general acceptance throughout Europe of moral values. We must restore
this acceptance, but we can and must go further. If Europe needs a unity of
spirit, so does the world. A sense of unity must trenscend not merely countries,
S British Speeches of the Day
RT. HON. OLIVER STANLEY
Secretary of State for the Colonies
House of Commons, February 7, 1945
My task of explaining the Bill is certainly an easy one and, at any rate, should
be a short one. It is necessary for me to refer to the old Act, and the particular
provisions of that Act to which this new Bill will apply. The Second Reading of
the Colonial Welfare and Development Act of 1940 was taken in this House
although not, of course, in this actual Chamber, on May 21, 1940, at a time when
the Germans were just about as far from St. Stephen's as the Russians now are
from Berlin. I was not present myself at that Debate. I was at that time trying
to re-learn, as a subaltern, those lessons of prompt obedience and proper humility
which, despite the persistent efforts of this House, Cabinet Ministers are apt to
forget. However I have recently had the opportunity of re-reading those Debates,
and anyone who reads them must be struck by the little effect which the gravity
of the situation outside had upon the deliberations of the house. The speeches one
reads had all their old eloquence, all their old confidence and, indeed, all their old
A Former Landmark
Certainly that Debate, which took place at such a grave moment in our history,
when hon. Members might have been excused for having their minds full of other
things, was a landmark in Colonial policy. It marked for the first time, a complete
departure from the old doctrine of self-sufficiency-the doctrine that, although it
must be wrong for this country to take money from the Colonies, equally, there
was no necessity for this country to give money to the Colonies; and that every
Colony must develop its own resources from its own resources. That was a doctrine
which led to growing inequality between the standards in the various Colonies for,
whereas a country which was already rich, by the use of those riches could further
develop its own resources, a colony which was poor had not the means to take the
only step which could in the future relieve that poverty. It is because of this Act
which, though perhaps small in its scope, was revolutionary in its effect, that the
name of my predecessor in office, my right hon. Friend the Member for Ross and
Cromarty (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald) will always have an honorable place in the
history of colonial administration.
Now hon. Members who are interested in this subject-and it is, I think, a
gratifying thing that the number of hon. Members who are interested in the subject
of the Colonial Empire is continually growing-will remember the main provisions
of the Act of 1940. The effect of it was to provide annually a sum of 5,000,000
for welfare and development and a sum of 500,000 for research annually over a
period of 10 years from 1941 to 1951. Of course, one of the difficulties of the
Bill was that that was an annual provision, and any of that 5,000,000 which was
not spent in one year could not be carried over to the next but had to be returned
to the Treasury-that bourne from which no traveler returns, at least as long as
he has anything in his pocket.
The Need to Spend More
The House was warned at the time by my predecessor that war conditions made
it unlikely that in the early stages of this 10-year period it would be possible to
spend the full amount granted by the Act. I think anyone who had had any close
Colonial Development and Welfare
touch with any of the Colonial territories in the last two years, must realize how
true was that warning. He warned the House of the difficulties of supply, the
difficulties of imported materials which, in many Colonies that have no mineral
resources of their own, are essential preliminaries to any constructional scheme
whatsoever. He warned them of the shortage of skilled personnel which would
be needed either to supervise capital development or to maintain long-term
planning, and in some Colonies he warned them of an actual shortage of labor
where the drains upon local manpower for military service or for essential pro-
duction left no margin for new work. Those warnings were perfectly justified.
In fact, in the early years of this period, the sums granted by Parliament were
largely unused. Only 1,000,000 was actually spent in the first three years, and
only just over 2,500,000 in the first four years of the life of this scheme. I think
it says much for the enthusiasm and the far-sightedness of hon. Members in this
House that, even despite the practical difficulties which will prevent the full ex-
penditure of the sum at the time, hon. Members from all sides during Colonial
Debates that we have had in recent years have been urging the necessity, for the
future, of an increase in the sum allotted under the 1940 Act.
The theoretical advantage of an increase of that kind which was urged in those
days has become today not a matter of theory but a practical necessity. Recently
the tempo of expenditure under the 1940 Act has been immensely increased. I
do not mean for one minute that those difficulties to which I have referred have
disappeared; in fact, with the continuance of the war they tend, as hon. Members
will realize, to increase; but the effect of three years persistent effort to overcome
difficulties, to bring forward and put into execution schemes, slowly at first but
increasing afterwards, are now beginning to have their result, and in the year
1944-5, the financial year just ending, the total expenditure-including a Supple-
mentary Estimate which I shall have to ask the House to pass-will be 3,000,000,
or more in this year than has been spent in the whole four years of the life of the
Act. In an Estimate which I shall shortly present to the House for next year, I
shall have to ask for within a few thousand pounds of the full sum permitted by
the 1940 Act. It is clear, therefore, that the increase which will be made by this
Act has become now not a matter of theory, but a matter of practical necessity....
With regard to the principal changes made by the Bill, the Second Reading of
which I am now proposing, the first, and to my mind the most important change is
that it abolishes this principle of annual accounting and the surrender to the Ex-
chequer of any sum which has not been spent in the particular year. That principle
has, of course, been disastrous in times of the shortages, to which I have referred,
when the money could not be spent, because it has meant-or would have meant,
if it had not been for this amending Act-that a great deal of that money which
this House intended to be spent for the benefit of the Colonies, would never have
been spent. It is not only disastrous in the particular circumstances of today, but it
would be a severe handicap, even in more normal times, when there would be no
difficulty in actually spending each year the money provided because this kind of
annual accounting-this permission to spend an equal sum in each of the 10 years
of a 10-year period-does not in fact coincide, as hon. Members know well, with
the facts of any long-term planning. You do not in any long-term plan, in fact,
spend an equal sum of money every year. You start slowly as the plan is
developing, you work up to a climax and then, in the latter years, you tend to come
down again to the original figure.
The great benefit, therefore, of this new method of granting a capital sum over
the whole 10 years, subject only to the limitation that no more than 17,500,000
British Speeches of the Day
may be spent in one year-a limitation introduced simply to prevent upsetting
the equilibrium of our Budget here by including in one particular year perhaps
half of the whole sum provided-is that it will enable us to spend the money
according to the dictates of a properly worked out and adhered to long-term plan.
The second, the main, change is that the sums made available under this Bill are
rather more than double the sums made available under the Act of 1940. It would
be rather more than double if comparing like with like, but owing to the abolition
of the annual period, and the greater ease with which we shall be able to spend
this money economically and efficiently, I think the increase really represents
in practical value a good deal more than double. Thirdly, there is the extension
of the term. The original term was from the end of March, 1941, to the end of
March, 1951. The term now will run from 1946 to 1956. So much for the
alterations made in Clause I.
Territories Related by Treaty
Let me refer for a short time to a small but interesting point with which I have
had to deal by' Clause 2. Hon. Members will recollect that one of the conditions
laid down in the original Act for the expenditure of these sums was that in the
Colony where the money was to be expended reasonable facilities should be pro-
vided for the establishment and the working of trade unions. That instruction
of the House has, of course, been loyally observed, but there is this one special
case of the Aden Protectorate where it is quite impossible to carry out those
instructions. In respect of that I have, therefore, to refer to the House again.
This has nothing to do with Aden Colony.
That is administered by His Majesty's Government, and certainly there exists
upon the Statute Book the standard type of trade union legislation. This Clause
refers not to the Colony but to the bulk of Protectorates which surround the Colony
and which, for many years, have been in treaty relations, and no more than treaty
relations, with His Majesty's Government. Among these small independent terri-
tories, all, of course, Arab and Mohammedan, there are one or two of considerable
size, Lahej in the west and Makalla in the East. In Makalla at any rate there is a
form of legislative machinery but in the great mass of them, some of them not
much more than a village, but all independent of each other, there is no legislative
machinery whatsoever. The only written law which exists is the Sharia--the old
Mohammedan law. There is no law-making machinery whatsoever, and His Maj-
esty's Government, linked with these territories merely by a treaty which deals with
their relationship with foreign Powers-or in some cases with the reception of
advice-have no power whatsoever to legislate for them.
Of course, there are no trade unions in those territories, nor are there ever
likely to be, because there is no industry in which trade unionists would be em-
ployed. Their principal industries, at the moment, are agriculture-sometimes-
and, I am sorry to say, a certain amount of internecine warfare almost always; and
neither of those particular branches lends itself easily to the formation of a trade
union. Therefore, this is very largely a theoretical point. It is certain that under
the provisions of the Act as they stand not only could we not now give them any
assistance but that the conditions of the Act are never likely to be fulfilled, and yet
His Majesty's Government do think that limited assistance ought to be given to
them. These territories have been going through a time of very great economic
hardship. From some of them there was a great deal of emigration before the war
to places such as Malaya or the Dutch East Indies, and the fall of those countries
has brought them a very big economic loss. All over the area there has been,
during the last year or two, a terrible drought, which fortunately has broken
within the last few months, and these territories, backward always, have lately been
Colonial Development and Welfare
in a state of great destitution. It is true that our link with them is small, that we
could, as we are not responsible for their administration, disclaim any responsibility
for their welfare, but I think that would be wrong. We ought to do what we can
without in any way interfering with their own administration, without in any way
sapping their own self-reliance, because in that terribly barren country that would
be a disaster. We ought to give them what help we can with such things as water
schemes, and also simple medical assistance, to enable them to make a start, at any
rate, in developing a better standard of life. It is for that reason that I propose this
change to the House because I believe that only so can we bring a certain much-
needed relief to people who today are suffering a great deal of hardship.
Is the Money Enough or Too Much?
Those, I think, are the only comments I need make upon the actual provisions
of the Bill, and I turn now to what I am sure will be the main argument about a
Bill the fundamental reception of which I take for granted. The main argument
I feel will be over the size of the sum of money which we make available, the
120,000,000 spread over this period of 10 years. The size of that sum may be
criticized from two angles, the one more likely today, the other perhaps more likely
in the future. The question which is more likely to be advanced today is, is it
enough? The second, a question which someone standing in this place may well
have to meet in future years, is, Is it too much? A time may come when hard-
pressed taxpayers and hard-pressed electors here may begin to question the sums
voted in this House even when they are of a magnitude which, in comparison with
the sums in which we deal today, is as small as 120,000,000. They may want to
have arguments advanced as to why that burden is placed upon them.
Let me deal first with the question whether this sum is enough. We must keep
two points in mind. First we have to consider the object of this fund. I want to
make it plain that this fund is not, is never intended to be and never could be the
sole and permanent support of all the social requirements of the whole of the
Colonial Empire. If it were on that basis, those calculations with which the hon.
Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Riley) sometimes favors us-with enthusiasm and,
I am sure, with accuracy, although I must say I have never checked them-when he
translates the sums voted for the Colonial Empire as a whole into the amounts
spent upon the male portion of the inhabitants of the upper portions of Nigeria,
would be quite a valid criticism. But, of course, on that basis one can make any
sum of money ridiculous. It that were the basis, and if the sum that Parliament is
asked to vote were meant by itself to sustain the whole of this social expenditure,
one could easily make it appear niggardly and insufficient. ...
Of course, that is not the object. In the long run the social standards of a
country must depend upon its own resources, must depend upon the skill and
energy of its own people, and the wise and full use which they make of their in-
ternal wealth. It is not right and it is not healthy to attempt to maintain permanent-
ly out of the skill and efforts of our people the social standards of the Colonial
territories. That, therefore, is not the object of this Bill. The object is to give the
territories the help that they want and must have if they are to start for themselves
the process of developing their own resources. It is not true to say that this sum
is meant as capital expenditure, because it is possible to spend some of it not only
on actual capital work but in contributions to the early maintenance of the works
erected, for it to be in the nature of a pump primer to enable people to start their
education and health services, to develop their communications and to deal with
their water power in the confident belief that when they have been enabled to
make that start it will lead to an increase of their own resources, and that out of
their resources they will then be able to maintain a decent social standard.
British Speeches of the Day
Taxation and Internal Loans
The second thing we have to remember is that the sum which the House is being
asked to vote today is not the only source upon which the Colony, or certainly many
Colonies, can draw for these purposes and is certainly not meant to replace those
other sources. It is not in substitution for them but intended to assist them. During
the course of the war many Colonies have built up considerable balances of their
own which in many cases have been lent to His Majesty's Government for the pur-
poses of the war, free of interest. That is a source which they can use and which
they must use for their own development. During the war the revenues of many
Colonies have increased and in nearly all the Colonies the taxation machinery has
been improved, with the result that a larger proportion of the resources are at the
command of government. In some of the Colonies, in addition to these possibili-
ties, there is a considerable possibility of the raising of internal loan capital for
national expenditure of this kind. All these alternative means have to be taken into
Private Capital From Outside
Finally, there is the question of private capital available both inside the terri-
tories and from outside. Frankly I welcome the provision of private capital to
develop the economy and particularly any secondary industries of these territories.
I believe it is only if we can get sufficient assistance from private capital that a full
measure of development will be possible, because the resources of both the Colonial
Governments and His Majesty's Government here will be fully allocated on what
I might call the national development side. So we shall welcome the introduction
of private capital. But to all those in this country or elsewhere who wish to, and
think of investing after the war in productive work in the Colonies I want to make
these few points.
In the first place, I do not believe-and it certainly will not be the intention
of the Administration to bring it about-that there will be an opening after the
war for the "get-rich-quick" type of private investors, people who are prepared
to face losses but, in return, expect staggering profits. But there will, I think, be
opportunity for a reasonable dividend, and for reasonable security. In the second
place, the private capitalist, if he invests in Colonial territories, has no right to, and
cannot expect, any privileged position. He has a right to, and will expect, and,
I hope, will get, a position of equity and fairness, but he has no right to ask for
more than that. Thirdly, he will have to come into the territory as a partner, and
not as a master. There can be no question again in the future of private enterprises
acquiring, as in the past they sometimes did in some corners of the Colonial Em-
pire, what was almost a dominant position, from which they attempted to threaten
the authority of the Government itself.
Private Capital From Inside
So much for the investment which we hope for from outside. I believe there
will be a growing opportunity for private investment, from capital inside the terri-
tories. It is obviously desirable that the people of the territories themselves should
be linked, through their capital contributions, with the industries of their own
country. They have, undoubtedly, growing resources at their command for such
purposes, but there are certain difficulties in the way at the moment of any
large-scale private investment. The first is that the ordinary capitalist in many of
the Colonial territories today expects a great deal too big a return on his available
capital, and is apt to find that the only productive branch of industry which will
give a return of that kind is the old-fashioned industry of money-lending. He will
have to go through a period of education, so that he is prepared to accept a small
Colonial Development and Welfare
return-and a less risk on what may be considered to be the more reputable forms
of industrial production. Another difficulty at the moment is that to a large extent
he is lacking in managerial experience and capacity and, therefore, that he is not
in a position at the moment to supply not only capital but direction of the new
businesses which are set up. I hope that both these difficulties will pass, but we have
to guard against the danger that while those difficulties exist, while local capital is
not coming forward in sufficient quantity, all the holes will be filled up, that all
industrial opportunities will be taken, and that when people become more invest-
ment-minded and more managerially fit they will find no place left for them.
I think an interesting possibility for us to consider is that of Colonial Develop-
ment Companies, perhaps run by the Colonial Governments, which will be able to
provide capital and managerial experience, which will be able to assist the local
investor and be able to enter into partnership with the investor from outside, not
with the idea of itself going into industrial businesses and running those industries
permanently, but with the idea of filling this gap, to give enterprise a start, and
gradually to be able to pass over to the private investor in the Colony, both the
capital burden and the managerial responsibility in the industries-the same sort of
thing which is to be done by those Corporations to which my right hon. Friend the
Chancellor of the Exchequer has recently been referring in this House.
The Taxpayer in the Mother Country
It is with those considerations, the alternative Governmental sources and the
resources of private capital in mind, that I have examined the sum which I shall
ask the House to vote today. Of course, it would have been very easy for me simply
to have doubled the number I first thought of, to have put up a proposition not for
120,000,000 but for 250,000,000 or 500,000,000, and thereby no doubt to have
got a good deal of kudos. But we have to think of the other side of the picture.
We have to think of the taxpayer of this country, and of the future of this country,
because neither 50,000,000 nor 100,000,000 would really be a very good bargain
for the Colonial Empire if it was accompanied by the bankruptcy of the Mother
Country. It is, therefore, the duty of anyone in my position not to ask for more
from the taxpayer of this country and from this House, than he considers really
necessary for the job which has to be done.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer met me on this point with very great fairness,
but he did need to be convinced that I thought that this sum was really needed,
and was required to do the job. Of course, it is very difficult to make an exact
calculation, especially for a period of 10 years, but it is a good deal easier to make
it now than it was for my predecessor to make it in 1940. During those five years
we have collected a great deal more data. The work of the Development Commis-
sioner in the West Indies, and certain long-term plans which are already beginning
to come forward from other Colonies, do give one, today, some idea of the require-
ments which will fall upon us, and I feel that in recommending this sum of
120,000,000 to the House I am recommending a sum which will be sufficient for
the purposes which the House has in mind, and which will not cast an unnecessary
or extravagant burden on the taxpayer of this country. It is always in the hands of.
this or a subsequent Parliament, if they feel that any necessary changes can be made
with the progress of the years, to decide that not only do the Colonies need a larger
sum but that Great Britain can afford it.
False Beliefs About Britain
Perhaps I may say one word on the other side, as to the need for this sum and
why we should be granting it all. There are no direct benefits which the taxpayer
of this country gets from the Colonial Empire. There is no contribution made by
British Speeches of the Day
the Colonial Governments to the Treasury here, no relief from Colonial sources of
the burdens of the home taxpayer, although it is the popular belief, as I discovered
throughout the United States, that we draw, annually, enormous sums from the
Colonies, and that it is because of that that our direct taxation today stands at such
a low level. Nor, again, as against the popular belief there, is there any closed door
in the Colonial markets. You would think to hear some people talk about Im-
perial preference that the result of it had been to bang, bolt and bar the door of
Colonial markets to anything except goods from Great Britain, and it causes con-
siderable surprise when they are told that in the last year before the war only 24
per cent of the imports into Colonial territories came from Great Britain, and that
76 per cent came from the rest of the world, and that of Colonial produce only 35
per cent came to this country while the rest of the world took 65 per cent. The
other line which is always taken is about the enormous profits made today by
private industry out of Colonial territories. It is true that there have been some
good bargains, that some big profits have been made, and we hear about them.
They are written about in the newspapers, and hon. Members ask Questions about
them. But there have been bad bargains; a great deal of money has been lost, a
great deal of capital has never been heard of again at all. I know that 1,000,000
was spent on a railway in Bermuda, from which not one penny of dividend has
ever been paid, and that practically all the capital has already been lost. ...
It is only fair to tell the House that Lord Hailey, a great expert on these mat-
ters, made a survey showing the returns which investors in this country had got
from their investments in the Colonies during the past 50 years, and came to the
conclusion that they are getting about as much today as if, instead of having in-
vested in various enterprises in the Colonies, they had invested in gilt-edged securi-
ties in this country. It is, therefore, difficult to say that that represents a great
degree of exploitation.
A Desire to Help
If people say, "Why spend money at all, if you have no direct gain?" I would
say that I believe that we in this country have a feeling of responsibility. These Col-
onies have been linked with us, many over a long period, some for a shorter period,
but all through a period of great stress and strain, during which they have stood
loyally by us. When I was in America, I had described to me by many people cer-
tain of the feelings of the people of the United States, among them what one per-
son described as their particular virtue, a burning desire to help the underprivileged.
That is a burning and, I am sure, sincere desire, but it seems to be a matter of
coincidence that all those grievances which show most clearly, and the remedies
pressed for most strongly, are always in the responsibility of somebody else. I do
not believe that that feeling of desire to help the unfortunate elsewhere is the
monopoly of America. I believe it is possessed by our people, too; I believe there
is a genuine desire among the people of this country to help, even at some sacrifice
to themselves, people with whom they have been so long associated to a better
standard of life.
Further, there is the point of the strategic importance of the Colonies. I do not
believe any of us would be here today in this Chamber, doing what we are doing,
if it had not been for the Colonial Empire. It is not only their contribution in
manpower and material resources. If we had not had the strategic position which
the Colonial Empire supplies, if we had not had our convoy assembling point at
Freetown or our Trans-African reinforcements routes for the Middle East, I do
not believe this country would have survived the period during which we had to
stand alone. I believe that just as in this war, so in peacetime, it is the amalgama-
tion of this country and the Colonial Empire which has been able to stand so firm.
Colonial Development and Welfare
I believe that in the future that amalgamation can really contribute power and sup-
port to a world organization, far greater in its utility than the contribution that
could be made by the United Kingdom alone, and 35 separate Colonial territories.
Finally, there is the question of economic advantage. I have told the House al-
ready of the position in the past. The whole House is committed to the doctrine
of trusteeship and beyond trusteeship, partnership. That does not permit any of us
to consider or to advocate that the economic setup of the Colonies should be
dictated, not by what is good for the Colonies, but what would be good for us.
The two things are not mutually exclusive. There is no reason why something
that is good for the Colonies, should not be good for us too, but surely we are
not going the absurd length of saying we will refuse to do things which are good
for the Colonies because they might also be of advantage to us. That was the line
taken by one of the West Indian papers of rather extreme views on a recent state-
ment that I made. It is a real reduction ad absurdum. In the Colonial Empire, we
have millions of people at present on a low standard of life. If we can make even
a comparatively small addition to their purchasing power there will be presented
vast new markets which will be of great advantage to them and from which we
now can, draw our advantage.
Keeping a Balance
I have dealt in the past with the objects on which the money is to be expended
and the machinery for planning. I do not want to go over it again today. There is
however one new point to which I wish to refer and that is the recent appointment
of Sir Frank Stockdale as Adviser on Development at the Colonial Office. Sir
Frank Stockdale, as Comptroller of Development in the West Indies, has done
invaluable work, but I felt that in the new circumstances, whatever the needs of
the West Indies, he has just that wisdom and experience that are exceptionally
needed over here. I have made it plain that there must be no question of detailed
planning done in this country. It is not the idea of the Administration of the Act,
to impose on the Colonies a new heaven prefabricated in Whitehall. In the first
place, you cannot do that kind of detailed planning efficiently in this country. We
cannot sit round a table here, and say if they are going to have 15 new schools in
Jamaica, what are the exact sites on which to put them. Apart from any question
of doing it efficiently, it is wrong to try to do it, because you have to allow the
maximum opportunity for the people of the territories themselves to be associated
with this planning, since it is their future that is being planned. It is their life
that is affected and therefore it is they who must have the greater say.
But there remain to us two different duties. One is the kind of mechanical
supervision; to go into the various plans, to see that contracts have been properly
drawn up, and that proper financial steps have been taken to get the right estimates,
and to see that where technical advice is required that advice is taken. That can
easily be done by an official committee. But there is a second point of supervision,
an all-over supervision which we must exercise. We have to see first that there is a
sound and proper division of the money that is available between the Colonies, that
because one Colony comes forward earlier or can put its demand with more force
or attraction, it is not getting, at the expense of the others, more than the share it
should be allowed. Even more important is to choose, in the plans put forward by
each Colony, between the various objects, to see that a proper balance is kept be-
tween the development and the welfare side, between the demands of health or
education, and between agriculture and industry. Finally there is the duty of seeing
that the experience that we get from developments in one Colony is available for
the use and the profit of planners in all the other Colonies. That kind of super-
vision which is essential for the wise expenditure of this sum has to be exercised
British Speeches of the Day
from this country, and it is to that that I am looking to Sir Frank Stockdale for
The Need For Trained Personnel
I do not pretend that even when this Bill is passed, everything can be done at
once. The conditions that have hampered us during the last four or five years are
still there-if anything they are worse. If anything, it is more difficult to get im-
ported materials from elsewhere now that the great source of supply in America is
so hard pressed. The continual wastage of five years has left the pool of technical
advice available even smaller than it was five years ago. . .
It is no good thinking that even when the war comes to an end some of these
conditions will disappear quickly. To my mind the most serious of all, because
it takes the longest to remedy, is the shortage of tried personnel, a shortage which I
am finding in every branch of administration and technical knowledge. It is not
possible, with the shortages which we experience, even to maintain the ordinary
standards of administration to which we have been accustomed, and to which we as-
pire, let alone to make those great improvements to which we look forward. I re-
member a year or two ago making a speech on the Estimates and devoting a great
deal of it to the question of higher education in the Colonies. Some of my hon.
Friends thought it was out of proportion. They thought that "first things should
come first," and that higher education was not among the first things. It was just
because of this appalling shortage which was coming then, that I laid insistence upon
higher education in the Colonies; because even when the war ends, it will not be
easy to find these people. The universities of this country are going to be over-
whelmed with applications to train people who will be needed here. It will not be
easy to find room for the enormous number of technically-trained people who will
be required in the Colonies to carry out the various schemes which we have in mind,
and for that reason the early setting up of a decent standard of higher education
in the Colonial territories is an absolute necessity for the proper development of
the territories themselves, and for the proper implementation of the sums which,
I hope, Parliament is now going to give.
[House of Commons Debates]
RT. HON. SIR JOHN ANDERSON
Chancellor of the Exchequer
House of Commons, February 13, 1945
I have carefully considered a report made to me by the University Grants
Committee on the probable financial needs of the universities in Great Britain
during the first decade after the war, and I have also had the advantage of hear-
ing the views of a deputation of representatives of the universities and university
colleges. It is dear that if the universities are to play the part which they should
in the reconstruction of our national life after the war, they will have to incur
expenditure on a very much higher scale than before the war. It is also dear
that if the future financial needs of the universities are to be met, a large share
of .this new expenditure will have to be met by the Exchequer.
Emphasis on Medical Studies
As regards recurrent expenditure, it is not easy to forecast with any accuracy
what will be 'the actual expenditure of the universities during the transitional
period between war and peace. Both the University Grants Committee and the
universities themselves have emphasized the importance of not sacrificing quality
to quantity, and it follows that in the immediate future the supply of adequately
qualified staff will be a limiting factor on development. The increased expendi-
ture to be incurred by the universities will not therefore be spread equally over
the ten years period of the Committee's review. It will be heavier during the
later than the earlier years of the decade, and the Government recognize that the
grant to universities during those later years will need to be further and substan-
tially increased above the level now proposed for the next two years. The Uni-
versity Grants Committee have recommended that the present annual vote for the
universities of 2,149,000 should be increased, for each of the next two financial
years, by the addition of 2,000,000 for general university purposes, 1,000,000
for developments in the medical schools arising out of the recommendations of
the Inter-Departmental Committee on Medical Schools and 500,000 for grants
for teaching hospitals as recommended by that Committee. The Government
have decided to accept the recommendations of the University Grants Committee
for the two years in question. The question of the grant for future years will
need to be reviewed at the end of the two years.
As regards expenditure for capital purposes, the needs of the universities have
in the past been met for the most part by private benefactions. I am advised by
the University Grants Committee and the universities that this source of support
cannot be expected to meet the needs of the universities for capital developments
in the years following the war, and that if the building programs of the univer-
sities are to be carried out, a large share of the cost will have to be met from the
Exchequer. The University Grants Committee have estimated that the universities
will need to expend about 18,750,000 calculated at pre-war prices on capital
developments during the decade and the Inter-Departmental Committee on Medical
Schools estimate that an additional sum of 10,000,000 (also at pre-war prices)
will be required for developments in the medical schools. The Government accept
these estimates as indications of the probable scale of necessary capital develop-
ments, and they recognize that a very substantial proportion of the money will
have to be provided from the Exchequer.
Restricted Spending in First Years
In view of the restrictions on building which are likely to operate during the
years immediately following the war, it seems unlikely that the universities will
have opportunities for any considerable capital expenditure during the next year
or two. In the circumstances it seems to me that it will be sufficient to include
in the Estimates for the coming year a token sum of 250,000 for distribution
by the University Grants Committee, without prejudice to what may be necessary
in later years.
Accordingly, I am including in the 1945 Estimates 5,900,000 as a grant in
aid of universities, colleges, medical schools, and teaching hospitals (Great Britain).
It should not be assumed, however, that this amount will need to be distributed
in grant within the financial year. This matter will be within the discretion of
the University Grants Committee who will review the position from time to time
in the light of developments and may elect to retain part of the provision in
the deposit account into which the grant in aid will, as usual, be paid. Any
amount so retained will not in any case be liable to surrender to the Exchequer
at the end of the year, but will remain available for distribution in the future.
[Mr. Kenneth Lindsay: Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, in spite
of the vital importance of the freedom of the universities, some pressure may be
necessary as there is likely to be a greatly increased demand for university training
British Speeches of the Day
immediately after the war; and that the promises made by the Minister of Labour
to ex-Service men cannot be implemented unless concrete plans are quickly pre-
pared, even for improvised accommodation, as Leeds and Manchester have already
done. Could my right hon. Friend ensure that if the 250,000 is not sufficient
a further sum will be available?]
I know, having been in personal touch with the vice-chancellors, that the
universities are giving serious consideration to the demands likely to be made
upon them. In the event of the 250,000 to which I have referred, and which is
really not much more than a token sum, proving insufficient, the possibility of its
being increased within the financial year will certainly not be ruled out.
[Mr. Salt: Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that the increased grant will enable
British universities to provide the greatly increased number of science and tech-
nology graduates, who are essential to ensure the efficiency and prosperity of the
country in the post-war world? Is he satisfied that his answer will give great
satisfaction to the members of the Parliamentary Scientific Committee?]
The development of scientific teaching has been very much in the minds of the
University Grants Committee in making their recommendations.
[House of Commons Debates]
RT. HON. RICHARD LAW
Minister of State
House of Commons, February 14, 1945
First of all, I will give the House as faithful a picture as I can of conditions
in those countries, according to the best information in the possession of the
Government. Then I will give some account of the procedures which have been
adopted for dealing with these conditions. And finally, if the House will bear
with me for so long, I will explain how we are seeking to solve the very formidable
problems with which we and our Allies are faced.
The House will understand that conditions vary very greatly not only as
between country and country but also as between different areas in the same coun-
try. A shattered bridge, for example, may isolate completely a district, and there
will be conditions of acute hardship in that district. Lack of transport creates
almost insoluble difficulties in particular regions: again there is inevitably very
great hardship. That does not mean, however, that there is a serious over-all
shortage of food, or that the problem would be solved, or even eased, merely
by pumping quantities of foodstuffs into ports which are already strained to
The Present Situation
France is producing as much foodstuffs as she did during the enemy occupa-
tion, and great quantities of food formerly taken by the German Army are now
available to the French people. The principal difficulty in France, therefore, is
one of distribution and, in the main, of transport.
In Belgium local production, together with SHAEF's imports, which are rapidly
being increased as the produce of last harvest becomes exhausted, would be suf-
ficient, in our view, with proper distribution, to attain the present target of 2,000
calories per head per day which has been set. But I cannot conceal from the
House that, in our view, the collection and distribution of foodstuffs in Belgium
have not been satisfactorily organized.
Relief to Liberated Countries
In the liberated areas of Holland our difficulties have inevitably been increased
by the fact that they are still the scene of active military operations, I am glad
to say that increased supplies are coming in, and that the situation is rapidly
improving. But I would be misleading the House if I did not point out that,
so far as Holland is concerned, the most formidable problem will arise only
when the areas at present in the occupation of the enemy have been liberated.
What UNRRA Is Supposed To Do
I have tried to give the House an objective picture of the conditions as they
exist today. Now let me turn to the procedures which have been developed to
deal with those conditions. First of all, let me say that there is a good deal of
misunderstanding about the role which UNRRA can play in these matters.
UNRRA has been criticized in a way which suggests that it has responsibilities
for supplying France, say, or Belgium which it has been unable to discharge.
That criticism is entirely unjust. By the terms of its constitution UNRRA cannot
intervene in any country unless it is asked to do so by the Government concerned.
Both the French Provisional Government and the Belgium Government have
preferred to take on this responsibility for themselves, in so far as it has not
been, of necessity, a military responsibility. That does not mean that other gov-
ernments-who are unable to finance the relief of their civil populations-will
not wish to hand over this responsibility to UNRRA, or that UNRRA will not
have work to do that will tax its capacity to the utmost.
I have seen it stated that this problem of the needs of liberated Europe has
come suddenly upon the Government with a shock of surprise. Nothing could
be further from the truth. It was in 1941 that His Majesty's Government took
the initiative in summoning a conference at St. James's Palace to consider these
very problems. And for two years past the Anglo-American authorities have
been working out concrete plans which have become increasingly effective. It
was the essence of these plans that there should be two periods-a military period,
when the areas liberated would still be in the immediate war zone, and a civilian
period when the fighting had ceased, or at least had passed out of the area con-
cerned. It was accepted-and I do not think that it can be disputed-that during
the first period the import of supplies for the civilian populations could only be
carrie4 out successfully by the military authorities.
What the Armies Can Do
Of course there are limits to what our armies can do. The first objective of an
army is to wage war. The energies of the Allied armies in the field of supplies
have been inevitably confined, therefore, to first-aid. Our armies have been con-
cerned with the importation of such essentials as food, medical supplies, soap,
clothing and fuel, and transport, agricultural supplies and first-aid repairs for
public utilities in so far as they could be made available. Even so far as food
was concerned, there had to be a limitation and the target was fixed, as I have
stated, at 2,000 calories per head per day from all sources. And it was decided
that internal distribution was to be the responsibility of the national Governments
and authorities concerned to the maximum extent possible. I should add that
all these military arrangements have been on a combined basis, regardless of
whether operations have been carried out by British, American or Canadian troops.
The Post-Military Period
The long-term task of rehabilitating the national economy, and of distributing
food in excess of the standard set for the military period, belongs, however, to the
second stage which I have described-to the civilian period. This is a problem
British Speeches of the Day
by no means confined to food supplies: it involves restarting the whole economic
life of the countries concerned. It is at this point that the national Governments
themselves must begin to take over. The French Provisional Government and the
Belgium Government have already formulated their import programs for the first
six months of this year, and the competent authorities of His Majesty's Govern->
ment and the United States Government have been instructed to facilitate pro-
curement against these programs so that supplies will be ready for shipment as
shipping can be made available. The Allied Governments have, of course, decided
for themselves in these programs what supplies are most essential. Preliminary
steps towards the compilation of a Netherlands Government import program
have already been taken, and a Committee representing SHAEF, the Royal Nether-
lands Government, His Majesty's Government and the United States Government
is already considering a national import program for the Netherlands.
The Shipping Problem
The civilian import programs of the French Provisional Government and the
Belgian Government were formulated by the turn of last year, but 1945 brought
with it a considerable shipping problem. I cannot describe that problem in
detail but in broad terms it became apparent that developments in the war situa-
tion had made it extremely difficult to provide shipping to meet this additional
demand. With the approval of my colleagues I accordingly visited Washington
and over a period of some weeks exchanged views with representatives of the
United States Government. I need hardly say that they appreciate as fully as
we do the vital importance which from every point of view attaches to this matter
of provisioning the liberated Allied countries in the wake of the battle. We
were able to allocate at once certain shipping during the first quarter of this year
for the carriage of supplies under the French and Belgian programs within the
limits of available port capacity and subject to overriding considerations of military
necessity. We also made an analysis of this very complex problem which should
prove of considerable value to the Governments concerned in regulating the future
allocation of our shipping resources.
What Is Being Done About Transport
I have already indicated that internal transport is one of the main problems
that we have to solve. Let me tell the House something of what is being done
in this field. Since D-Day 7,500 lorries have been sent to the SHAEF area, that
is, France, Belgium and liberated Holland, for civil purposes. The reconditioning
of ex-Army lorries is already under way. The present production is 100 a week
and is expected to rise to 350 a week by the end of March. The ultimate target
is 750 a week. We hope to provide more new lorries as well. We are concerting
with the French authorities measures to speed up locomotive repairs in France;
such assistance will take the form of supplies of raw materials, components,
machinery, etc. We have dispatched a representative to Paris to discuss wagon
repairs and, when his report is received, we shall be in a position to know what
materials, components and tools are needed to increase the rate of repairs. He
has already made an interim report which is under immediate examination. The
French are informing us of their needs for machine tools and hand tools, and
we hope to be able to meet the bulk of their requirements. We are making avail-
able reserves of material for railway and highway bridges, which were held here
against air-raid damage. SHAEF are making tugs available to the French so that
barges can be more extensively used. Many other similar forms of assistance are
contemplated or in hand and, while it would be idle to hold. out hopes that much
can be provided from production in this country, the total effect of this is by no
means negligible. I would add that we have already sent to the Continent several
Some British Post-War Problems
hundred locomotives for the use of SHAEF and are sending a further 200 in
the near future. This should relieve the strain on the French railways. It will
certainly increase the strain on our own which are already overloaded.
Problems Are Grave But Will Be Solved
There is also the question of restoring the local administrative systems for the
collection and distribution of available supplies. In all the countries so far
liberated, these systems have suffered severely, and this is in some cases the
main reason why the target standard has not been reached. While we are doing
our best to help, this is ultimately a matter for the Governments concerned and
I cannot too strongly emphasize the importance of keeping their administrative
machinery up to the mark and tackling this problem with the greatest energy.
If I may sum up, I would say this. The economic situation in liberated Europe
is certainly grave. Much remains to be done, and it will require the unremitting
efforts of the United Kingdom Ind United States Governments, as well as of the
Governments of Liberated Europe, to solve the problems which face us. We
have to remember, too, that the requirements of the liberated areas are in direct
competition with urgent military demands. Nevertheless, I am confident that the
problem will be solved. I am confident that our European Allies understand that
we and the United States Government are doing everything in our power, and that
they understand that our main objective, theirs as well as ours, must be to bring
the war in Europe to an end at the earliest possible moment.
[House of Commons Debates]
R. H. BRAND
Head of the United Kingdom Treasury Delegation
To the Bond Club of New York, February 20, 1945
I should like to say to start with that when I chose as the title of my speech,
"Some British Post-War Problems," I had in mind economic and financial and
not political problems, and I meant the problems of the United Kingdom alone
and not of any other part of the British Commonwealth.
I say that because the relationship financially, for instance, between the United
Kingdom and other parts of the British Commonwealth is not always clearly under-
stood. I remember, for instance, after the last war reading a book devoted to an ex-
amination of the resources of the United Kingdom in relation to the British war
debt. In this study the assets, national income, and so forth of Canada, Australia, and
other parts of the British Empire were added to those of the United Kingdom in
order to find the answer.
When, therefore, I speak of the resources or the debts of the United Kingdom,
I am speaking of the resources available to and the debts due from the 47 million
people who live in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and no one
I have heard it said on occasions when the United Kingdom's external indebted-
ness is in question: "Well anyhow you needn't bother about what you owe India
or other parts of the Commonwealth, because you are all one concern and you can
make them do what you like." Nothing, of course, could be more incorrect. We
British Speeches of the Day
can only pay a debt due, for example, to India, Australia, Canada, or any of the
Crown Colonies, by the same means as we pay a debt due to any foreign nation or
any other part of the world.
What I am considering, therefore, is the position of the United Kingdom
alone. I do not intend to give you many figures. But I want to draw in large out-
line a picture of our position as it has been affected by the war, and there may be
some advantage in painting with a broad brush. Let me begin by comparison
between the five largest belligerents in this war--the United States, Russia, the
United Kingdom, and Germany and Japan.
The United States and Russia are both continents by themselves. They have
immense resources, immense productive power of their own, and have been able
to rely almost entirely on those resources, though of course they have had also to se-
cure certain essential imports from other countries, and though Russia has also re-
ceived very large assistance in the way of munitions from you and also from us.
Germany is not a great continental power like the United States and Russia,
but it is a considerably larger land power than the United Kingdom, and what it
wanted from outside it has taken by force during the last four years from the vast
territories which it has occupied.
Japan has also followed Germany's example and lived on China and her rich
conquests in the South West Pacific. What Germany and Japan have taken by
force the United Kingdom has had to secure either by cash purchase (the cash
being secured from the sale of investments or out of its current resources), by
United States Lend-Lease, by Canadian Mutual Aid, or by arrangements with other
countries to accept our sterling obligations; that is, in effect, by borrowing.
It is very easy to understand how, with the smallness of our island and the
relatively very large population living on it, that we should necessarily end the war
with very large obligations to other countries. Of all the great raw materials, we have
in abundance only coal. We have fought for five and a half years a great war on
land and sea all over the world, and we set ourselves to produce and have produced
immense quantities of munitions as well.
Part Played by Mutual Aid
In normal times we cannot make our living out of our own country alone. We
had to import before the war annually nearly 1,000 millions (at pre-war prices) of
imports from abroad. And, therefore, we had to have very large exports.
During the first 18 months of the war, when France was at first fighting with us,
and then when we were alone, we tried to go on making our living and to export
to the utmost extent as well as to fight.
Towards the end of 1940, for instance, the British Government sent a mission to
all the South American countries, on which I and others went, to try to increase
our exports to that part of the world. But it was already obvious that difficulties
of shipping, difficulties of getting the raw materials or the labor in England for
exports, were too great. You may remember it was just about this time that my
dear friend, Lord Lothian, explained to the American public that our external
resources were becoming exhausted.
Then Lend-Lease came to our rescue, and what with Lend-Lease and later
Canadian Mutual Aid, and the fact that we were able to purchase imports from
many countries, not against exports, but against blocked sterling, we were relieved
from so extreme a necessity as to fight as we have done and keep up our exports
Some British Post-War Problems
as well. Particularly because of Lend-Lease we were able to divert many hundreds
of thousands of extra men into the services or munitions. In fact, as a nation we,
so to speak, "went off to the wars" and left our business to look after itself.
British Part in Financing the War
But the food, the raw materials, the ships, the munitions which we have thus
obtained from outside have not been the main cause of our great external indebted-
ness. That has been caused by our having had to finance the war, to put it briefly,
from Gibraltar eastwards to Burma-just as, apart from the European theater of
war, the war in the Pacific has been (apart from Chinese, Australian and New
Zealand help, and no countries in the world have done more within the limits of
their resources than they have) your burden, so our burden has been the Middle
East, India and Burma; though it should not be overlooked that India herself has
borne, relatively to her resources, a very great burden also, and though you have
liberally aided us with Lend-Lease munitions.
So far as we are concerned, however, it is the external expenditure in North
Africa, in Egypt, in Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Abyssinia, and in India and Burma that
accounts for a very large proportion of our external indebtedness. You may say
it has been the height of imprudence to outrun the constable so far in this part of
the world. But should we have stopped Rommel if we had not done so? Moreover
there would have been no Burma campaign, the position of India would have been
very different from what it is, and the Burma Road would never have been opened.
I believe, therefore, you will be satisfied that we were right in taking the course we
The total result of the war, so far as external finance is concerned, is thus as
follows: First, the United Kingdom spent in this country out of its own and the
sterling area's current earnings of dollars up to March 31, 1943, plus dollars
obtained from liquidating investments, about $6 billions.
The Universal Debtor
Since then we have continued to spend large sums out of our current earnings.
For instance, the United Kingdom plus sterling area expenditure in the United
States in 1944 is estimated at nearly $1.3 billions.
Secondly, we have spent in Canada all our earnings of dollars, and have found
additional Canadian dollars by selling back to Canada sterling investments amount-
ing to Canadian dollars 700 millions.
Thirdly, in addition to having had to liquidate other large amounts of foreign
investments (altogether including U. S. and Canadian investments we have sold
$4 billions), the United Kingdom has incurred liabilities to other countries which,
calculated in dollars, amount to about $12 billions, and of course we are still in-
curring liabilities, particularly in the Middle East and India.
I may add that we on our side have also done our best to assist our other Allies.
The Reciprocal Aid we have given to the United States up to the end of September,
1944, amounts to over 700 millions ($2.8 billions). In addition we have given
Mutual Aid to our Allies of about 490 millions ($1.96 billions). Since your
national income is from four to five times as big as ours, you would have to
multiply these figures four or five times to represent an equivalent strain on you.
Anyone who cares to make this simple calculation for himself will see that the
United Kingdom has also played its part in Mutual Aid.
The result is that almost every other country (leaving out of account North
America), whether it be Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, the South American coun-
British Speeches of the Day
tries, India, the Middle Eastern countries, the Dominions, or the Colonies, such as
East and West Africa, Ceylon and so on, will have improved its creditor position
and in every case we shall be the debtor.
Time Needed for Redemption
As, with the exception of certain neutrals, they are almost all United Nations,
even those who have not shared with us in the actual fighting will have the satis-
faction of feeling that the debts we shall owe them will have enabled us to help
to bring their cause to victory.
This indebtedness, which unlike a commercial debt, has left behind it no
productive asset, can clearly only be redeemed over a long period of time. You
are all quite well aware of the great difference between an internal and an external
debt. In the case of an internal debt, the real sacrifice has been made at once. If,
for instance, we build a locomotive in England, we have expended the labor and
material at once. We have made the sacrifice represented by the total effort required.
What remains is a debt within the community. It is all in the family.
If we borrow money abroad to buy a locomotive abroad, we must expend labor,
material and effort in future to repay our debt by exporting some material article
of equal value. The burden remains for the future. In other words it is out of
future exports only that we can repay our debts.
The help we have had from outside has enabled us completely to distort our
peacetime economy. The 47 million people in the United Kingdom have been
mobilized for war to a point beyond which it would be impossible to go, and
beyond perhaps what even Germany has been able to do. Out of 33 million men
between 14 and 65 and women between 14 and 59, 22 million are in the Services
or in industrial employment. This is far higher than anything achieved in the last
British Exports Reduced
This concentration of effort is directly due to the fact that we were able to rely
so greatly on outside assistance. We have abandoned, as I have already told you,
most of our export trade, and in 1943 our exports were only 29 per cent of what
they were in 1938. We have got to build our export business up again, and indeed
greatly increase it, and till we do so we shall not be able to make both ends meet.
Notwithstanding your huge war production, you have managed not only to keep
up and increase your civilian consumption, but to keep up also to a far larger extent
than in our case your pre-war commercial exports.
This is certainly an outstanding feat, but, mobilized as we are, it is far beyond
our capacity. Meanwhile, if the war stopped now, our exports would be only one-
third of what they were in 1938. It is generally estimated indeed that in order to
balance our external income and expenditure (excluding external debt service) we
shall have to raise our exports to 150 per cent in volume of the 1938 or five times
the present figure. This is because we have lost invisible exports in the way of
income from investments, shipping and so forth.
Our exports in 1938 and at 1938 prices and expressed in dollars amounted in
value to $1,880 millions, or if calculated in present prices, that is at say 180 per
cent of 1938 prices, to $3,384 millions. An increase of another 50 per cent in
volume would, in terms of money, bring the figure to about $5 billions. In 1944
they were over $1 billion.
It must be borne in mind however that this latter figure would in any event
be very rapidly increased after the end of the war. The world is starved of goods
Some British Post-War Problems
and if we were able quickly to. reconvert our war industry to produce them, we
could no doubt in a short time secure a very great increase in exports. Thus a
rapid reconversion of our export industries as soon as war conditions permit is of
the greatest importance to us.
You will see, therefore, that both our main external problems join together in
emphasizing our need for exports. We want them first in order to live; we want
them then to repay our indebtedness. We shall no doubt make every attempt,
notwithstanding our urgent need, to reduce our imports to whatever extent they
are not essential, since to pay our way and to be independent financially must be
our very first aim. But in the main, our imports represent essentials for life and
industry and it is questionable how far we can compress them.
The Basis of Credit
For an authoritative statement of how the British Government looks on these
questions I cannot do better than quote to you a few sentences from a speech made
by Sir John Anderson, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in October last.
"Finally," Sir John Anderson said at the end of his speech:
"I want to say a very brief word about our external financial position after
the war. We shall emerge with heavy overseas obligations, but at the same
time our credit throughout the world will stand very high. I hope I am not
being unorthodox in suggesting, at such a gathering, that the basis of national
credit is the character of the people, their courage, their determination and
skill, and above all their productive efficiency.
"I do not think that anyone need be apprehensive about our possession of
these real assets.
"Now that means that our financial indebtedness can be translated into phys-
ical terms of production. I tell you, and I speak under a sense of responsibility,
that I believe we can see our way through. We can meet our obligations in a
realistic way: that is by producing goods that other countries will want. The
process will take time, but it depends in the main, not upon skillful financial
adjustments, but upon the willingness of our own people to recognize that, as
they fought their way to freedom, so they can work their way to security and
progressive improvement in all their material conditions.
"It depends also upon. recognition by our creditors that they have a common
interest with us and must collaborate. They must be reasonable and not seek
to treat war debts on the footing of ordinary commercial obligations. Prac-
tically the whole of our external obligations incurred during the war are to our
Allies and associates in the war. We have incurred a debt to them-but have
they not also incurred some kind of a debt to us which they too can pay, by their
confidence in us which has stood a much sterner test and by their practical co-
operation with us?"
Increased Production Possible
To this authoritative statement by Sir John Anderson I should like to add some
general comments of my own. First of all I wish to stress that the significant and
fundamental characteristic of the present age is the greatly increased possibilities
of wealth production, which applies, or can be made to apply, to the whole world.
In the great industrial countries the production of wealth, it is estimated, in-
creases yearly by some 2 per cent or 3 per cent.
In other words, the production of a nation over ten years should be up by 20
per cent or 30 per cent. This is the vital factor which, notwithstanding the war,
British Speeches of the Day
should enable the standard of living to be gradually increased everywhere and
with it, of course, given reasonable conditions, international trade. This is the
first point to bear in mind.
In the second place, you should remember here that our exports, while a vital
element in our own problem, represent a very small proportion of our total national
production and income, something between 2 per cent and 3 per cent now, I think,
and normally about 10 per cent. With increased wealth production, we should have
no difficulty at least in producing sufficient exports of the kind needed by the world
and, I believe, at the right price and of the right quality.
In the third place, it is clear that, so far as the needs of our creditors are con-
cerned, we shall have a market. They will not have to pay their own currency for
them. They will use their sterling balances to buy them. But of course a debtor
who has not enough to eat and is out of work is not much of a debtor; we must
therefore export enough to buy our essential imports first, in addition to what we
can export to meet the demands of our creditors.
Basis for Increased Exports
Fourthly, we come down therefore to our ultimate problem, namely: how we
are to find a sale for what I may call our ordinary exports up to an amount 50 per
cent greater than in 1938?
The first essential is, of course, our own efficiency, so that we can compete in
quality and price with other nations. This is our own job. I have no doubt there
is much to be done, particularly with certain great industries, for example, coal min-
ing and cotton textiles. In the case of other great industries we are well able to com-
pete. When put to the test in the war we have not failed to show the necessary
efficiency and I have no doubt we shall succeed in future.
The second and final essential is that there should be a good foreign market,
indeed an expanding foreign market. We cannot by ourselves insure that such a
market will exist. It depends on the rest of the world and how things go. If it
were necessary to assume that international trade, namely the total trade of the
world, cannot be increased beyond, say, the 1938 standard; if, in other words, the
cake can get smaller perhaps, but can never get larger, then our task will un-
doubtedly be very difficult. For ex hypothesi, if in such circumstances we increase
our export trade by 50 per cent, all others together must decrease theirs by the same
But, as I have pointed out, there is absolutely no need for the size of the cake
to be limited. There are endless unsatisfied wants in the world and also a capacity
for increased production of wealth with which to satisfy them. Thus, under favor-
able conditions, total international trade ought greatly to increase. In that case
our exports would increase, and yours too and everybody else's.
To put it shortly, the more we export, the more we buy from you and from
others. Thus the more we export, the more you export. Exports are imports and
vice versa. It depends on the end from which you look. We all grow rich or poor
together, and foreign trade like internal trade is simply the mutually beneficial
exchange of goods and services.
Importance of Stability
Forgive me for these elementary remarks. We all know they are true, but we
often forget them in practice. If foreign trade does greatly increase, our own prob-
lem becomes comparatively easy, provided we can surmount our immediate post-
war difficulties. For together with some other nations, particularly in Europe, who
Some British Post-War Problems
face the same sort of difficulties, we ought, with a push from our friends, to be
able to float ourselves off on the rising tide.
Thus the answer is that we can be prosperous and thus surmount our difficul-
ties most easily if the rest of the world is prosperous and stable, and particularly
if your country is prosperous and stable-and I would emphasize the word "stable"
in both cases-and if then, through free and multilateral trade, we can greatly
increase the international exchange of goods.
But undoubtedly a terrible war like the present one is not the best prelude to
usher in a world of stability. There is above all the condition of Europe, the great-
est producing and trading area of the world outside your own country, with its
countries devastated and impoverished, and some of them altogether without any
means of their own quickly to restore their economies. And not only that, but
with hatreds and divisions greatly deepened by the war. For us to make a begin-
ning towards peace and stability requires some special measures of assistance to-
wards this part of the world.
But beyond that, we all know more or less what is needed to make things bet-
ter. Every businessman, for instance, knows that a flourishing and stable inter-
national trade depends more on political security and peace than on anything else,
and on confidence that there will be peace and that nations are settling down to-
gether. It will depend in the next place on financial and economic stability, par-
ticularly in currencies and exchanges.
My memory as a banker goes back to the years before 1914, and when I think
of those days I realize how very far we have traveled from those stable or ap-
parently stable and happy days. When I tell my children, or other young people,
that in those days there were no passports, except to Russia, they do not believe me.
There had been no war involving all Europe for 100 years. There was absolute
confidence in the great currencies of the world. Nobody thought anything could
happen to dollars, sterling, francs or Reichsmarks. I am quite sure that many of
the most distinguished bankers in London had not the faintest idea, in those days,
what the "transfer" problem meant.
We have got to get back to something, equivalent in terms of political and
monetary security "to those halcyon days. And, as you know, we are nowadays
all setting our sights much higher even than that. For in those days we were
certainly not without bad slumps and booms and unemployment. Now our
economists have encouraged all our Governments to undertake to solve all unem-
ployment, and to do away with slumps and booms. Let us hope that we shall be
successful in this difficult task as well.
International Co-operation Essential
But whether we are talking of political security, exchange stability, or avoid-
ance of booms and slumps, we must recognize that none of them can be reached
without international co-operation. Peace is international. Currency diseases com-
municate themselves from one country to another. Nothing is more international
than booms and slumps. The world is now so tightly woven together that inter-
national co-operation in these fields is absolutely necessary, and co-operation above
all between the United States and the British Commonwealth and the sterling
area. It seems to be absolutely natural, indeed inevitable, that our two great Com-
monwealths should co-operate in the closest degree, and beyond that should join
in supporting world-wide co-operation. But when it comes to the world, we have
to go cautiously. Impractical idealists who long for some simple and immediate
solution, for some sort of World Government, for something which decides every-
thing and which will force rather than persuade the independent States of the
world, are the most fatal guides.
British Speeches of the Day
We are only at the beginning here of a long and immensely difficult road.
Nevertheless we have to start upon it. There are risks in it, but they are nothing,
in my opinion, to the risks we all shall run if we each try to go our own way.
That is what*the hard-boiled realists, who think they are hard-headed too, but who
are certainly short-sighted, forget. It is for these reasons that we should welcome
the efforts made at the Dumbarton Oaks and Bretton Woods Conferences.
I had burned into my mind in the years after the last war the disasters which
then happened to Europe, largely because the problems were not understood by
the world's statesmen. I watched them from near at hand in the City of London.
They were in my opinion a direct prelude to this war. It will be an act of major
statesmanship to avoid them this time and of necessity the responsibility must
largely devolve on your great country. A discerning friend of mine who knows
my country well said to me the other day that he included among the devastated
countries the City of London, and nothing in his view was more important to
stability and international trade than to enable it once again efficiently to perform
its world-wide functions. You will certainly not expect me to dissent from this
view, and I believe it will find sympathy and support in such an audience as this.
47 Million Buyers
In addition to helping those devastated countries which, through no fault of their
own, since they were not aggressors, are not in a position, whatever their efforts,
to restore themselves without help, another great responsibility-more important
than anything else in view of your immense economic power-will be yours, and
that is to maintain a high degree of prosperity and stability in this country. We
on our side have the responsibility of assuring as far as we can prosperity in our
country and maintaining and strengthening the sterling area as a very important
element of stability in the world.
If all this can be done, there would be good hope and that we might in a
reasonable measure of time achieve success in raising international trade to a much
higher level and that in that case the problems of my country and of others who
have suffered will be solved in the best manner possible. But no one can yet say
whether all this will be done or whether the world will, in fact, find the political
and economic security that is necessary for prosperity. If it does go astray, and if
there is less security and less progress in every direction, then our task will be a
more difficult one.
What is certain is that whatever Government may be in power, the British
Parliament will insist that no stone shall be left unturned to maintain the standard
of living and the employment of the people, and we might then be forced to carve
out such prosperity as we could achieve in a more limited fashion.
Personally I draw confidence from a very simple thought which I expressed a
good many months ago, when I was speaking to the American Bankers' Associa-
tion. There are in the United Kingdom 47 million willing buyers of the primary
products and the raw materials which millions of sellers in other countries will
want to sell. It cannot be that we should find it impossible either directly or in-
directly to supply what they also want and so to complete a mutually beneficial ex-
change, and moreover without injury to the world at large. But it remains that the
best hope of the world is in a common and co-operative policy to be pursued at
least by the United States and the British Commonwealth and the sterling area by
means of which the difficulties of each country may be solved through the pros-
perity of all.
Thoughts on the Crimea Conference
THE EARL OF HALIFAX
British Ambassador to the United States
At the City Auditorium, Jackson, Mississippi, February 26, 1945
I often try to imagine what must now be the feeling of the German or Japanese
General Staff, and congratulate myself that I am not in their position. The
Japanese Admirals and Generals must find it quite hard to make up any report
that will be very cheering to Hirohito. They seemed to win so many and such
easy triumphs in the first early days, but then the tide turned, and one forward
base after another went. General MacArthur is back, as he promised, in the
Philippines and Admiral Mountbatten is wresting Burma from their grasp. And
now the hot breath of war is scorching the mainland of the Japanese Island Empire
and shadows of coming events grow darker.
For this is all happening while the United States and the British common-
wealth are still busy fighting another war in Europe. It can't look good to the
Japanese, as they think of the time when, without the distraction of the war
upon Nazi Germany, we shall be able to turn our combined Forces on to them.
And what about the Germans? For the best part of 100 years, they have
found war a highly profitable national export industry; profitable, that is to say,
when pursued in someone else's country. Now at long last Germany is getting
substantial imports of the same sort, and is learning every day and night what
For two or three years they may well have thought that mastery of the world
was within their grasp.
It looked very much as if it was, and we can see now how slender was the
thread by which civilization hung for many months. But that time, thank God,
has passed; and after more than five years of war the Germans see themselves
overtaken and outmatched in numbers and equipment, fighting on two fronts,
in just the situation which their General Staff has repeatedly told them they must
at all costs avoid.
Allied Schism Their Last Hope
One hope they may have had: that somehow, in the flush of success, the Allies
would have fallen apart; that as victory came in sight, you and we, or you and
Russia, or Russia and Britain would have had serious differences about what was
to happen next; and that out of those differences Germany might be able to
escape from the worst consequences of defeat.
If that was their hope-and I think of no other they can have had in their
extremity-the conference in the Crimea must have destroyed it. They were
no doubt discouraged when they heard that such a meeting was being held at all;
but their discouragement must have been tenfold increased when they learned
that on all the great issues of the hour, the leaders of the United States, Russia
and Britain were in complete accord.
They may have hoped we should differ over the treatment of conquered Ger-
many. If so, they have been disappointed. There was agreement to divide
Germany into separate zones of occupation, and to set up a central control com-
mission of the three great Powers, with which France, too, if she so desires,
will be associated.
One thing the Conference made plain beyond any possibility of misunder-
standing. After all the efforts and sacrifices of these years we are not prepared,
British Speeches of the Day
so far as human wisdom can prevent it, to permit the survival of the evils which
have brought so much misery upon the world. Therefore, we are inflexibly re-
solved to disarm and disband the Armed Forces of Germany, to break up the
German General Staff, to eliminate or control all German industry that might
be put to the purpose of another war, and to tear up Nazism and militarism by
Or the Germans may have believed we should have fallen out over Poland.
If so, here was another disappointment. Many, both here and in Britain, have
been gravely anxious for Poland's future. It would indeed be strange if in my
country at any rate, which came into the war over Germany's attack on Poland,
there was not a strong determination to do everything possible to open a happier
chapter in Poland's long and chequered history. No country has fought more
gallantly. No people has suffered more terribly at the hands of the enemy, or
maintained a more stubborn resistance against the forces of occupation. None
has a clearer title to live among the nations.
Yet we have recognized that there were other elements in the problem of
which we could not lose sight. The first is that if we want to see a strong,
united and independent Poland, we were certainly not likely to see that with
two rival Polish governments, one in London and one at Lublin, each issuing
orders to their people. For this reason the Crimean Conference agreed to work
for a new Government of National Unity, established in Poland but reorganized
on a wider basis, and including democratic leaders from Poland itself and from
among the Poles abroad.
We must, too, always acknowledge that Russia has a special interest in this
question, more direct in some ways than either yours or ours. Three times in
thirty years her western frontier has been the gateway through which an enemy
has broken in. Three times she has suffered cruel losses at the hands of the
invader. To her therefore the western frontier, and where the line is drawn,
is a vital national interest. Unless she is safe there, she cannot be safe at all.
The last consideration is, that, whatever the final settlement may be, Poland,
situated as she is on the map of Europe, if she is to have an independent national
life, must be on friendly terms with her greatest neighbor. Without that friend-
ship there will be no assured future for her; and unless Russia can feel reasonably
secure, there will be little chance of friendship.
Or the Germans may have hoped that the Conference would break up over
the question of a future International Order. Dumbarton Oaks made a good
beginning. It laid the foundations. It gave an outline of the future structure.
But as to the final plan, there was still some difference of opinion among the
architects on one or two outstanding issues. Those differences we may hope have
now been largely resolved; and I have not the slightest doubt that when the rep-
resentatives of the United Nations meet at San Francisco in April, a building of
peace, which shall be proof against wind and weather, will begin to rise above
As this work goes forward, let none of us forget how much we owe to the
persistence, imagination, and courage of a great American of the South, Mr.
The achievement of this full project, when realized, will be the crown of
his long labors in the State Department; and if, like Moses, he does not himself
Thoughts on the Crimea Conference
lead the entry into the Promised Land of his desires, at least he may watch the
armies marching in under the brilliant and resourceful leadership of his lieutenant!
What is good news for us is bad news for the Nazis; and we may well ask
what they think they fight for now. For world domination? That dream van-
ished long ago in the snows of Russia and the sands of North Africa. For
territory? Their armies have been driven back to their own soil. For economic
power? With every day that passes our bombers bring new destruction to their
industrial plants. For survival? But we told them in the Crimea, as we have
told them before, that we do not seek their destruction, and that the German
people will only make the cost of their defeat the more heavy to themselves by
prolonging a useless resistance.
Yet it is possible that, in spite of the message which has come to them from
the Crimea, they may still retain a lingering hope of driving a wedge between
the peoples that oppose them, while the idea of National Socialism may be kept
on ice against a better day. They know that in an association like ours disagree-
ment is always possible. Napoleon once said, "Give me Allies to fight against."
By long practice he had learned the art of setting one enemy against another.
He knew how often an alliance had lost when it should have won; or again,
when it had won, had thrown away the fruits of victory.
The Conference in the Crimea gave promise that this time that is not going
to happen. But the danger is still there. We know how easy it is for people
to make trouble, even between two nations like ours, which have so much to
unite and so little to divide us. Not very long ago a small storm sprang up quite
suddenly on both sides of the Atlantic. It was not a bad storm; it subsided
almost as quickly as it came on; and I do not believe it left permanent ill will
behind it. Perhaps it was not altogether a bad thing to have happened, if it
has brought both our peoples to face realities and see more clearly the only
conditions under which a partnership like ours can prosper.
We can and we shall have occasional differences of opinion. When these
arise, we may criticize each other's actions. But if we are wise, we shall not lightly
attribute to each other selfish or unworthy motives. A democracy can understand
and take criticism; indeed it expects it. Criticism is the privilege and the stock-
in-trade of every free society. But democracy rightly resents anything that casts
doubt upon its good faith.
We have had the example of recent events in Greece. I am not going into
that tonight. Happily the situation there has taken a turn for the better and we
may reasonably hope that the Greek people will solve their difficulties without
further bloodshed. The other day one of your Congressmen said something to
me which I thought was very true. If, he said, 10,000 Greeks were killed in a
civil war, that was a regrettable incident which the world soon forgot. But if
1,000 Greeks were killed by British troops in preventing this far greater loss
of life through civil war in Greece, then the wicked imperialism of perfidious
Albion was to blame!
Some people in Britain, as well as in the United States, thought and said that
the actual situation which arose might have been handled differently. Even though
their criticisms were not always based on an accurate knowledge of the facts,
that was a very different matter from suggesting that we acted as we did because
we wanted to force a certain kind of government on Greece, or to protect our
222 British Speeches of the Day
economic interests, or to establish ourselves in a favored position behind our
Allies' backs. Not one of these charges is true, and they are the kind which,
when brought against a comrade, could hardly fail to arouse resentment.
Truth and Fiction About Lend-Lease
Or take another example, Lend-Lease-the conception which has perhaps
made a larger contribution to victory than any other. It would be hard to over-
estimate what that mighty reinforcement of American supplies has meant to
the British Commonwealth and to your other Allies. Yet I doubt if on any single
subject there has been here more misunderstanding, cultivated and encouraged as
this has been by enemy propaganda. The other day I was studying an interesting
and valuable statement put out by your Foreign Economic Administration. It
gave a list of no fewer than 38 fictions, each suggesting that in some way or
other the goods you were sending under Lend-Lease were being misused by your
Allies; and in every case the statement gave the plain truth, which completely
destroyed the fiction.
One story, for example, had it that every time a United States airplane made
a forced landing in a British airfield, a bill for $7,000 was sent in to your
The truth is, of course, that not only does the British Government make no
charge for such landings, but it provides as Reverse Lend-Lease and without any
payment all the airfields in the United Kingdom used by the United States Army
But aside from all this, there are two big facts we cannot afford to forget.
The first is that Lend-Lease is not a form of charity. When the preamble to
the Lend-Lease Act described it as "an act to promote the defense of the United
States," its authors were doing no more than telling the literal truth. You were
not merely being kind and helpful to Britain or Russia. In 1941 Lend-Lease
saved Britain, Russia and China; but it also saved the United States.
The second fact is that Lend-Lease has grown into something bigger. As Mr.
Stimson said last week: "In this war, for the first time in history, the resources
and manufacturing power of the large industrial Allied nations, of which the
United States is the most important factor, have been intelligently used to unify
equipment and at the same time to unify strategy.'
So Lend-Lease has become a great pooling of Allied resources. We are getting
large supplies from you; but you are also getting substantial supplies from us.
Last November the President reported to Congress that, up to the end of June,
Reverse Lend-Lease to the United States from the British Commonwealth had
reached a total of nearly $3,350,000,000.
The Lion's Tail and the Eagle's Feathers
Here again it is all right for anyone to criticize Lend-Lease, if he has taken
the trouble to acquaint himself with all the facts. But criticism is purely mis-
chievous when it takes the form of suggesting that Lend-Lease is merely a trick
by which a lot of greedy people are trying to pick the bulging pockets of Uncle
Sam. The distinction, I think, is fairly obvious. If I tell a friend that in my
opinion he is acting unwisely, he has no business to feel resentment or take
offense. But if I tell him that he is an unprincipled scoundrel he has every right
to be angry and to doubt my friendship.
Nor was there ever a time when friendship between the United States and
the British Commonwealth was more vital. In past days you may sometimes
have tweaked the lion's tail and we may sometimes have ruffled the eagle's feathers;
Britain's Economic Future
and I daresay no great harm was done on either side. But these were peacetime
luxuries, which we can no longer afford. Those days are long over.
Friendship between two peoples is not the work of a treaty or a conference.
It comes out of day-to-day events and from the innumerable contacts of ordinary
men and women. It has at once a strength and a fragility of its own. It may
take years to make; it may survive the shocks of war; it may bring a comradeship,
as we see every day, that triumphs over danger and death; and yet it can be broken
almost over night. Our own carelessness may shatter what all the power of an
enemy may not shake.
The Convoy Must Get Through
And that thought takes us back to our starting point-the Conference in the
Crimea and the hope it carries for the future. It is good that the representatives
of the United Nations will be going to San Francisco; that those who are re.
sponsible for the foreign policy of the three great Powers will meet and confer
at regular intervals; that we have reached agreement on so many serious political
issues. But none of this will make a lasting peace, unless behind the agreements
of the leaders is the strong and enduring sentiment of the peoples.
That is true of all the United Nations; but it is doubly true of your country
and mine. For if we who have so much in common-our language, our litera-
ture, our way of life and thought, our free institutions-if we cannot work
together in friendship and mutual respect, it would be hard to say who can.
I sometimes think that the countries of our alliance, with so many govern-
ments swept away, so great a dislocation of economic life, so heavy a strain upon
the strength and courage of their peoples, might be likened to a convoy struggling
into port through great storms. All their plates are strained. Many have lost
their top hamper. Many of their steering gears are out of action. Their crews
are weary and exhausted by the long struggle.
But they will not ride the storm by parting company and choosing to face
separately the perils that so far they have overcome together. Nor will they
be wise to waste their energies in mutual reproaches and faultfinding. There
will be time for all that, if it is worth doing at all, when they get into port.
Rather, then, let the convoy sail on feeling assured that with courage, endurance,
faith and comradeship, they will, by God's grace, come safely to their chosen
RT. HON. BRENDAN BRACKEN
Minister of Information
To the Royal Empire Society, February 21, 1945
Some industrialists, economists and bankers in various parts of the world are
fearful of Britain's economic and financial future. They say that in waging war
we have been prodigal of our resources. Gone are the best of our foreign in-
vestments. Our debts are astronomical. The inevitable increase in all costs,
caused by war, must accentuate the decline of our basic industries and further
handicap our export trade. The strength of the City of London is passing away.
Britain's economic future is bleak.
British Speeches of the Day
Prophets of Gloom
It is not easy to argue with pessimists. One can only disbelieve them. No
one with any knowledge of our war effort can doubt our financial sacrifices are
staggering. They are surely sufficient to discourage easy optimism. But it is
interesting and instructive to recall that many able men who were pessimistic about
Britain's future have been proven wrong by the march of events.
Let me recall some prophecies of the last century. Said William Pitt: "There
is nothing around us but ruin and despair." Despite his sizeable fortune, William
Wilberforce declared: "I dare not marry: the future is so dark and unsettled."
Wilberforce repented, and bred a family of eminent well-fed ecclesiastics. The
brave heart of the Duke of Wellington failed him when he thanked God "he
had been spared from seeing the end of the ruin that is gathering around us."
Prophesying woe has often been a national pastime for Britons. We should be
unwise to encourage it in the strenuous days which lie ahead of us. It is a
pleasure to be postponed until we have restored the ravages of warfare.
I think no harm can be done by answering some of the prophets who say
Britain has seen her best days. Let me begin by dealing with the doubters of
our industrial future. There is a widespread belief that British industry and
trade stagnated between 1923 and 1937. The truth is that total employment in
industry and trade increased by not less than 25 per cent between the two wars.
A lot of energy is wasted in groaning over the state of our "basic" industries.
History shows that our "basic" industries often shift. Two centuries ago the
woolen industry was our prime basic industry. It was also the spoilt child of
Parliament. Innumerable Acts were passed to protect it from foreign competi-
tion. Our legislature believed that if they could prevent the export of British
wool, foreigners must buy English cloth. If it was harmful that a bale of English
wool be sent abroad, how terrible was the danger of foreigners' getting hold of
live British sheep. Parliament tried to meet this danger by making it an offense
to shear sheep within five miles of the coast. Alas, our legislators labored vainly.
Foreigners were able to compete successfully with British cloth. And England
was not ruined. Though the woolen industry lost its primacy, more "basic"
industries were born, and they in turn have seen their position challenged by
upstart industries. Some of the great basic industries of the future may be
starting in the laboratories today. In the long run, there can be nothing basic
in British industry save the brains, skill, energy, thrift and enterprise of the
Our economy puzzles foreigners. They find it hard to understand how a
population of 47 millions can live well in a small island whose natural resources
are trivial by comparison with sub-continents like the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R.
Superficial observers believe that we have been living on the fat stored up by our
Victorian forebears. They hold that industries such as coal, iron, steel and cotton,
which gave Britain such a flying start in the years of the Industrial Revolution,
are sadly shrinking.
The New Industrial Revolution
What is the answer to the self-appointed coroners of British prosperity? Let
us examine their doubts about the future of oui coal industry. It is true our
coal deposits are trifling in comparison with those in the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R.
It is also true that between the wars coal production shrank, and employment
declined by more than one-third. But does any considering person believe our
coal deposits are sufficient to provide a perpetual supply of power to British
Britain's Economic Future
The industrialist of the twenty-first century will marvel at our wasteful use
of coal. He will treat it as a capital asset, and profit greatly by its valuable by-prod-
ucts, many of which are now wasted. His main industrial power will come from the
efforts of chemists and scientists.
There is nothing fantastic in this forecast. Before the war we showed laziness
of imagination. Scientists have already shown us how swiftly substitutes can be
found for a basic industry created by the development of great natural resources.
In 1910, Chile supplied 64 per cent of the world nitrate output. In the follow-
ing year, a chemist discovered how to take nitrate out of the air. In 1938, Chile's
share of the world nitrate output was eight per cent. If this shows the power
of scientists to create new industries, it also shows the folly of overestimating
our dependence on "basic" industries.
Doubters of Britain's future have been so busy analyzing the advantages we
have lost since the end of the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century
that they have not noticed another industrial revolution is with us. If we are
sufficiently enterprising and energetic in managing our affairs, we will derive as
many benefits from the new as we received from the old. And it is the essence
of the new industrial revolution that it can have no place for the sweated labor
and other social evils which disfigured the expansion of industry in the nineteenth
Alliance Between Science and Industry
The new industries which owe so much to chemists and scientists made re-
markable progress before the war. I shall only mention a few of them.
The output of rayon yar rose from 46,992,000 pounds in 1930 to 116,000,000
pounds in 1939. The output of staple fiber in the same period increased from
1,782,000 pounds to 60,000,000 pounds. At the end of 1923 the number of
wireless sets was 600,000, and is now 10,000,000. The output of synthetic and
organic dyestuffs increased from over 23,000,000 pounds in 1922 to over
60,000,000 pounds in 1937.
A few years ago, plastics was regarded as a gadget industry. It now employs
about 100,000 workers and uses annually 4,000,000 tons of raw materials derived
from the coal and gas industries alone. This infant may alter the future of many
industries and become a vast earner. There are great possibilities in developments
in the use of power alcohol. Food processing is an industry of unlimited
These are but a few examples of the alliance between industrialists, scientists
and chemists. If research, risk-taking and enterprise are not discouraged, there
is no reason for pessimism about the future of British industry.
The Importance of Taking Risks
Having said a good deal about the importance of research, I should like to say
something about risk-taking, which is at least as important. In any economy
such as ours, it is dangerous not to take risks. If our industry became static, much
unemployment and its consequent miseries would come upon us. And so we
must always experiment with new processes. We must be prepared to give wide
liberty and much financial encouragement to industrial designers. We must be
forward to expand sales everywhere. We must be ruthless in scrapping plant
and equipment if better machines and tools are developed.
In modern industry, the good-enough is always the enemy of the best. And
in our industrial equipment we can only afford the best. For having few raw
British Speeches of the Day
materials, we must live by sound and attractive manufactures, by an infinite variety
of products, by greatly improving our methods of selling abroad and, above all,
by pulling down prices to encourage popular spending.
Low prices are an encourager and not an enemy of full and well-paid em-
ployment. If, through the best of industrial equipment, one man can do the
work of two, the country will be twice as rich. And so we can steadily improve
the standard of living in Britain. To do this, we must keep an ever-watchful
eye on the people who believe that there can be a curse of plenty. These restric-
tionists are to be found among unenterprising leaders of employers and employees.
Timidity makes them lay their hands on the brake. They see salvation in an
eternity of restrictions and controls. Britain's salvation can only be found in
expansion and freedom.
The great lake of British industry and trade is fed by numerous small springs.
Many of our smaller trades and industries have no superiors in any part of the
world. In pre-war days they had faithful customers everywhere, who relished
their quality. War scarcities and shoddy substitutes have whetted the appetities
of those customers. Our smaller trades and industries have a great future. And
if they will but follow the example of the ancient businesses, such as Wedgwood's,
in steadily increasing the production of fine quality goods, they will increase the
strength of our economy.
Shopkeepers and Financiers
Before I turn to the problems of our financial future, I must say a few words
about our shopkeepers, who may be called the "service" industry of Britain . .
The manifold services rendered by our shopkeepers are essential to the variety
of the British way of life. Their existence is an advantage to the community
in which they dwell. They are shrewd buyers and distributors of sound goods.
They are a great barrier against the monopolists. And monopolists are mortal
foes of progress. May shopkeepers prosper and may their numbers increase!
Farms, professions and factories cannot employ everybody.
And now let me say something about those much abused institutions classified
as the "City." I shall begin with our banks. Unless a country has a sound
banking system, its industrialists and traders cannot hope for any long-term
prosperity. During this century, a succession of bank failures has caused great
business and personal disasters in America and Europe and many other parts of
the world. No bank in Britain has failed in the present century and long before
We have taken too much for granted the merits of our banking system. . .
The opportunities and profits gained for Britain by our banks and merchants' in-
stitutions like Lloyd's and our insurance companies can hardly be computed. The
pre-war invisible "export" value of the City was not less than 30,000,000 a year.
The City is not infallible. Indeed it must sometimes make losses if it is to do
its job. Some of its smaller houses have erred in their foreign lending policies.
Some of our governments have made much worse errors in lending. ..
War has narrowed some of the City's resources. But it has not harmed what
is perhaps its greatest asset, although intangible: Confidence. This asset has been
built up by generations of bankers and merchants whose reputation for wisdom
and fair dealing has spread far and wide.
If confidence in London's financial institutions is the growth of many centuries,
remember that it can be shattered in a day. I believe that in post-war days, con-
Question Time in the House of Commons
fidence in the integrity and judgment of our bankers will bring much business to
London. It is therefore unwise to declare that London will never again be the
financial center of the world.
The Elder Cato's Bad Advice
We hope that by hard work and enterprise, we shall be able to repair the
ravages of war, maintain a high standard of living for our people and establish
what is called a system of social security. But there can be no security, nor any
high standard of living in this country without a sane currency policy. If we ever
allow the people who govern us to return to the worship of the golden calf, or
the people who would turn the pound sterling into confetti money to gain control
of our.affairs, we shall have neither the social security nor the decent standards of
The war has created enormous problems for Britain. Our astronomical over-
seas debts can only be liquidated by years of hard work, by showing the highest
financial prudence in handling our affairs, and by creating the largest possible
home and export trade. The British have always been ardent believers m what
I might call the live-and-let-live economy. We know that there can be no isles
of prosperity in an ocean of economic misery-more than 2,000 years ago the Elder
Cato gave this advice to the Roman agriculturists: "Always sell and never buy."
It is incredible that the arrant nonsense contained in this remark is still fashionable
in some parts of the world.
After the war our prime purpose must be to assist in the expansion of trade
everywhere. Two centuries ago, the world was haunted by the fear of starvation.
Between wars many 'nations were plunged into chaos by the abundance of food
and other good things of life. What a commentary on the intelligence of this
generation! Perhaps this war has shown us the depth of our past follies. . .
England's future prospects depend upon a great increase in trade. Let us,
therefore, do nothing to discourage the spirit of trading which helped make us
great and let us also remember that if enterprise is chained, our trade must stagnate.
If that should happen, hundreds of thousands of skilled workers will hear the
worst sentence in the English language: "There is no work for you." Never let
it be forgotten that in our economy, wastage of labor is the worst of waste.
War never left a nation where it found it. We have the best reasons for
knowing the truth of this statement. The war has consumed much of Britain's
accumulated wealth. We have become a debtor nation. Our burdens look very
heavy. The war has also dislocated our home and foreign markets and we have
a tremendous job of reconstruction to do.
Surely, we, who by our faith and courage in the darkest year of human history,
saved the world, will, by our courage, brains and skill, restore the prosperity of
Britain and play our part with other nations in securing victory over poverty.
That is our duty and opportunity.
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 January and February, 1945, is included
below, together with the Ministers' answers, with the intention of illustrating the
scope and purpose of this part of Parliamentary business.
British Speeches of the Day
Mr. Petherick (Conservative) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Af-
fairs what contribution is being made by His Majesty's Government to the expenses
of the Czechoslovak Government.
The Minister of State [Mr. Law]: In December, 1940, an agreement was
concluded between His Majesty's Government and the Czechoslovak Government
under the terms of which His Majesty's Government granted a credit of seven and
a half million pounds to the Czechoslovak Government for the maintenance of
their Armed Forces in this country. Since then His Majesty's Government have
granted, in October, 1942, and in October, 1944, two further credits to the
Czechoslovak Government each of five million pounds.
Mr. Petherick: Has the attention of my right hon. Friend been drawn to a
statement which is circulating about the expenses of the Czechoslovak Government,
one of the items of which is 157,000 alleged to be for the use of Dr. Benes and
The Minister of State: No, Sir. I have not myself seen any such state-
ment; I shall certainly be glad to look into it.
Viscountess Astor (Conservative): Is it not a fact that in spite of these
loans Dr. Benes made a separate agreement with Russia?
[January 31, 1945]
GERMAN CRIMES (PUNISHMENT)
Mr. G. Strauss (Labour) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
whether he can now make any further statement about the intentions of His Maj-
esty's Government to treat as war criminals those responsible for the murder and
ill-treatment of anti-Nazi Germans in concentration camps or elsewhere in Ger-
The Minister of State [Mr. Law]: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign
Secretary informed my hon. Friend in reply to a question of October 4, crimes
committed by Germans against Germans are in a different category from war
crime and cannot be dealt with under the same procedure. But in spite of this, I
can assure my hon. Friend that His Majesty's Government will do their utmost to
ensure that these crimes do not go unpunished.
Mr. Strauss: While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, which
is satisfactory as far as it goes, may I ask him if he can say whether there has been
any discussion between the major Allies on this point and whether any agreement
has been reached on the subject?
The Minister of State: I do not think I can add to the reply which I
have given. This is a very complicated subject, and I can assure my hon. Friend it
is being taken seriously.
Mr. Moelwyn Hughes (Labour): When the right hon. Gentleman refers
to the authorities, does he mean the occupying authorities, or authorities set up by
Germans in Germany; and whatever authority will be dealing with them, under
what law will that authority operate?
The Minister of State: The authorities to which I refer are the authori-
ties who will be in control in Germany when the war comes to an end I think I
can leave it to my hon. and learned Friend to imagine who those authorities will be.
Question Time in the House of Commons
Mr. Moelwyn Hughes: Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the second
part of my supplementary question?
The Minister of State: As I have said, this is a matter of very great
complexity and I do not think I could usefully elaborate the answer I have given.
Mr. Pickthorn (Conservative): If the matter is of too great complexity for
question and answer, does not my right hon. Friend think that some agreement in
this country might be got by discussion in this House on this very difficult subject?
The Minister of State: I am sure, Mr. Speaker, the House in general and
my hon. Friend in particular, can throw light on any subject, however complicated.
Miss Rathbone (Independent): In view of the effect which a very clear an-
nouncement might have on the possible treatment of threatened people not yet
murdered in Germany by Nazi Germans, could the right hon. Gentleman give an
assurance that there is not only an intention to do our best, but that the question of
the procedure and the kind of court that will be used, is being thought out in agreed
terms? A further announcement would give a general assurance, and might be a
safeguard to these refugees.
The Minister of State: I really cannot make a further announcement at
this stage. The matter is under discussion. It does not concern only us; it con-
cerns our Allies as well, and I hope the hon. Lady will be content with the answer.
[January 31, 1945]
HOUSES, SELLING PRICE
Mr. Harry Thorneycroft (Labour) asked the Prime Minister whether he
is now in a position to announce the Government's policy on the question of con-
trolling or regulating the price at which dwelling-houses may be sold.
The Deputy Prime Minister [Mr. Attlee]: Yes, Sir. My right hon. and
learned Friend the Minister of Health and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of
State for Scotland are appointing a Committee with the following terms of
"To consider, and report, whether it is practicable to control effectively the
selling price of houses with, or without, vacant possession and to prevent undue
financial advantage being taken of the present housing shortage; and, if so,
what measures should be adopted to effect these objects."
The membership of the Committee will be announced shortly.
Mr. Thorneycroft: While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply,
Smay I ask him whether it will be permissible for Members to submit, as evidence,
letters received from victims of this scandalous racket?
The Deputy Prime Minister: I think so, certainly.
Mr. Bowles (Labour): In view of the delay that is bound to take place be-
fore the recommendations of the Committee can be submitted to the Government,
would my right hon. Friend also ask the Committee to make recommendations
about retrospective action?
The Deputy Prime Minister: That is a matter for consideration.
[February 13, 1945]
British Speeches of the Day
YUGOSLAVIA (BRITISH NEWSPAPER CORRESPONDENTS)
Captain Duncan (Conservative) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs how many British newspaper correspondents are now in Yugoslavia; and
whether they are being given full facilities for the collection and dissemination
Mr. Eden: There are at present in Yugoslatia a representative of Reuter's
news agency and two Canadian correspondents. Yugoslav entry permits have been
granted to correspondents of the Times and Daily Herald, who have not yet
entered the country. According to my information, the facilities granted to foreign
correspondents in Belgrade and the operation of the Yugoslav censorship are not
now open to the criticisms which have been made against them in the past. It is
expected that the position will be further improved shortly by the provision of
better wireless facilities for the transmission of Press messages from Belgrade.
The Minister of Information in Bedgrade informed Allied correspondents on
"It is in our interest, as well as in the interest of our Allies, to publish
the truth about Yugoslavia. In this, Allied journalists can help us and their
His Majesty's Government share this view and will continue to do everything
in their power to assist the flow of information from inside Yugoslavia to the
[February 28, 1945]
JAMAICA (MEDICAL SERVICE)
Mr. Riley (Labour) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether
he is aware of the dissatisfaction prevailing in Jamaica with the Governmental
medical services; that at least three medical officials have resigned from the service
during the past year on account of dissatisfaction with the administration; and
will he inquire into the causes of this dissatisfaction with a view to remedying it.
Colonel Stanley: I received a deputation when in Jamaica of representa-
tives of the local branch of the British Medical Association who expressed dis-
satisfaction on some points affecting the medical service. As I informed them,
these matters are now primarily the concern of the new Executive Council and
Legislature in Jamaica. I should therefore not be prepared to intervene on the
question whether any inquiry should be made into the causes of any recent resig-
nations from the Medical Service. . .
Mr. Creech Jones (Labour): Are we to understand that this House now
abrogates its supervision in regard to welfare and development in Jamaica; and
is it now to be the practice that questions relating to the administration of Jamaica,
since the Secretary of State has not responsibility, are not be be allowed?
Colonel Stanley: Of course, that is not the position. I am willing to
answer any question, but I must make it plain that I should think that I was
completely destroying what this House had agreed on for the Jamaica constitution
if, on every small matter of detailed administration, I were to interfere with the
[February 28, 1945]
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