BRITISH INFORMATION SE
AN AGENCY OF THE BRITISH GOVERN M' I T
OF THE DA
WINSTON CHURCHILL, Prime Minister, April 17, 1945.
WINSTON CHURCHILL, Prime Minister, March 28, 1945.
Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor.
OLIVER LYTTELTON, Minister of Production, March 21, 1945.
Distribution of Industry.
LORD WOOLTON, Minister of Reconstruction, March 21, 1945.
Monopolies and Cartels.
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for
the Colonies, April 10, 1945.
Colonial Development and Welfare Bill.
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for
the Colonies, April 10, 1945.
African Troops in India and Burma.
LORD CRANBORNE, Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs,
April 17, 1945.
The San Francisco Conference.
ANTHONY EDEN, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, April 26, 1945.
Opening Speech at San Francisco.
WINSTON CHURCHILL, Prime Minister, March 21, 1945.
. 'Food Stocks. 5 0 5"
C. R. ATTLEE, Deputy Prime Minister, March 28, 1945. G 7 T
SIR JAMES6GRIGG, Secretary of State for War, March 28
European Relief. ( 0 5
QUESTION TIME IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
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RT. HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL
House of Commons, April 17, 1945
I beg to move that an humble Address be presented to His Majesty to convey
to His Majesty the deep sorrow with which this House has learned of the death
of the President of the United States of America, and to pray His Majesty that
in communicating his own sentiments of grief to the United States Government
he will also be graciously pleased to express on the part of this House their sense
of the loss which the British Commonwealth and Empire and the cause of the
Allied Nations have sustained, and their profound sympathy with Mrs. Roosevelt
and the late President's family, and with the Government and people of the
United States of America.
My friendship with the great man to whose work and fame we pay our tribute
today began and ripened during this war. I had met him, but only for a few
minutes, after the close of the last war, and as soon as I went to the Admiralty
in September, 1939, he telegraphed, inviting me to correspond with him direct
on naval or other matters if at any time I felt inclined. Having obtained the
permission of the Prime Minister, I did so. Knowing President Roosevelt's keen
interest in sea warfare I furnished him with a stream of information about our
naval affairs and about the various actions, including especially the action of the
Plate River, which lighted the first gloomy winter of the war.
Messages and Meetings
When I became Prime Minister and the war broke out in all its hideous fury,
when our own life and survival hung in the balance, I was already in a position
to telegraph to the President on terms of an association which had become most
intimate and, to me, most agreeable. This continued through all the ups and downs
of the world struggle until Thursday last when I received my last messages from
him. These messages showed no falling off in his accustomed clear vision and
vigor upon perplexing and complicated matters."
I may mention that this correspondence which, of course, greatly increased
after the United States' entry into the war, comprises, to and fro between us,
over 1,700 messages. Many of these were lengthy messages, and the majority
dealt with those more difficult points which come to be discussed upon the level
of heads of Governments only after official solutions had not been reached at
other stages. To this correspondence there must be added our nine meetings-
at Argentia, three in Washington, at Casablanca, at Teheran, two at Quebec, and,
last of all, at Yalta, comprising in all about 120 .days of close personal contact
during a great part of which I stayed with him at the White House or at his home
at Hyde Park, or in his retreat in the Blue Mountains which he called Shangri-la.
I conceived an admiration for him as. a statesman, as a man of affairs, and
as a war leader. I felt the utmost confidence in his upright, inspiring character
and outlook and a personal regard-affection, I must say-for him beyond my
power to express today. His love of his own country, his respect for its Con-
stitution, his power of gauging the tides and currents of its mobile public opinion
were always evident, but added to these were the beatings of that generous heart,
which was always stirred to anger and to action by spectacles of aggression and
oppression by the strong against the weak. It is indeed a loss, a bitter loss, to
humanity that those heart-beats are stilled forever.
330 British Speeches of the Day
Courage, Sympathy and Vision
President Roosevelt's physical affliction lay heavily upon him. It was a marvel
that he bore up against it through all the many years of tumult and storm. Not
one man in ten millions stricken and crippled as he was would have attempted
to plunge into a life of physical and mental exertion and of hard, ceaseless
political controversy. Not one in ten millions would have tried, not one in a
generation would have succeeded, not only in entering this sphere, not only in
acting vehemently in it, but in becoming indisputable master of the scene. In
this extraordinary effort of the spirit over the flesh, the will power over physical
infirmity, he was inspired and sustained by that noble woman his devoted wife,
whose high ideals marched with his own, and to whom the deep and respectful
sympathy of the House of Commons flows out today in all fullness.
There is no doubt that the President foresaw the great dangers closing in
upon the pre-war world with far more prescience than most well-informed peo-
ple on either side of the Atlantic, and that he urged forward with all his power
such precautionary military preparations as peacetime opinion in the United States
could be brought to accept. There never was a moment's doubt as the quarrel
opened, upon which side his sympathies lay.
The fall of France, and what seemed to most people outside this island the
impending destruction of Great Britain, were to him an agony, although he never
lost faith in us. They were an agony to him not only on account of Europe, but
because of the serious perils to which the United States herself would have been
exposed had we been overwhelmed, or the survivors cast down under the German
The bearing of the British nation at that time of stress, when we were all
alone, filled him and vast members of his countrymen, with the warmest senti-
ments towards our people. He and they felt the blitz of the stern winter of
1940-41 when Hitler set himself to rub out the cities of our country as much as
any of us did, and perhaps more indeed, for imagination is often more tortur-
ing than reality. There is no doubt that the bearing of the British and, above
all, of the Londoners kindled fires in American bosoms far harder to quepch
than the conflagrations from which we were suffering.
Shoulder to Shoulder
There was also, at that time, in spite of General Wavell's victories-all the
more, indeed, because of the reinforcements which were sent from this country
to him-the apprehension, widespread in the United States, that we should be
invaded by Germany after the fullest preparation in the spring of 1941. It was
in February that the President sent to England the late Mr. Wendell Willkie,
who, although a political rival and ansopposing candidate, felt, as he did, on
many important points. Mr. Willkie brought a letter from Mr. Roosevelt, which
the President had written in his own hand, and this letter contained the famous
lines of Longfellow:
Sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
At about that same time he devised the extraordinary measure of assistance
called Lend-Lease, which will stand forth as the most unselfish and unsordid fi-
nancial act of any country in all history. The effect of this Ws greatly to in-
crease British fighting power, and for all the purposes of the war effort to make
us, as it were, a much more numerous community.
In that Autumn I met the President for the first time during the war at
Argentia, in Newfoundland, and together we drew up the Declaration which
has since been called the Atlantic Charter, and which will, I trust, long remain
a guide for both our peoples and for other peoples of the world. All this time,
in deep and dark and deadly secrecy, the Japanese were preparing their act of
treachery and greed. When next we met in Washington Japan, Germany, and
Italy had declared war upon the United States, and both our countries were in
arms shoulder to shoulder..
Since then we have advanced over the land and over' the sea through many
difficulties and disappointments, but always with a broadening measure of suc-
cess. I need not dwell upon the series of great operations which have taken
place in the Western Hemisphere, to say nothing of that other immense war pro-
ceeding at the other side of the world. Nor need I speak of the plans which we
made with our great ally, Russia, at Teheran, for these have now been carried
out for all the world to see.
He Had Finished His Mail
But at Yalta I noticed that the President was ailing. His captivating smile,
his gay and charming manner, had not deserted him, but his face had a trans-
parency, an air of purification, and often there was a faraway look in his eyes.
When I took my leave of him in Alexandria harbor I must confess that I had
an indefinable sense of fear that his health and his strength were on the ebb.
But nothing altered his inflexible sense of duty. To the end he faced-his innu-
merable tasks unflinchingly.
One of the tasks of the President is to sign maybe a hundred or two hundred
State papers with his own hand every day, commissions, and so forth. All this
he continued to carry out with the utmost strictness. When death came suddenly
upon him "he had finished his mail"; that portion of his day's work was done. As
the saying goes, he died in harness, and we may well say in battle harness, like
his soldiers, sailors, and airmen, who side by side with ours, are carrying out
their task to the end all over the world.
What an enviable death was his! He had brought his country through the
worst of its perils and the heaviest of its toils. Victory had cast its sure and
steady beam upon him. He had broadened and stabilized in the days of peace
the foundations of American life and union. In war he had raised the strength,
might and glory of the great Republic to a height never attained by any nation
in history. With her left hand she was leading the advance of the conquering
Allied armies into the heart of Germany, and with her right, on the other side
of the globe, she was irresistibly and swiftly breaking up the power of Japan.
And all the time ships, munitions, supplies, and food of every kind were aiding
on a gigantic scale her Allies, great and small, in the course of a long struggle.
But all, this was no more than worldly power and grandeur, had it not been
that the causes of human freedom and of social justice, to which so much of his
life had been given, added a luster to all this power and pomp and war-like
might, a luster which will long be discernible among men. He has left behind
him a band of resolute and able men handling the numerous interrelated parts
of the vast American war machine. He has left a successor who comes forward
with firm step and sure conviction to carry on the task to its appointed end. For
us it remains only to say that in Franklin Roosevelt there died the greatest Amer-
ican friend we have ever known, and the greatest champion of freedom who has
ever brought help and comfort from the New World to the Old.
[House of Commons Debates]
332 British Speeches of the Day
RT. HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL
House of Commons, March 28, 1945
Mr. Speaker, shortly after David Lloyd George first took Cabinet office as
President of the Board of Trade, the Liberals, who had been in eclipse for 20
years obtained in January, 1906, an overwhelming majority over all other parties.
They were independent of the Irish; the Labour Party was in its infancy; the
Conservatives were reduced to little more than 100. But this moment of political
triumph occurred in a period when the aspirations of nineteenth century Liberal-
ism had been largely achieved. Most of the great movements and principles of
Liberalism had become the common property of enlightened men all over the
civilized world. The chains had been struck from the slave; a free career was
open to talent; the extension of the franchise was moving irresistibly forward;
the advance in education was rapid and continuous, not only in this island but
in many lands. Thus at the moment when the Liberal Party became supreme, the
great and beneficent impulses which had urged them forward were largely as-
suaged by success. Some new and potent conception had to be found by those
who were called into power.
Wrath and Compassion
It was Lloyd George who launched the Liberal and Radical forces of this
country effectively into the broad stream of social betterment and social security
along which all modern parties now steer. There was no man so gifted, so
eloquent, so forceful, who knew the life of the people so well. His warm heart
was stirred by the many perils which beset the cottage homes: the health of the
bread winner, the fate of his widow, the nourishment and upbringing of his
children, the meager and haphazard provision of medical treatment and sanatoria,
and the lack of any organized accessible medical service of a kind worthy of the
age from which the mass of the wage earners and. the poor suffered. All this
excited his wrath. Pity and compassion lent their powerful wings. He knew
the terror with which old age threatened the toiler-that after a life of exer-
tion he could be no more than a burden at the fireside and in the family of a
struggling son. When I first became Lloyd George's friend and active associate,
now more than 40 years ago, this deep love of the people, the profound knowl-
edge of their lives and of the undue and needless pressures under which they
lived, impressed itself indelibily upon my mind.
Then there was his dauntless courage, his untiring energy, his oratory, per-
suasive, provocative, now grave now gay. His swift, penetrating, comprehensive
mind was always grasping at the root, or what he thought to be the root, of
any question. His eye ranged ahead of the obvious. He was always hunting in
the field beyond. I have often heard people come to him with a plan, and he
would say "That is all right, but what happens when we get over the bridge?
What do we do then?"
His Work For the People
In his prime, Sir, his power, his influence, his initiative were unequaled in
the land. He was the champion of the weak and the poor. These were great
days. Nearly two generations have passed. Most people are unconscious of how
much their lives have been shaped by the laws for which Lloyd George was
responsible. Health insurance and old-age pensions were the first large-scale
State-conscious efforts to set a balustrade along the crowded causeway of the
Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor 333
people's life and, without pulling down the structures of society, to fasten a
lid over the abyss into which vast numbers used to fall, generation after gen-
eration, uncared for and indeed unnoticed. Now we move forward confidently
into larger and more far-reaching applications of these ideas. I was his lieu-
tenant in those bygone days, and shared in a minor way in the work. I have
lived to see long strides taken, and being taken, and going to be taken, on this
path of insurance by which the vultures of utter ruin are driven from the dwell-
ings of the nations. The stamps we lick, the roads we travel, the system of
progressive taxation, the principal remedies that have yet been used against un-
employment-all these to a very great extent were part not only of the mission
but of the actual achievement of Lloyd George; and I am sure that as time
passes his name will not only live but shine on account of the great, laborious,
constructive work he did for the social and domestic life of our country.
When the calm, complacent, self-satisfied tranquilities of the Victorian era
had exploded into the world convulsions and wars of the terrible twentieth
century, Lloyd George had another part to play on which his fame will stand
with equal or even greater firmness. Although unacquainted with the military
arts, although by public repute a pugnacious pacifist, when the life of our coun-
try was in peril he rallied to the war effort and cast aside all other thoughts or
aims. He was the first to discern the fearful shortages of ammunition and artil-
lery and all the other appliances of war which would so soon affect, and in the
case of Imperial Russia mortally affect, the warring nations on both sides. He
saw it before anyone. Here I must say that my hon. and gallant Friend the
Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) was a truthful and vigilant prophet and
guide in all that information which we received. He was our military repre-
sentative in Russia. But it was Mr. Lloyd George who fixed on these papers,
brought them forth before the eyes of the Cabinet and induced action to be
taken with the utmost vigor possible at that late hour.
Lloyd George left the Exchequer when the Coalition Government was
formed for the Ministry of Munitions. Here he hurled himself into the mobi-
lization of British industry. In 1915 he was building great war factories that
could not come into operation for two years. There was the usual talk about
the war being over in a few months, but he did not hesitate to plan on a vast
scale for two years ahead. It was my fortune to inherit the output of those
factories in 1917-the vast, overflowing output which came from them. Pres-
ently Lloyd George seized the main power in the State and the headship of the
Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Seized?"] Seized. I think it was Carlyle who
said of Oliver Cromwell:
"He coveted the place; perhaps the place was his."
He imparted immediately a new surge of strength, of impulse, far stronger than
anything that had been known up to, that time, and extending over the whole
field of wartime Government, every part of which was of equal interest to him.
Somber and Tremendous Years
I have already written about him at this time, when I watched him so closely
and enjoyed his confidence and admired him so much, and I have recorded two
characteristics of him which seemed to me invaluable in those days: first, his
power to live in the present yet without taking short views; and, secondly, his
power of drawing from misfortune itself the means of future success. All this
was illustrated by the successful development of the war; by the adoption of
British Speeches of the Day
the convoy system, which he enforced upon the Admiralty and by which the
U-boats were defeated; by the unified command on the Western Front which
gave Marshal Foch the power to lead us all to victory; and in many other mat-
ters which form a part of the story of those somber and tremendous years the
memory of which forever abides with me, and to which I have often recurred
in thought during our present second heavy struggle against German aggres-
sion, now drawing towards its victorious dose.
A Household Word
Thus the statesman and guide whose gentle passing in the fullness of his
years we mourn today served our country, our island and our age both faith-
fully and well in peace and in war. His long life was, from almost the begin-
ning to almost the end, spent in political strife and controversy. He aroused
intense and sometimes needless antagonisms. He had fierce and bitter quarrels
at various times with all the Parties. He faced undismayed the storms of criti-
cism and hostility. In spite of all obstacles, including those he raised himself,
he achieved his main purposes. As a man of action, resource and creative energy
he stood, when at his zenith, without a rival. His name is a household word
throughout our Commonwealth of Nations. He was the greatest Welshman
which that unconquerable race has produced since the age of the Tudors. Much
of his work abides, some of it will grow greatly in the future, and those who
come after us will find the pillars of his life's toil upstanding, massive and in-
destructible; and we ourselves, gathered here today, may indeed be thankful that
he voyaged with us through storm and tumult with so much help and guidance
[House of Commons Debatesl
RT. HON. OLIVER LYTTELTON
Minister of Production
House of Commons, March 21, 1945
I must confess straight away that this Bill* is a "middle-of-the-road" Meas-
ure, as the Americans say. It certainly does not hug the left curb. It does not
seek to seize industry by the nose, and put it just where the State would like to
put it. In certain directions it seeks delay during which the Government can
influence the location of industry. On the other hand, it seeks to control, sub-
ject to important safeguards, what I may call the further industrialization of
certain areas. It does not arrest industrial development in those areas, but it says
that it shall not take place without license and without a small easement in re-
gard to small extensions to existing factories.
The first question with which I ought to deal before I come to more detailed
matters is whether the Bill is a sensible and practical approach to what every one
in the House regards as one of the urgent and current problems of our day. Is it
a compromise which will secure the objects which we all, in every part of the
House, have in mind? Is it a compromise which will secure these objects with-
out fettering and handcuffing industry at every turn, and that at a time when we
look to industry to be lively and enterprising, seeking new markets and new
products, and contributing to the new prosperity which we hope we shall secure
after the war?
Distribution of Industry Bill.
Distribution of Industry
Insulation From Unemployment
I do not think that I need trouble the House with very many arguments about
the disadvantages of indefinite increase in the industrialization of certain areas
of the country. I do not propose to devote very much time to it; but there are
three main aspects of the problem upon which I feel that I must touch. I think
it is unnecessary to deploy very long arguments about the advantages of diversi-
fying industry. It is a palliative even if it is not a cure for unemployment, and,
just in the same way as bankers like to spread their advances over a number of in-
dustries, so that if one is in a depressed state, the advances are carried by the
prosperity of the others, so, in the field of employment, we wish to avoid dis-
tricts being entirely dependent upon one industry, where conditions, such as the
failure of crops in the primary producing countries, may produce abnormal de-
pression. Nor do I think that, on the subject of amenities, very much need be
said. Nobody will dispute that it would be folly to allow industrial fumes to
percolate through a housing estate.
Amenity of the Countryside
All these things are common ground. Nor-although this is an industrial
subject, I must. refer to this aspect-should we allow, if we are wise, our country-
side, to which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Montgomery (Mr.
C. Davies) made some reference, and which is an economic as well as an aesthetic
asset, to be despoiled by an indefinite and uncontrolled industrialization. This is
the most beautiful country in the world. Why should it be spoiled if it can be
There are other points to which hon. Members have referred, but the one
which I would like to stress still more is the matter of military security. Looking
back today, I think of some of the things which have happened with an amazed
smile, but those things at which we can now smile were at one time a source of
gnawing anxiety and suspense. Would it surprise the House to know that in this
country at a certain time there was only one drop hammer which could forge the
Spitfire crankshaft. Now that is all over. I used to watch one or two black spots
in our production which really, without exaggeration, kept me awake at night.
If we had been knocked out, at the best our production would have been terribly
retarded, and at the worst might have been stopped altogether until we had the
opportunity of drawing from the production of other countries. I do suggest
that, however much we believe in the success of the world security organiza-
tion, it is only the commonest of common sense, to try to make our war poten-
tial-a horrible piece of modern jargon for our ability to make weapons of war
and to sustain the civil population while we are at war-and to make those in-
dustries, as invulnerable as possible.
We cannot do that without a certain measure of direction. Our military ad-
visers are unanimous that dispersal is the first road to safety. I am afraid it is
obvious that the modern weapons, of which we have had some taste in the last
few months, are only in their infancy. That word carries no suggestion of inno-
cence with it. We may be sure that all parts of the United Kingdom, every nook -
and cranny of the country, will be within range of those weapons, when they
are more highly developed. And if they are all in range, it is necessary to dis-
perse the vital parts of our war-making potential, as far as we can.
I submit to the House that these three grounds, the balance of industry,
which gives a certain insulation from unemployment in all parts of the country,
amenity and military security, are in themselves overwhelming arguments, in-
British Speeches of the Day
controvertible arguments, for the need for some Measure or other. I think this
Bill makes the right approach-perhaps not a final one but it goes a very long
way-to solving these three questions.
The Positive Powers of the Bill
The-second subject with which I should like to deal is whether the Bill goes
too far. Again, I must submit that the Bill is not a plan for passionate planners.
I think it would be exaggerating to say that. But it does give power to the Gov-
ernment to deal with this problem under certain main headings. First, it gives
the Government the right to build plants in Development Areas, and make them
available, by sale or lease, to thdse who wish to establish industries in these De-
velopment Areas. Secondly, it gives financial help, first to local authorities and
trading estates-companies not trading for profit-to improve the access, the rail
and water communications, gas, or whatever it may be, in the Development
Areas; and thirdly, it gives the individual companies annual grants in aid, and
also loans to permit them to overcome the initial handicaps which there may be
in establishing themselves in a Development Area.
Let me say that the Government regard the most desirable form of assistance
in this matter, as being the assistance to local authorities to improve the services
in the Development Areas. If it is done in this way, there is no question of favor-
ing one firm against another; no charges of favoritism to this or that industry
can be levelled. It is only a public authority overcoming the handicaps to the
establishment of a new industry which we all know to exist in some of these
areas. When we come to the individual firms, it is very important to notice that
the assistance is, in the first place, by annual grants.. That entirely rules out the
suggestion that part of the Government's plan is to subsidize for ever and a day
an industry which cannot stand on its own feet. The financial provisions of the
Bill are intended to overcome the initial handicap, to allow the Development
Areas to rank on the same basis as other parts of the country, and the loans, if
any are made to individual companies, will have to be repaid. So these financial
provisions are designed not to favor indefinitely those companies that establish
themselves in these areas, but merely to overcome the initial difficulties and
handicaps which may be inherent ii establishing themselves there.
The Neutral and Negative Powers
The hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. Brown) in a delightful divertissement this
afternoon-I am sorry he is not in his place-described the Bill, in a series of
striking phrases, as a "veneer on a vacuum" and so on. His speech was very
like a chocolate eclair: delicious to consume, but when one had eaten it there
was extraordinarily little nutritive value, very few calories in it. At the end, I
found a little more than a flick of whipped cream 'on the moustache. It was a
charming and interesting interlude, but the hon. Member was unfair when he
said that the Bill was a negative approach to the subject. I do not want to over-
simplify things or become unfair, but the facts spoil many of those epigrams.
The Bill has two positive parts to its one neutral part and its one negative part.
The positive parts are in those Clauses which I have already discussed. They are,
first, the power to deal with the Development Areas, and, second, the power to
provide financial assistance to local authorities to erect factories in those areas
and to provide financial assistance for individual firms. Nothing could be more
positive than those two. Are these the "veneer on a vacuum"? I have never
found anyone to whom I lent money describe it as a vacuum. There is one neu-
tral power in the Bill-if it is a power-that is the power to call for a delay
of three months in the establishment of a new industrial unit, to allow the in-
Distribution of Industry
fluence of the Government to make itself felt; and there is one negative power
in Clause 9, which is designed not to wrench existing industries out of areas and
to put them into other areas, but to prevent the indefinite industrialization of cer-
An Amendment and Its Drawbacks
The Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall (Sir G.
Schuster) performs a useful service. My hon. Friend drew attention to the need
for some large conspectus of our national industrial problems. I agree with him
about that, but I find it difficult at this time to go further'than the Bill goes.
We are still at war. It is very difficult to see how the industrial future of the
country is going to develop. We must at all costs avoid getting into a stagnant
frame of mind in dealing with the development of our natural resources, of
which the principal is coal. The discovery of new metals, such as magnesium,
may make the industrial location which appears very desirable today undesirable
in three or four years' time. But I would suggest to those hon. Members who
moved and seconded the Amendment, that this plan is sufficiently flexible to
make us able to fit these new developments into our general pattern. The inde-
pendent tribunal mentioned in the Amendment does not commend itself to His
Majesty's Government. A tribunal of this kind, on a matter of Government
policy, would be a mere evasion of Government responsibility. An independent
tribunal cannot be responsible to a Minister. If it is responsible to a Minister
it is not independent. I am sure this House would not wish to see its powers
on so vital a matter weakened by the setting up of an independent tribunal,
which cannot be under the same Parliamentary control and under the same Parlia-
mentary scrutiny as a Minister, who has to stand at this Box day by day, and
answer questions and justify his policy.
The Development Areas
I would like to revert to the four points which I mentioned earlier. First
there is the power to build plant in the Development Areas. Again, I think that
some remarks of hon. Members have got a little out of balance on this matter.
There is no suggestion of pulling into these Development Areas work from other
areas, or that they should be artificially raised above what is desirable, or above
a certain target. But in these Development Areas you have what is called the
social capital; there are the schools, the roads, the power, the light and what you
will. There is the population, housed very often we must admit in conditions
which require improvement and which we shall seek to improve by other Measures.
But the fact remains that the work that is available to that population and to
that social capital is not enough to maintain the population which is there. All
we seek to do is to bring work into those areas, so that we do not waste the
social capital, and the housing facilities, but try to bring them into balance. It
is not the idea to wrench industries out of existing areas, and to create exotic
industries in their place. The idea, to put it at the lowest, and for the sake of
mere economy, is to secure that this social capital, these installations and this
housing, are brought into balance with the work which we can bring to the areas.
Industry Best Helped When Fluid
The second thing is finance, on which I have already touched. This provision
derives to some extent from the Special Areas legislation, and it is of the two
kinds that I have described. I think I left out the matter of the derelict sites
which it covers. I want to say again that its object is to aid the local authorities
to improve the general basic services. I think as a rule the Government help
British Speeches of the Day
should be given but not so much by means of loans, or annual grants to indi-
vidual companies, because, in the latter case, questions of favoring one competitor
or another become difficult to decide. I do not know if this is the moment to
state very clearly an important matter of policy in regard to these affairs. It is
not, I repeat, at all the intention, that we are to develop industries in the De-
velopment Areas at the expense of existing industry. As a matter of fact, in-
dustry today is in a very fluid condition. For six years, I would remind hon Mem-
bers, all forms of expansion of industry for peace production have been arrested
by the needs of the war. There are, on the books and in the offices of companies,
tens of millions of pounds worth of plans for the expansion of peacetime indus-
try. This sort of occasion occurs very rarely-perhaps only after a great war.
We all know how difficult it is in peacetime, when industry is more or less static,
to try to rearrange the pattern, in a way which we should like, but that is not the
condition today. The condition is highly fluid, and we can influence it a great
deal in the direction of solving the problem with which we are faced. . .
A Case in Point
I must say, speaking from the experience of the last six months, there is
every sign that industrialists are most anxious to help in solving the problem
which is in the minds of everyone here tonight. Indeed, putting it at the very
lowest, it would be a very foolish man who located a plant in an area which the
Government advised was a bad area, rather than in an area which the Govern-
ment liked, provided always that the balance of industrial advantage was the
same. Again, I say that industry is in such a fluid condition that, again and
again, we have found that we can influence, without powers of direction, indus-
trial location. An instance occurred the other day of a manufacturer of textile
machinery who intended to increase and expand his industry after the war. He
had two or three plants in a certain town in England, and proposed to put an-
other one down in the same place. The Board of Trade and my Ministry con-
sidered that it would be very difficult to find the extra labor in that particular
town to man the new plant which he proposed to put there. He was approached,
and he said "As far as I am concerned, anywhere in England will be the
And he has in fact planned that plant in another town about 25 miles away,
where 4e feel that there will be difficulty in absorbing the labor which has been
directed into that area owing to war conditions, andwhich will, to some extent,
become redundant unless we can place a new industry there. This new arrange-
ment has done a double thing: first, we have prevented an overload taking place
in the town where he planned his plant; secondly, we have secured the absorp-
tion of the redundant labor in the other town. . .
I think I have covered in a rather hurried way the inain parts of this Bill
which, I believe, is not an unworthy compromise. There is one more thing I
must add and it is that the Government certainly have a plan. It is not a plan
to say what industry shall make and where it shall make; it is a plan aimed at,
first, the balance and diversification of industry, second, the preservation of ameni-
ties of our country and, third, at military security. These are the three touch-
stones by which we shall judge the location of industry and I ask the House to
give this Bill a Second reading in the firm belief that it makes a thoroughly
constructive approach to a subject which is very dear to the heart of every hon.
Member of this House. [House of Commons Debates]
Monopolies and Cartels
RT. HON. LORD WOOLTON
Minister of Reconstruction
House of Lords, March 21, 1945
I should like the whole of Government policy on this domestic issue to be
judged on the policy of maintaining employment. I come back again and again to
that; I regard it as the most vital of all our social problems-the maintenance of
employment at a high and stable level. That-must not be frustrated by restrictive
practices. The test which I think must be applied to any practice is not what are
the motives of the people concerned-I have always found it very difficult to
find out what other people's motives are; they are in their minds and not neces-
sarily correctly interpreted. The test is, is the practice hindering or helping the
success of a policy of economic expansion and full employment? That is what
matters, not what the motive is thought to be.
Secondly, I should like to say that by "restrictive agreements" the Govern-
ment have in mind the trade practices of both workers and employers. This we
make plain in the opening sentence of paragraph 54 of the White Paper:*
"Workers must examine their trade practices and customs to ensure that
they do not constitute a serious impediment to an expansionist economy
Sand so defeat the object of a full employment program.". .
I have found a complete agreement among all parties on two issues. One
is that this growth of very large firms was a continuing growth. The other is
that there was danger that it might work against the public interest, and that
the way to solve that problem was not by making accusations against these peo-
ple, but by endeavoring to arrive at some form of Government practice pre-
scribed by legislation which would enable a full inquiry to be made ... into the
activities of these organizations, and which will allow these organizations to have
the.opportunity of seeking a Government inquiry into their activities in order
that they might be judged on these activities. I have found agreement on that,
but that is a generalization.
The Practical Difficulties
Now the difficulty that I myself have found is when we come to the details
of the sort of control that should be exercised. It is in carrying this into practice
that difficulties arise. We must be careful that in trying to deal with the one
problem effectively we do not create other problems. The noble Lord, Lord
Nathan's speech today, if he will permit me to say so, was, I thought, a very
balanced and fair speech, because at one moment he showed us the dangers that
he described as being in the public mind, but at another moment he very fairly
showed us that the efficiency of industry must not be interfered with. Also he
did give the fullest possible credit, I thought, to the efficiency of many of these
organizations that he feared. But when he came to the practical issues then he
made suggestions that I found difficult.
Scrutineers and Invigilators
The noble Lord referred to the essential safeguards to secure that the law
controlling monopoly should be observed, which need not involve any interfer-
Employment Policy (Cmd. 6527).
British Speeches of the Day
ence with, or usurpation of, the unfettered responsibility of the industry. Then
he went on:
"There must be Government appointment of inspectors, invigilators,
scrutineers, periodic investigations into the detailed activities of these monopo-
listic concerns; and, furthermore, it will involve as a parallel the presence
within the machinery of government of persons capable, by their practical
training, skill and experience, of scrutinizing prices, production programmes,
trade agreements, with a view to ascertaining whether or not the law is
The noble Lord was good enough, as he always is, to pay me the courtesy of send-
ing me beforehand the observations he was going to make. That is why I am able
to quote so precisely what he said. He then went on to say this:
"The mechanization of scrutiny and enforcement must be simple and
effective and interfere as little as possible with the normal activities of
businessmen, who are the most fitted to run their businesses."
I thought that there the noble Lord really got to the root of what is the diffi-
culty in this issue. It is no use our passing declaratory laws unless we provide
machinery whereby this thing is going to happen. I did find it difficult, when
I thought about it, to see where these people were going to come from.
Skilled but Unproductive People
What are we going to do? In these organizations we are going to have people
who have been trained in business, people who have these particular qualities and
who are going to investigate in detail all the activities of the firm. They will have
to be very highly skilled people if they are going to be effective. They .will indeed
have to go right into the safes in the counting houses, they will have to see the
agreements that are made between the various companies. Well, I must say that
is a responsibility of a very great order. It will involve a very high professional
standard for people to allow themselves to be entrusted with the secrets of
different organizations. If this is the line of policy we are going to pursue, we
must be sure that we have this very considerable number of people who are going
to be able to carry out. this work.
There is another factor that we have to consider. Is it going to be a good'
thing to have in industry all these non-productive people of high technical quality
going round making investigations all over the place, and what for? In order to
see what these monopolistic bodies are doing. I want to check the abuses of .
monopoly, but I am bound to tell the noble Lord that I was not attracted by this
idea of having an enormous number of people, as I am sure that it would involve,
going through the industries of the country making inquiries all the time into
their activities. I would rather judge them by the results. As to the idea of putting
Government directors on to these organizations in the hope that they are going
to be effective-well, believe me, my Lords; I can speak herd with knowledge and
experience. They are going to be there as directors of the organization. What for?
To detect the irregularities of their colleagues. They would find themselves get-
ting a very small amount of information, and I think they would be most uncom-
fortable people, from the nature of their appointment, to have on the boards of
the companies. I do not think it would be very effective as an organization. ..
Judge by the Quality of the Goods
I am not trying to make difficulties, because I believe this problem has to be
solved and I am personally eager to find a solution to it. The only thing is, I do
not want to clutter up the organization of industry with any more inspectors than
Monopolies and Cartels
we need, if we can solve this problem in some other manner and leave these gentle-
men, who by hypothesis must be men of high intelligence and of considerable
knowledge, to occupy their time in production. For myself, I have a personal
preference to judge by results. Let the judgment be whether the quality of the
goods that these combines produce and the prices at which they sell them are
things that go towards an expanding economy.
When we come to the problem of trade associations, then surely we find that
those associations are a very varied body of people. Some of them are, I am sure,
beneficent. Some of the trade agreements that are made are arrived at from wise
business reasons and serve good national purposes. But I have no doubt about it
that some of them are doing harm to this country. Surely what we have to do is
to judge them separately and not collectively. It is no use this House condemning
trade associations. Let us judge the trade associations entirely by their results . .
The Debate Is To Educate the Public
It is to that test that I want us to put all these trade agreements and trade
associations. Let them come along and present their propositions to the Govern-
ment of the country. If they are good, then let them stand and let them have
public approval; and if they are not good then they ought to be suppressed.
I am not going to deal with the problems of retail trade to which the noble
Lord referred, because that it a subject on which I have a great deal of knowledge
and I might be tempted into a much longer debate than I think is necessary. I am
certain of this: that a public debate on these issues is a good thing. . We are
not here, and I am sure noble Lords on the other side of the House are not here,
to make general condemnations. ...
Nor to give general approvals. We are holding this debate today with no other
object in mind than helping to proceed by the refining of thought that comes
from debate, in the education of the public mind on this.issue. Now the noble
Lord might say, "Yes, but what precisely are the Government going to do, and
when are they going to do it ?" . .
A Report on Patents
We have already started an inquiry into company law. The question of patents
is indeed one of the matters of the greatest importance in this regard. Your Lord-
ships know that under Mr. Kenneth Swann we have appointed a Committee. Listen
to its terms of reference:
"To consider the provision of these Acts"-that is, the Patents and Designs
Acts-"for the prevention of the abuse of monopoly rights and to suggest any
amendments of the statutory provisions or of procedure thereunder which, in their
opinion, would facilitate the expeditious settlement and the reduction of the costs
of legal proceedings in patent cases and would encourage the use of inventions
and of processes in industry and trade."
We await that report, and there is evidence that the Government are taking
action in that matter. The noble Lord may say to me, "Yes, but when you have
finished your speech will you tell me when you are going to introduce a Bill?"
The answer is, I am not able to tell when we shall introduce a Bill ...
The Civil Service Goes On
I do not know whether we shall introduce a Bill into this Parliament or not,
because I do not know how long this Parliament is going to last. But this is a
problem of great importance, and let me assure the House that I personally, with
342 British Speeches of the Day
my colleagues, have been devoting a great deal of time to it with a view to the
drafting of legislation. How far we shall get I do not know. If I thought that
this Parliament was going on for a long time I should be a great deal more forth-
coming on the subject of whether we shall introduce legislation. I notice that my
right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade did make a statement saying
that he hopes to introduce legislation. I do not know whether we shall or not.
But His Majesty's Civil Service goes on. The information we have collected, the
lines along which our thought is proceeding, whether we are in office or other
people are in office, will be available. And I believe there is an opinion in the
country-which this House reflected the last time it discussed the question, . .
that this is an issue on which a court of some sort should be established to which
the monopolist or the citizen through the Government can appeal in order that
practices can be investigated. I hope that statement will be regarded by the noble
Lord as reasonably forthcoming. [House of Lords Debates]
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of Stace for the Colonies
House of Lords, April 10, 1945
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. -I am afraid
I am taking up a great deal of the time of your Lordships' House this afternoon,
but I have seldom at any time had greater satisfaction in speaking from this Bench
than I have in moving the Second Reading of this Bill. The whole history of the
expenditure of funds provided by the British taxpayer for Colonial development
and welfare is relatively very recent. It began only in 1929 with the passing of
the Colonial Development Act. Up to that time it was taken as axiomatic that the
Colonies were responsible for their own finances, and that it was no part of the
function of the British Treasury to provide any finance for them at all. That Act
provided for the expenditure of up to 1,000,000 a year, and it was intended not
only to assist Colonial development but also as a contribution towards the solution
of the unemployment problem here at home. That Act, after it lapsed, was
replaced in 1940 by the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, which provided
for expenditure up to 5,000,000 a year for schemes of welfare and development
in general and up to 500,000 a year for research. The Government now wish
to make a substantially larger provision for Colonial development, and at the same
time to remove an inconvenience which has been found in the practical operation
of the 1940 Act. I shall refer to this last point in a moment.
An Important Innovation
We are accordingly presenting to Parliament the present Bill, which provides
120,000,000 for all purposes, induding research, spread over ten years, ending
in March, 1956, representing an average annual expenditure of 12,000,000.
Subject to the limit laid down in Clause I that no more than 17,500,000 shall be
spent in any one year, the ten-year period is treated as a whole, and this represents
a very important departure. Up to now, for reasons which I will go into in a
moment, it has been found impossible in any one year to take advantage of the
whole of the 5,000,000 provided by the taxpayers; the balance has not remained
available for further expenditure in another year but, in accordance with the
normal Treasury practice, has returned to the Treasury. Now during these war
Colonial Development and Welfare Bill
years, for a variety of reasons, notably shortage of staff and the difficulties of
providing raw materials and transport, it has been impossible to spend the whole
of the money provided by Parliament, and I anticipate that in the immediate
post-war period there may still be difficulties of the same sort. This new departure
therefore is of very great importance to the future of Colonial development and,
I believe, will have very far-reaching results, not only in making planning possible
for a longer period of years than has been possible in the past, but also by elim-
inating the temptation to propose schemes of doubtful or low priority rather than
not spend the money at all.
Colonies Will Plan for Themselves
The Bill has so far had a very favorable reception in the Colonies and else-
where, but I have seen some criticism in the Colonies in particular on the ground
that it entails what has been described as bureaucratic planning from Whitehall. I
do not suppose that that impression exists in your Lordships' House, but I do assure
your Lordships that it is a false impression. There must be schemes of general
application which, rightly and properly, should originate in Whitehall: schemes,
for instance, for dealing with such forms of research as are of general application,
and not dealing with a particular problem in a particular Colony obviously should
originate here in London and not in any particular Colony. Possibly research in
such matters as fisheries may be matters of general application which are better
started and directed from London than from a particular Colony; possibly also
such matters as the training of post-war entrants into the Colonial Service may be
matters of general application started from here. But the great majority of schemes
of development or welfare will originate not in Whitehall but in the Colony con-
cerned, and the details of such schemes will be worked out, not here, but in the
I am sure your Lordships will agree that there must be some general supervision
of expenditure to make sure that a balance is fairly kept between the different
Colonies and between the different forms and objects of development and welfare.
I think your Lordships will agree that Whitehall-that is to say, the Colonial
Office-would be very sadly failing in its duties and responsibilities if it failed
to make provision for matters which are of common and general value to the whole
Colonial Empire; but I hope no one believes that we are going to attempt to
initiate or work out every detail of particular schemes affecting individual Colonies.
The planning of those must be the work of those who are immediately concerned.
The Aden Protectorate
I might at this point, before going on to the general policy envisaged by the
Bill, explain Clause 2, which exempts the Aden Protectorate from the provisions of
Section one of the Act of 1940, that the law of the Colony must provide reasonable
facilities for trade unions before any Colony can receive assistance under the
Act. The reasons for this are that conditions in the Protectorate of Aden-which
is, of course, quite different from the Colony-make anything in the nature of
trade union legislation quite impossible. The Colony is under the direct administra-
tion by us, the British, but the Protectorate consists of a number of independent
territories which for many years have been in treaty relations, but no more than
treaty relations, with His Majesty's Government. The majority of those terri-
tories are small and they consist, in many cases, of no more than a few villages,
though Lahez in the west and Mukalla in the east are of considerable size. In
the great majority of these territories there exists no legislative machinery of
any kind-there is no law-making machinery of any kind-and His Majesty's
Government, linked with those territories merely by treaties which deal with
their relations with foreign Powers or, in some cases, with the giving of advice,
British Speeches of the* Day
have no power to legislate for them. Of course, there are no trade unions in those
territories nor are there ever likely to be, for there are no industries in which trade
unionists might be employed. It would therefore be a perfect farce to attempt to
apply this section to those territories.
Suffering Caused by War
At the same time, special circumstances have arisen which make it very desirable
to bring them within the scope of the Act and to expend money on their devel-
opment and welfare. In normal peacetime conditions there existed a considerable
movement between those territories and the great towns of the Far East, notably
Penang, Rangoon and Singapore, as well as the Dutch East Indies, and very
considerable sums in ground rents on real estate in these cities used to flow into
the Aden Protectoiate. This source of income has; of course, been entirely cut off
by the war. In addition to this very serious loss, the territories have suffered
severely both from drought and from locusts, and the shipping shortage has
made it impossible for them to supplement their own resources by buying from
India. There has therefore been great suffering and hardship in these territories,
and while my right honorable friend attaches great importance to doing nothing
which would interfere with their own administration, sap their own self-reliance,
or destroy their independence, I am sure your Lordships will agree that we should
not wash our hands of them and that we should give them what help we can.
We shall have to see how best we can help these territories, but there are openings,
I think, for agricultural development, for irrigation, and for health, and educa-
tional work, and all those will be investigated and gone into.
I hope I have not taken up too much of your Lordships' time with this compara-
tively unimportant provision of the Bill, but I have always thought that the Aden
Protectorate is a most fascinating and -interesting part of the world. Also it
illustrates the astonishing and immense complexity and variety of our Colonial
responsibilities and commitments. I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will ap-
preciate the reasons for making this exemption in the Act. I come back to the
main principle of the Bill, which provides for assistance to the Colonies rather
more-than double that provided under the Act of 1940, and, as I tried to make
plain, the provision is made over the period of ten years as a whole. It would be
quite absurd to try and maintain that the money provided will cope with all the
needs of the Colonies or that vastly greater sums could not profitably be ex-
pended; but it is a contribution towards the needs of the Colonies for expenditure
on their development, and it is as much as His Majesty's Government think it
right to ask the taxpayers, having regard to their enormous burdens, to afford at
the present moment.
Assistance and Self-Help
I think it is not unreasonable to hope, with some confidence, that the resources
provided by this Bill will, in themselves, add substantially to the economic re-
sources and to the borrowing powers of the Colonies, and especially of the poorer
Colonies. One of the worst evils of the old system under which each Colony
was economically self-supporting and independent, was that it was almost im-
possible for a poor Colony to escape from the slough of poverty. The Colony,
with few or no developed resources of its own, had little or no borrowing power,
no means of raising money, and therefore no means of developing its resources. I
anticipate that this money, wisely and well spent as I believe it will be, will be sup-
plemented to a very considerable extent indeed by money which has been accumu-
lating during the war years in the Colonies themselves, and by investment in pro-
ductive enterprise in the Colonies from private sources in this country. These war
Colonial Development and Welfare Bill
years have been for many of the Colonies years of financial prosperity. As in this
country, many of the wage-earners have earned as they never have before, and these
high earnings have been accompanied, as in this country, by a dearth of consumer
goods, so that there is money awaiting investment in the pockets of the people.
Colonial Government revenues have also been built up during these war years, and
the funds now in the hands of Colonial Governments and of private individuals
in the Colonies should certainly play their part in the future of Colonial develop-
ment. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State attaches as great importance
to the principle that in the years to come there must be self-help as well as as-
sistance from this country, as he does to the encouragement, in the interests of
the Colonies themselves, of the investment of capital from this country.
An Adviser on Colonial Development
It must always be the object of the Colonial Office and of Colonial Govern-
ments to protect Colonial peoples from anything in the nature of exploitation, but
the prospect of facing possible losses in the hope of a reasonable return is not
exploitation, and I certainly hope that there is considerable possibility of private
investment in Colonial ventures in the future. With this new development, my
right hon. Friend has decided that the moment has now come to appoint an
adviser on development in the Colonial Empire, charged with the special responsi-
bility of the administration of these funds, and he has been fortunate in securing
Sir Frank Stockdale for this post. Sir Frank Stockdale, as your Lordships prob-
ably know, has done remarkable and most successful work as Controller of De-
velopment and Welfare in the West Indies. He has a wide knowledge not only
of the West Indies but also of the Colonies generally, having served in the Agri-
cultural Service first in the West Indies and then becoming Director of Agriculture
in Mauritius. In 1916 he became Director of Agriculture in Ceylon and Registrar
of Co-operative Societies there, and from 1930 to 1940 he was the Agricultural
Adviser to the Secretary of State, during which time he travelled widely over a
very large part of the Colonial Empire seeing at first hand the agricultural prob-
lems of most of the Colonies. Sir Frank has therefore had as wide experience
as any one man could well have had of Colonial conditions and perhaps more
important still he has the well-earned confidence not only of Colonial Govern-
ments but of the people in the Colonies. My right hon. Friend is quite confident
that his wide experience and wisdom will be of the greatest value in ensuring that
this substantial expenditure by the people of this country in the Colonies will be
spent to the best advantage.
A Higher Standard of Living
Your Lordships will, I am sure, appreciate the importance of the wise spending
of this money. It could very easily be frittered away on schemes, very excellent
no doubt in themselves but of no permanent value in building up the economic
productive power of the countries concerned. This Bill is called the Colonial
Development and Welfare Bill, and the title gives an indication of the two parallel
lines on which we must proceed. I have stressed, and purposely stressed, the de-
sirability of not frittering away the money which I hope Parliament will provide on
unproductive schemes and of devoting it so far as possible to schemes which will
make a permanent contribution to the wealth and earning power and economic
resources of the Colonies. But of course it is quite impossible in practice to draw
a hard-and-fast line between development and welfare, and it is not contemplated
that assistance shall be limited to schemes giving an immediate or even an ultimately
foreseeable economic return. Medical expenditure and expenditure on education,
for instance, though giving no money return, show abundant benefits iii the long
run, improving prosperity, purchasing power, and the standard of living.
British Speeches of the Day
The ultimate object of the expenditure under this Act is the improvement of
the standard of living of the Colonial peoples. But it has never been in our minds
that the money should be used directly for that end, that is, that it should be spent
on direct additions to Colonial incomes. A very short calculation would show your
Lordships that considerable though the money is, its effect would be quite nega-
tive merely as an addition to the incomes of the people living in the Colonies.
Some 60,000,000 could not be financially enriched by an expenditure of 120,000,-
000 over ten years. But we do believe our aim will be achieved of improving the
S wealth-producing power of the Colonies, including both material capital and per-
sonal fitness, knowledge and skill which will enable the Colonial peoples them-
selves to effect a continuous improvement in their own standard of living.
I believe that it is not taking an unduly optimistic view to say .that before
this Act has run its course in 1956 it will have made a real and substantial improve-
ment not only in the wealth and purchasing power but in the physical fitness of
the peoples of the Colonies. It would be a mistake on the one hand to think of
this proposed expenditure as a system of charity or relief. We do not believe in
the long run that that is the best way in which we with our resources can help
the Colonies. Nor, on the other hand, should it be looked upon merely as an
investment. We believe that by helping the peoples of the Colonies to build up
and increase their own prosperity, health and wealth, we are both doing our duty
by them and doing something towards helping a war shattered world to regain its
equilibrium. (House of Lords Debates]
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
House of Lords, April 10, 1945
My Lords, I am very much obliged to the noble Lord for giving me an oppor-
tunity of making a brief statement about the visit which, on the invitation of
GeneraLSir Oliver Leese and with the concurrence of the Secretary of State for
War, I recently paid to the West and East African troops in India and Burma.
I went with the specific object of visiting the East and West African troops and
with-that object only, and I trust no one will think I am in any way slighting the
war effort of the British and Indian troops in the Burma campaign if I make no
reference to them. Their effort is, of course, quite tremendous, but my time was
limited and I could not have done the job I went to do if I had strayed from my
own particular purpose of visiting the East and West African troops. My visit
could only be a sort one but, thanks to the very full program which Sir Oliver
Leese and his commanders were good enough to arrange for me, I was able to see
a considerable number of combatant units-the 11th East African Division, the
22nd East African Brigade and the 81st and 82nd West African Divisions-as
well as a number of hospitals, units of civil and transport services and reinforce-
Feats of Arms
I think it has hardly been realized to what a very considerable extent the sub-
stantial numbers of African troops in this campaign have been helping to beat the
Japanese. They have performed great feats of arms. To take only one example,
African Troops in India and Burma
the achievement of the 150-mile advance of the 11th East African Division down
the Kabaw Valley and of the Chindwin through the mud and rain of the monsoon
last year was a great feat of arms in itself and a very valuable preliminary to this
year's success. Equally the long and arduous advance of the West Africans in
the Keladan was a most valuable contribution to the operations now crowned, I
think it is no exaggeration to say, with complete success, round Akyab. As with
our own citizen army, there has been laid on the Staff and officers concerned
the difficult task of converting peaceful men from village or town into fighting
soldiers with the minimum of delay. The African Army has had to expand very
rapidly to meet the emergency and, while many of the officers are drawn from the
ranks of the Civil Service in East or West Africa, or have had previous service
with the King's African Rifles or the Royal West African Frontier Force or have
lived in Africa like the considerable number of East African settlers, Rhodesians
and South Africans, there were many who came straight from home and had had
no previous experience of serving with Africans. They had to start from scratch
learning to be soldiers and learning new languages and new ways of thought.
Lack of Water Worse Than Japs
I was immensely impressed by the way in which this expansion of the African
forces had been carried out. I was impressed everywhere by the smartness of the
Africans, sometimes under very difficult conditions, by their keenness in drill and
in turning out a guard. I saw one unit which had come back from carrying out
a very arduous exercise in the jungle. They had been away more than a week.
I saw them before they returned to billets and I was immensely impressed by their
smartness. But it would be a great mistake to think that the Africans are only
good at drill or are only parade-ground soldiers. East and West African soldiers,
of the so-called non-warrior as well as the warrior races, have been campaigning in
the most difficult country and under extremely arduous conditions. In the Kabaw
Valley campaign the East Africans had to manhandle their motor transport nearly
all the way under conditions of deep mud and torrential rain, and the West
Africans in their campaign had to cut a track through dense jungle, which took
them six weeks, in order to be able to use their transport at all. On the only
occasion on which I was able to see West Africans actually in action facing the
enemy, they seemed to be absolutely steady and in high spirits. The one thing
that worried them was the shortage of water for washing purposes. Africans
have a passion for washing themselves frequently, and there is barely enough water
to drink and none to wash in. That worried them far more than did the presence
in the immediate vicinity of the Japanese.
Health and Morale
I felt no doubt at all, on leaving those troops, that their morale was very high,
and also that their health was very good. The doctors had been rather afraid that
the relative immunity which Africans have obtained from all types of malaria
prevalent in their own countries might be of no avail against the somewhat dif-
ferent types of malaria prevalent in Burma, but, on the whole, those fears have
been found to be ill-founded, and the incidence of malaria, when one compares
these campaigns with campaigns in the past, has been remarkably low. The food
has been very good indeed, and that has certainly helped to keep the African
troops fit and cheerful. As a result of the very considerable efforts made by those
concerned to provide them, so far as possible, with such of their own drinks-
like millet beer for the East Africans, and rice wine in default of palm wine for
the West Africans-supplies have been kept up, and this has also contributed to
the health and cheerfulness of the men. I visited a number of hospitals, and was
glad to hear that there had been no shortage of drugs or medical requisites; that
British Speeches of the Day
these were in sufficient supply. In one of these hospitals I was very much interested
to hear high praise of the work done by one of the West African chaplain officers,
a Yoruba from Nigeria. I was very much struck by the remarkable influence
which he had.
A Belgian Casualty Clearing Station
Although this is not strictly an Empire or a Colonial matter, I should like to
take this opportunity of paying a very special tribute to the admirable Belgian
casualty clearing station which has been serving throughout the war with the East
Africans. This unit, under Colonel, Thomas, with Belgian officers and a staff of
Congo Africans, came over from the Congo into East Africa when the war first
touched Africa, and has been with the 11th East African Division throughout all
these campaigns-East Africa, Abyssinia, Madagascar-and followed it in the
monsoon campaign right away down through the Kabaw Valley. For sixty miles
every ambulance had to be winched from tree to tree or manhandled, as its ordi-
nary motive power was no good. The unit has done very remarkable work. I
heard the highest praise from everyone of the wonderful spirit of the officers and
nursing orderlies alike. And it is a most remarkable achievement that those
vehicles which went through that extremely arduous campaign are still serviceable
and in use.
I was able to see a number of African patients in hospital, and my own im-
pression confirmed what the doctors and nurses told me-that the African is a
wonderfully cheerful and uncomplaining patient and immenselycourageous in the
endurance of pain. I used to ask African patients, especially badly-wounded men,
whether they had been able to see the Japanese who had inflicted their injuries
upon them. The answer, quite often was "No." I then used to say "In spite of
that were you able to kill any?" and usually the answer was: "Oh, yes, numbers
beyond all counting."
Waiting for Jap Aircraft
I should like also to make some reference to those African units which,
though they have been for some time in South-East Asia, have had no chance
of any encounter with the enemy. I felt particularly sorry for the various heavy
anti-aircraft batteries which, although they have been for some time in Burma,
have hardly seen one Japanese aeroplane, and which have had the difficult and
thankless task of waiting for an enemy who never seems to come. One unit has
never seen so much as one Japanese aircraft. I feel great sympathy with people
who have that kind of task, and I greatly admire the way in which their keen-
ness and discipline have been kept up in these difficult conditions. Useful work
is also being done by West African supply and transport companies op the lines
of communication, and I was told, in many different quarters, that the Africans
have earned for themselves a high reputation as drivers on crowded and, very
often, worse than indifferent roads.
I must mention one other unit which has recently arrived, and which is proving
very popular indeed with the Africans, and doing much to keep up their spirits.
I refer to the Sierra Leone Band, which recently arrived in Burma. I met them
at a football match when they came on the ground at half-time, and a gallant
show they made with their fezzes and their brilliant waistcoats. Whoever was
responsible for sending that unit to Burma did a very good stroke of work indeed.
My general impression of the troops as a whole was that they were in extremely
good spirits, physically fit and sure of themselves. When they -first arrived, the
Japanese were to them an unknown quantity, but they know now, having met
them in action, that they are their masters. They feel absolute confidence that when-
African Troops in India and Burma
ever they meet them again they will be fully capable of beating them, as they
have done in the past.
The Difficulties of Leave
The many commanding officers whose units I visited were very good in
giving me every possible opportunity of talking to other ranks and of trying to
find out whether there were any complaints or worries or grievances in the men's
minds. There is no doubt that at the time of my visit what was worrying them
most was the question of leave. Many of them had been away from their homes
for a very long time. Too prolonged absence is most undesirable in the case of
any troops from any part of the world, but it has, perhaps, an even more serious
impact upon Africans, living under primitive conditions, than upon Europeans.
That was their chief pre-occupation. It is not surprising, because a leave scheme
for European troops had been devised and announced, while the Africans serving
alongside them had not then had any scheme announced for them. That was no
one's fault; the difficulties of shipping are very great and there are obvious and
very great difficulties about drawing up a definite scheme for the Africans. How-
ever, I was able to attend a conference attended by a number of high officers of
the South-East Asia Conrmand, the three Divisional Commanders concerned' in
the field, and the General Officers Commanding in East and West Africa, and I
hope that a scheme will be announced in the fairly near future. The difficulties,
as I have said, are very great, and I fully appreciate them, but this is an urgent
Their Ideas About Their Future
That was far and away the most pressing preoccupation on the men's minds,
but there were others. There was a grievance about the postage to their homes.
I hope that that has now been set right, or will be put right in a very short time.
The other preoccupation which they felt, like English troops, was with regard to
what was going to happen to them in the future. A certain proportion of them said
that all they wanted to do was to go back to their own farms; but others-
and I think that this is very hopeful for the future of the African Colonies-
have much wider and bigger ideas. They have learnt new skills and new trades,
and are very anxious to have the opportunity of using them when they get home.
Decisions have been reached on many of the various benefits-pensions and gratui-
ties and so on-which the African troops will receive on discharge from the Forces,
and a great deal of preliminary work is being done both by East African and
West African Governments on the various difficult problems-which I hope will be
regarded not only as problems but also as opportunities-of the reabsorption of
these men into civil life. They will not be easy problems to solve. Some Africans,
as I say, wanted only to go home and have a good rest, although the life of the
African cultivator is not so much of a rest as all that; but others had very far-
reaching ideas about their future, as it is good and proper that they should.
They are anxious to be afforded protection against non-African competition, and
many of them are anxious to practise in civil life their various new skills and
qualifications. The variety and scope of these new skills impressed me very greatly
during my visit. Before the war the bulk of the African Forces were infantry
soldiers only, armed with rifles only. There were a few other units in West
Africa, and still fewer in East Africa. But now the Africans have expanded into
complete divisions of all arms, and their range of duties and responsibilities has
expanded out of all recognition. Africans have learnt the use of the complicated
British Speeches of the Day
weapons of this war, from Bren guns to howitzers. They have become signallers,
armorers, drivers, mechanics, cooks and bakers, military police, nursing orderlies
and dispensers. I was particularly impressed by a field company of armorers be-
longing to the 11th East African Division. With very little European supervision,
comparatively, those men have been found capable of doing the whole of the
complicated overhauling of the arms of a division, which, after that very long
and difficult campaign in unending mud and rain, needed a good deal of overhaul.
These men were capable of diagnosing and correcting all the manifold and com-
plex defects which can arise in modern weapons in conditions of that kind. It was
a very fine performance.
Africans the Best Radio Men
I was also very much impressed by a signal unit which I visited, and which had
proved especially valuable in intercepting Japanese wireless. Africans have proved
specially efficient at this work-more efficient than either Europeans or Asiatics.
They have remarkable powers of concentration, and interruption (which, of
course, is a normal feature of wireless communication) seems to upset them less
than it does others. That particular kind of skill they have been found to possess
to a greater extent than others. The Army has in fact been acting as a vast
educational machine, not only for teaching all kinds of new trades but also for
teaching these men to serve side by side with British and Indian troops. These
are all experiences which have proved of the greatest possible value to the Africans,
and will prove of the greatest value to the future of Africa. I have no doubt
that these experiences will instil into many Africans, when they get back home, a
determination to make efforts for all kinds of social and material betterment, efforts
without which policies initiated from the top by Governments or officials, no
matter how benevolent, cannot hope to succeed.
It was to me a most remarkable and moving experience to see this great
volunteer Army. Many of the men in this Army have given up good positions at
home; many of them were civil servants. It was a moving experience to see them
serving on the other side of the world, and to know that they had proved the
masters of a very highly-skilled military race. I was deeply touched by the fact
that men who, all through those monsoon campaigns, had been able to keep noth-
ing else dry, had.kept their photograph of the King dry, and kept it as a treasured
possession. I think that the world should know more of what these Africans
have done, of their tremendous efforts, of their loyalty and of their devotion and
I hope that as a result of my visit such troubles and grievances as,they have had-
and they were not many-will be remedied, and that very quickly.
[House of Lords Debates)
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
House of Lords, April 17, 1945
The proposals have undergone an extremely intensive examination both by
the Governments of the United Nations and by those unofficial bodies which are
interested in problems of international co-operation. I think I may say that they
have passed that severe test with flying colors. Very naturally and rightly, the
proposals in their present form are not considered perfect. That was never ex-
The San Francisco Conference
pected either by the officials or by the Governments that were originally concerned
in their formulation. It has been made clear from the start that they are intended
only as a basis for discussion. And they are susceptible, of course, of modification
or amendment in the light of the discussions at San Francisco where the United
Nations are shortly going to meet. But, broadly speaking, the structure of a world
organization, as conceived at Dumbarton Oaks, is evidently not regarded as re-
quiring any very fundamental alteration . .
The noble Viscount (Lord Templewood) will perhaps be interested to know
that the point which he has raised today arose also during the Empire talks last
week, and it was generally agreed there that there ought to be some preamble
to the new charter which stated unequivocally the aims which the world organi-
zation seeks to achieve, the fundamental rights which it seeks to secure-equal
justice for all races, creeds and religions; freedom of the spoken and written
word; no imprisonment without trial, and principles of that kind. I am not
quoting from any conclusion of the talks, but giving some indication of the ideas
that were in the minds of the delegates. . Clearly, I think, there will have to
be some such preamble. I do not think personally that it is very surprising that
no preamble appeared in the original Dumbarton Oaks proposals. After all,
officials are mainly concerned with machinery, and a declaration of fundamental
principles is really a matter for statesmen rather than officials; but this question
of a preamble is one which will undoubtedly arise at San Francisco. . .
Burdens and Obligations
I hope that no one will be under any illusion that when this charter is signed
all our troubles will be over, and permanent and indestructible peace will be auto-
matically ensured. I believe that the structure of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals
is sound, and calculated to achieve the purpose for which it was devised. But it
will do so only if all the nations who are members of the world organization
honor their pledges in the spirit as well as in the letter. These proposals involve-
and it is no good blinking the fact-tremendous obligations and very real sacri-
fices for all nations, both big and small. For the great Powers the sacrifices will
be immense, for on their broad shoulders is going to rest the main responsibility
for the maintenance of peace.
The Right Reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester said that the main aim
of this organization should be to concentrate power in the hands of peace-loviig
nations, and he added that, if the great Powers were determined to abolish war,
they could do so. I entirely agree with every word that the Right Reverend Prelate
used, but what does that mean? It means that the great Powers on whom this
enormous responsibility will lie, will have to keep up great armies, navies and
air forces to be available in any part of the world where peace is threatened.
They must be ready without hesitation to use these forces at the will of the
Security Council, or in fulfillment of those regional agreements to which the
noble Viscount Lord Samuel referred, agreements which must obviously be in
harmony with the charter of the world organization; and, I say quite frankly, this
is going to put a heavy burden particularly on this country.
We are not going to be rich immediately after this war, and we shall have
many admirable objects in the field of social improvement to which we shall all
desire to devote the national income, and yet we shall have to divert a consider-
able proportion of that income to the needs of international defense. I emphasize
this, because I have seen some indications in the news that people are already
going astray on this subject. We must not fall into the error of thinking that
we can buy international peace on the cheap. It simply cannot be done. But
however dear peace is, it is much cheaper than war. .
British Speeches of the Day
The Power of Veto
It has been suggested today that the proposal to give a veto to the great
Powers on any action by the Security Council in disputes in which they person-
ally are involved, confers on them a privileged position as compared with the
smaller nations. . I fully understand why that view should be held here in
Britain. We live in a country where we have one law for the rich and the poor, for
the strong and the weak alike, and the idea of putting any nations, however
powerful, above the law, is alien to our whole ideas and traditions.
Personally, indeed-and here I speak entirely for myself-I had the greatest
difficulty in accepting this provision and I have only done it as the lesser of two
evils. The noble Earl, Lord Perth, suggested an alternative for getting out of
this difficulty. His proposal, as I understood it, was that, when a question in-
volving the application of sanctions arose, there should be no vote at all. I cannot
feel that even that would provide a satisfactory solution for our difficulties. The
reason why the Security Council would not vote under the noble Earl's proposal
would be to avoid a situation where a great Power would be obliged to exercise
a veto. But exactly the same result would be achieved as under the Yalta formula.
There would be no action by the Security Council as a security council. And all
that the noble Earl's proposal would have achieved, I am afraid, would be to
drape a little camouflage over the real facts, camouflage so thin that it would be
most improbable that it would take anyone in.
[Earl of Perth: I do not think the noble Viscount allows for this: in the first
place, you would have attained equality before the law-that will be admitted; in
the second place, you would in no way debar each member from freely taking
any action it chose outside the organization. At present you have given a power
of veto as regards the organization but that does not apply, or apply to a certain
extent, to each member of the organization.]
Servants of the Law
These are all very difficult points and require mature consideration. But with
regard to the first point, I should have thought that the noble Earl would indeed
provide equality for all nations, but only on the basis of doing nothing. I cannot
feel that that is a satisfactory basis of equality. With regard to the second point,
of. course, it is a matter of opinion. I would not like to express a definite view.
But I should have thought tha: the members of the Security Council would only
have been tied in their character of members of the Security Council, and that it
would be still open to them to take action outside the organization if they wished,
and if such action was in conformity with the principles of the organization. But
I should certainly not wish to make any definite pronouncement on that point,
which is clearly a very difficult and technical one.
Broadly speaking, I have been driven to the same conclusion as the noble
Viscount, Lord Samuel, that there are in fact only two alternatives before us in
this matter: either we have to accept this provision or we are going to have, for the
moment at any rate, no world organization. I do not believe it is possible to
build the organization without one of the main pillars upon which it must rest.
As Lord Perth himself said, one of the chief reasons why the League of Nations
failed was, that it never included the United States, and for a considerable part of
its existence it did not include Soviet Russia. Now we have an opportunity to
bring them both in. Is that opportunity to be missed? Of course, if the great
Powers abuse their privileges, the veto proposal will fail, and I am afraid that
the world organization will break down. The proposal rests upon the assumption
that the great Powers will use that restraint which should be the mark of a great
Power. The Bishop of Chichester said that they must not use their power just
The San Francisco Conference
as Powers, but as the servants of the law. That seemed to me a very dear way
of putting it. That is the essential condition of the privileged position which is
being given them under the proposals.
I would add just this. I do not think it is necessary to assume that the present
position need be maintained for all time. No one, I imagine, would be bold
enough to assert that the scheme which we hope is to be approved at San Fran-
cisco will be perfect and incapable of improvement. It will be forged under
conditions of very great difficulty while the war is still in progress and the future -
quite unknown and, it is almost certain, I should have thought, that changes will
be necessary as experience shows how the nations can work best together. The
important thing now is that all the great Powers should take part in this new
experiment. That consideration, I suggest, must, at the moment at any rate,
surely outweigh all others.
The Deterrent Function and Small States
I have spoken about the position of the great Powers. I will only say a short
word about the smaller nations; but they, too, have their problems. From them,
too, considerable sacrifices are to be asked. They are to be expected automatically
to give effect to decisions of the Security Council on which, unless they happen
to be members of the Council themselves, they are not going to be consulted at
all, or practically not at all. There is, in particular, the problem of what are
described as "middle states"; that is to say, those nations whose geographical
position and productive capacity are likely to involve them in larger contributions
towards the preservation of peace than the smaller countries. Some of these na-
tions feel that they should have a special position as regards representation on
the Council. That is a problem that will no doubt have to be considered with
others at San Francisco.
But, broadly speaking, there is one hard fact which all smaller countries must
face. If the new organization is to succeed in its main object of laying the foun-
dations of a peaceful and secure world, it must be in a position not merely to
win wars but to prevent wars. It must have power to deter an aggressor. Indeed,
I should have thought its deterrent function probably the most important of all.
But if an aggressor is to be deterred, he must know beforehand-not at the time
only, but beforehand-that if he resorts to force he will be faced immediately,
and automatically, with the embattled might, military and economic, of the world.
Once that'position is established-if it can be established-it is difficult to believe
that any nation would take the risks involved in aggressive action. If the view I
have expressed is correct-and I believe it is correct-small nations surely run
less risk by accepting automatic obligations than they would by holding them-
selves free to decide when the time comes.
Moreover, the position of the Military Staff Committee, which is an innovation
of the new scheme, would be almost impossible unless it knew beforehand the
forces on which it could depend. No nations stand to lose more in modern war
than the small nations, and it is surely to their interest that the maximum de-
terrent should be employed to discourage lawless nations and lawless leaders
from breaking the peace.
I hope and believe that that view will be taken by the .Governments con-
cerned when the San Francisco Conference meets. I believe profoundly that
though it may be said that this organization depends mainly on the great Powers,
the adhesion of the small nations is equally important; and unless they are willing
to take their courage in both hands and accept these automatic obligations, I do
not believe that the organization will succeed in its main purpose, which is to
prevent war breaking out.
British Speeches of the Day
The Economic and Social Council
I have spoken to your Lordships about the security arrangements. But there
has been a great deal of reference this afternoon also to the social and economic
aspects of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals. If I do not discuss those very fully,
I would not wish your Lordships to imagine that His Majesty's Government at-
tach less importance to this aspect of the world organization's work. On this
matter, there really is no disagreement, so far as I know, in any quarter. . The
Economic and Social Council is in many ways one of the most vital parts of the
organization. In its way, it is just as important as the Security Council; though
personally I would share the view expressed by Viscount Cecil'that it is easier to
build progress on peace than to build peace on progress.
The Economic and Social Council under the Dumbarton Oaks proposals stands
on an absolutely equal footing with the Security Council, and both derive their
power direct from the sovereign body, which is the Assembly. The task of the
Council is, as your Lordships know, the co-ordination of specialized bodies which
are already in existence-bodies such as the I.L.O.-and the creation of new bodies
to meet wider needs. I should have thought that the potential scope of this Council
is almost infinite. It has immense possibilities for the future.
[Viscount Templewood: The point which I hope will be reconsidered at San
Francisco is the membership. I feel myself that the Council is so vitally important
that it is essential that all the great Powers should be permanent members of it.]
I shall certainly transmit that view to the Foreign Secretary. . If it is diffi-
cult for me to say any more about the Council this afternoon, it is because its
actual duties and functions still remain to be explored and can only be decided
at San Francisco. But the House can be assured that it is the ardent desire of the
Government that this Council should play its full part in the structure of the new
world organization. I hope, with Viscount Templewood, that it will assist to
preserve the fundamental liberties of which he spoke, though that clearly cannot
be done by machinery alone. Before we can get a development of that kind, a
definite change of heart in mankind will be necessary to give the machinery life.
The two must go hand in hand. It is no good pushing your machinery ahead of
the spirit of mankind. . It would not be the slightest good to set up a mere
facade of commissions and committees.. .
But let us equally not err on the other side and accept the position that there
is really nothing to be done at all to redeem mankind. That .. would certainly
be a counsel of despair, and it would be extremely dangerous at the present
moment. For the peoples of the world are in no condition to stand many more
shocks. They are already profoundly disillusioned, and we want to lift them, not
to press them further down into the Slough of Despond.
I do not suppose that there has been any conference, since conferences began,
so fraught with immense possibilities for good or ill as that which is going to
open in a few days at San Francisco. It is not surprising that the faith of man
in man has been utterly broken and destroyed during these last cruel and faithless
years. Men have seen patriotism and religion warped and debased; they have seen
freedom of thought and speech become a crime; they have seen the pledged word
of nations become a mere gambling counter in the hands of the wicked and unscru-
pulous; they have seen ruthless power elevated into the only standard of right
and wrong. So low has European civilization sunk in these last three dreadful
decades. Today we have another chance-it may be the last-to lift humanity out
of the pit into which it has fallen. ,We must not, and we dare not fail.
Opening Speech at San Francisco
RT. HON. ANTHONY EDEN
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
At First Plenary Session, United Nations Conference,
San Francisco, April 26, 1945
No more suitable setting could have been found for this assembly than the
splendid city of San Francisco, one of the main centers of the United Nations' war
effort-San Francisco, whose confidence in the future is only equaled by its sense
of comradeship today. Our deep gratitude is due to the city itself and to the whole
State of California which with traditional hospitality has opened its gates to us,
and also to the Government and the people of the United States who in a wider
sense are our hosts at this momentous Conference.
We are met here in the shadow of a grievous loss. No one can speak in this
assembly without recalling the memory of Franklin Roosevelt, the friend of free
peoples, the good neighbor. He looked forward to continuing in peace the close
association of the free nations, which has brought us to the very edge of victory
and from which the meeting of today has sprung. It was he who named us the
United Nations, and we shall best honor his memory by proving ourselves worthy
of that proud title.
Let us be clear about the purpose of this Conference. We are not met here to
draft the terms of the Treaty of Peace. We are met to agree to set up a World
Organization which will help to keep the peace when victory is finally won over
Germany and Japan.
It May Be Our Last Chance
At intervals in history, mankind has sought by the creation of international
machinery to solve disputes between nations by agreement and not by force.
Hitherto all these endeavors have failed. Yet no one here doubts that despite these
earlier failures, a further attempt must be made, and this time we must succeed.
All the causes that made some form of international machinery desirable after
the last war make it indispensable today.
In the last hundred years, and in particular the last twenty-five years, the dis-
coveries of science have served to enrich and sometimes endanger the world, but
above all to contract it. We have entered an age when no natural barrier, whether
mountain or ocean, can guarantee security against the new weapons which science
has placed at the disposal of mankind. This hard fact is now biting deeply into
the consciousness of all peoples, and they are, I believe, ready to accept its impli-
cations and to shoulder the responsibilities which it imposes.
Herein lies the main difference between today and the lost opportunity at the
end of the last World War. Today this fact is patent to us all. Whether we will
or no, we are all now one another's neighbors. San Francisco is as close to Berlin
or Tokyo as New York was to Washington a century ago. The world of today
is one large city and our countries are its several parishes. We are the citizens.
Either we must find some means of ordering our relations with justice and
fair dealing, while allowing nations great and small full opportunity to develop
their free and independent life, or we shall soon head for another world conflict
which this time must bring the utter destruction of civilization in its train.
It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the work on which we are making
a start here, may be the world's last chance. That is why the Governments of the
British Speeches of the Day
Four Powers who sponsored the invitations to this Conference asked their rep-
resentatives to meet and work out proposals which might later form the basis of
an international agreement. They did so at Dumbarton Oaks. Their work was
examined and completed in the Crimea. The final outcome is now before you.
Let Us Not Attempt Too Much
Here there are a few general observations which I would make. In the first
place, these proposals admittedly constitute a compromise. In the second-place,
they do not constitute an attempt by the Four Powers to dictate to the rest of the
world what form the future World Organization should take. They are the sug-
gestions which we unitedly present to you for your consideration. Nor are they
intended to stand unchanged until the end of time. For our own part, His Majesty's
Government in the United Kingdom are prepared to accept and to endorse them
and to do their best to give them life, because we believe that they can form a
basis for a future World Organization which will help to provide that security
which is today mankind's greatest need.
Security is not itself a final end. But it is indispensable if we are to make true
freedom possible. Not otherwise can we hope to realize a world in which justice
for nations as well as for individuals can prevail. But this security cannot be
created in a day nor by any document, however admirable. It must be the product
of time and of constant effort of learning to work together, of practising and
upholding accepted standards of international conduct. The important thing is
to begin now.
Here let me sound a warning note and make a suggestion. Let us not attempt
too much. We cannot hope here to produce a complete scheme, perfect in all its
elaborate details, for the future ordering of the world. I am persuaded that we
should be wise to set ourselves a goal more within the compass of our immediate
possibilities. We shall have taken the indispensable first step if we can now draw
up a charter within the framework of our principles. The details can then be left
to be filled in in the light of experience.
I know that this is an Anglo-Saxon conception, which may possibly be chal-
lenged by others, but I am convinced that in this particular case it is right, and
I would claim that its merit is capable of proof by reference to historical facts.
The Debasement of International Conduct
Now let me turn briefly to the proposals themselves which we are met to
discuss. They impose obligations equally on all Powers great and small. But I
am conscious that a special responsibility lies on the great Powers in these days
when industrial potential is so decisive a factor in military strength. Great Powers
can make a twofold contribution. They can make it by their support of this Organ-
ization. They can make it also by setting themselves certain standards in interna-
tional conduct, and by observing those standards scrupulously in all their dealing
with other countries. The greater the power any State commands, the heavier its
responsibility to wield that power with consideration for others and with restraint
upon its own selfish impulses.
What was the most sinister feature of the years which preceded the present
struggle? It was the deliberate debasement of international conduct in which Ger-
many, Italy and Japan engaged to further their own selfish plans. It was the
practice of these Powers not only persistently to violate their engagements, but to
use the new engagements they so readily undertook after each aggression as a cloak
to cover their next crime.
This was their technique. But what was the result? There came a time when
the outraged forces of civilization had to call a halt to these practices, and so
inevitably the world was plunged into another war. Great Powers have a special
responsibility to guard against the recurrence of such practices.
SI have laid emphasis on that portion of our task which is concerned with the
provision of international machinery for the settlement of political disputes. But
of equal importance with this is the solution of economic problems which, if
untended, can themselves sow the seeds of future war. This will be the task of
the Social and Economic Council which finds its place in the proposals now before
you. It is our duty to ensure that this Council shall be well adapted to play its
full part in our new structure of peace.
We Cannot Afford to Delay
Here, then, are our two immediate tasks, political and economic. Let us press
them vigorously to a conclusion. World events of unprecedented magnitude both
in the East and in the West crowd upon us every hour. If we order our labors
efficiently and work to the utmost of our strength, it should surely be possible for
us to agree our Charter within four weeks from now. We cannot afford to delay.
Sir, I hope that we shall set ourselves such a target date and determine to reach it.
This Conference bears heavy responsibilities. It has also splendid opportunities.
Let it seize them now.
In the early days of this war, I went to Egypt to greet soldiers from Australia
and New Zealand who had come to that country to protect the Suez Canal against
the imminent threat of Mussolini aggression. On the evening of their arrival, I
was speaking to a number of the men of the motives which had made them
volunteer for this adventure. Of the group, one man remained silent. At last I
turned to him and said, "And what made you come here?" He replied, "I guess
there is a job of work to be done."
In the last six terrible years, unnumbered men have died to give hufianity
another chance. We, too, have a job of work to do if we are not to fail these men.
Let us do it with courage, modesty and dispatch. Let us do it now.
RT. HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL
House of Commons, March 21, 1945
In the earlier years of the war there was very good reason, on security grounds,
against disclosing our food stock figures. In view of the present military position
that objection no longer holds. I read in the newspapers that there is an impres-
sion in some quarters in the United States that our stocks in Great Britain amount
to 700,000,000 tons. Actually they are now rather less than 6,000,000 tons. They
are in process of being reduced, by aid to the liberated countries, to about 4,750,000
tons by the end of June. This latter figure is no more than is necessary to main-
tain a regular flow of distribution under present conditions. I thought it was
worth while mentioning these facts about our stocks of food, which have been
built up by foresight and self-denial over five years of strict rationing and fre-
[House of Commons Debates)
British Speeches of the Day
RT. HON. C. R. ATTLEE
Deputy Prime Minister
House of Commons, March 28, 1945
This matter has always been one of anxiety to the Government. Ever since
November, 1943, there has been a Committee of the Ministers immediately con-
cerned, sitting under the chairmanship of the Minister of Production, making
preparations and following out this problem very closely. Recently, at the request
of the War Cabinet, I went to the Continent and visited Paris, Brussels and parts
of Holland in order that I might report on the situation to the Cabinet. I had
long talks with French Ministers, with Belgian Ministers and with Dutch admin-
istrators, and I visited the military authorities at SHAEF headquarters, and also
at the 21st Army Group. ..
But the House will realize that in the six days which I spent abroad, it was
clearly impossible for me to visit all areas, to see everything for myself. I had
to rely, in the main, on information given to me personally, and on the talks I had.
I made as close an observation as I could as I went through, but I should be the
first to disavow the idea that I could give a first-hand picture of the conditions in
all these areas. . .
Even in the short time since I was there, the situation has changed a good
deal. I did not go there to try to hold an inquest into the past or to see whether
everything had been done properly during those past months, but I think it right
to give the House a sketch of the course of events, because without seeing past
events, one can hardly appreciate the problem of the present.
The Problems of Distribution
I would like to indicate some of the difficulties that faced the military authori-
ties, and still face them, and particularly to stress the necessity of understanding
the immense problems that face the Governments of France, Belgium and Holland.
It is no good thinking that these Governments, going back to their liberated areas,
have anything but the most appallingly difficult administrative tasks . .
Let me remind the House of the general conditions of these three countries,
France, Belgium and-Holland. In normal times, France is not a deficit area, exept
for certain items. There are certain deficit areas but, broadly speaking, France is
normally a self-sufficient country. Nevertheless, parts of the country differ very
much from each other, and it is only when they are linked together by transport
and distributive systems that they can make a satisfactory economic whole. In the
main, the surplus areas of France lie in the North and the deficit areas in the
South. Therefore, if the means of transportation are broken down problems of
distribution are bound to arise. Belgium, .always a food importing country-
although parts are self-sufficing-is one of the most heavily industrialized countries
in Western Europe. So, too, in Holland. . .
An Austerity Standard Was Inevitable
Let me mention a fact which is not forgotten here, but is sometimes forgotten
outside this country, namely, that Great Britain, the base for the entry into the
Continent, and the nearest source of supply, is the country which itself depends
most of all on imported supplies, a country which has been under constant air
attack of varying intensity through these war years, a country dependent for its
life on the import of food from overseas under the constant menace of the U-boat.
Let it be remembered that as a deficit area, this country cannot supply other deficit
areas, except at the expense of its own supplies, a great proportion of which must
come from overseas....
The responsibility for the provision of supplies to the people of the liberated
areas rests on the military authorities. Their duty, however, is limited to the pro-
vision of what is, essentially, an austerity standard. A minimum standard is care-
fully estimated to be sufficient, but it leaves little or no margin, and it was on this
basis that SHAEF headquarters had to make the best estimate they could of what
would be required to be brought in, taking into account what is supplied by the
liberated areas themselves. They had to consider available shipping, port resources,
and internal transport. All that had to be worked in with the requirements.for
a great moving battle. It was no easy task. As I say, this was an austerity standard;
it was not adopted out of meanness, but because military affairs must come first
and with the enormous pressure there is on every kind of transport and ports and
all the rest of it, and with the stringency you get in a war of movement, civilian
needs had to be kept to the minimum necessary . .
Difficulties Increased With Military Success
Minimum needs have been worked out to keep the people going. . Just
see how the position developed. . The work of freeing the major ports took
place very slowly. The Germans hung on to them. Antwerp was not open until
December 1st. Maintenance, the supply and reinforcement of .the great forces
moving through France and Belgium towards the German border, had to be pro-
vided through the artificial port, and a number of small ports. Through them
had to go everything the troops themselves wanted, and importations for the
civilian population. It is a very long haul from Normandy to Belgium, and I
think everybody will understand the difficulties. The further we went, and the
more rapid was our success, the greater the difficulties. Moreover, as everybody
remembers, the attack on the Germans involved the destruction of many bridges
by ourselves, by the Germans, or by the partisans, and the destruction of much
road and rail transport. In effect, there was dislocation of the whole transport
system in Northern France.
Against two great difficulties let me set two advantages. The first was that
the landings took place just before the harvest, which meant that the campaign
was going on while the greatest amount of supplies was coming from France.
Secondly, we got rather larger stocks off the enemy than we had anticipated. It
may be said that those factors for a time cancelled out. The fact of getting the
harvest and of getting German supplies-was a temporary advantage, but the dis-
advantage was continuous until we could open up major ports and repair the
Britain Sends What She Can
It follows from this that the picture in any liberated area has its lights and
shades. It is not all dark, it is not all light. You will find generally that there
is something more than the bare rations in the richer agricultural areas. You
will find generally that most difficulties are in the poorer parts of the big
towns. . .
Inevitably, the earliest repairs had to be done in the northern sector which was
supplying the front and the troops going forward. Very great progress has been
made in repairing bridges and railways. I think the French have done an extremely
British Speeches of the Day
-good job, and they told me personally how grateful they were for the work of
both British and American engineers. A really marvellous job has been done in
the replacement of bridges. Engines and rolling stock have been sent from this
country-and again the French expressed their gratitude-and some of those
engines and rolling stock could be very ill spared. . What has to be realized,
first of all, is that, however it is shared out, it is a question of a mere fraction of
the transport that was available for France in peace-time. Secondly, military traffic
necessarily takes a large proportion, but we have sent over there engines and a
great deal of rolling stock, and we have got more in hand and being made; but
with the best will in the world, with the kind of destruction that has gone on in the
transport system of Europe, it is quite impossible for this country to make it up.
We send what we can.
A Good Meal in Paris is No Criterion
Let me add a further point. One wants to get clearly in one's mind the long-
term and the short-term difficulties. One of the most tragic problems . was
that of Paris. This was partly due, of course, to the war circumstances, but it was
very much increased by most disastrous floods, such floods as they had not had in
decades at that time of the year, followed by a hard winter and then the normal
floods. These floods had their effect on road, rail, canal and river transport, and
especially affected the transport of coal, which normally came to Paris by barge.
Everybody must realize that the conditions were very, very bitter in Paris last
winter. . .
It is quite wrong to suggest that because you had butter in Normandy, all
Normandy is fat and all France fat, or to make a similar generalization, because
you happened to go to Paris and get a good meal in a restaurant. It is equally
dangerous to generalize on the score of some letters or personal experiences which
show extreme hunger or suffering in individual cases. The essential thing to bear
Sin mind is that the picture is a patchwork.
SHAEF is Chiefly Responsible
I would like to say something about the machinery for providing for the needs
of the liberated areas. The responsibility is primarily on the military authorities.
They are responsible for what the Noble Lord called the minimum supplies. These
are not only food but clothing, blankets, and soap. Coal and petroleum, again,
have to come from Army supplies. It must be remembered that the Armies need a
great deal of coal. It is not a question of what the military authorities want to do,
but what they can do. The French have, as a matter of fact, provided the Allied
Armies with more coal than we have exported to France. The coal situation has
improved. The difficulty was to get the pit props, which came from quite a
different part of France. In a country which is liberated, one finds that all the
old integration have gone because of the occupation. The monthly demands for
supplies are approved by SHAEF and sent to Washington, where they are ap-
proved, some months ahead, and the supplies are brought to a country.
The Part Played by National Governments
In addition to these minimum supplies there are what are known as the
National Import Programs. These programs comprise some food, but mainly
raw materials and machinery-the whole range of commodities-sometimes in
quite small quantities, but necessary to get the economy of these countries going.
The responsibility for formulating those demands rests with the National Govern-
ments concerned. It is obvious that the full imports there were in peacetime are
not possible. Therefore, we have to concentrate on the things that will give the
best return. I would like to tell the House that we have made available to liberated
Europe substantial quantities of raw materials in order to help them to start
their industrial life. We have indicated our willingness to supply something like
400,000 tons of raw materials, or if you take some part of the resources from
abroad, nearly 500,000 tons.
The total includes substantial quantities of such things as iron and steel, non-
ferrous metals, textiles, tanning materials, chemicals, fertilizers, and the like. Many
of these things we import from abroad, but in order to save time in shipping we
sent them across until the countries themselves can get in the stuff from the
normal sources. We do this where we have sufficient stocks. Some of these stocks
have already been sent, some are still in the procurement stage, and in the
case of others negotiations are still proceeding, We have placed contracts for
finished equipment, the materials for the repair of transport and agricultural
machinery. A hundred locomotives are being built for UNRRA and over 10,000
railway wagons are on order for France. It may be said that "on order" is not
much good, but a great many wagons and trucks have been sent. . .
Lorries for France
Lorries are not available for us to send to France, and as for the lorries being
made in the United States, that falls on to the general shipping allocation position.
Lorries are coming from the United States, but with the shipping available it is
not possible to get them all across at once. They are coming gradually.
[Dr. Haden Guest (Islington North): Were the supplies which my right hon.
Friend was speaking about just now sent from this country alone, and not from
this country in consultation with the United States?]
All are sent in consultation with the United States. Some are procured here,
some in the United States, and some come from wherever they can be procured
and wherever shipping can be got.
[Mr. Woodburn (Stirling and Clackmannan, Eastern): Is my right hon.
Friend aware that there is a great number of Army lorries laid up awaiting repairs
and that the lack of labor may make it impossible to release these lorries for
France immediately? Would it be possible to bring some skilled labor over and
so make possible a greater flow of second-hand lorries to Frahce?]
Ten thousand of those lorries have been repaired and sent across. The lorries
are over there. We are trying to get them repaired on the spot by French labor.
That is better than bringing French labor here, in view of the difficulties of
accommodation, and so forth. We are trying to supply the materials, jigs and
tools. In many cases, when the Germans went they stripped the place of every-
thing. We are not too well off in the matter of jigs and tools, but we are trying
to get them. . .
We are trying to direct our efforts to getting the economies of these countries
running so as to enable them to do what they are very anxious to do, that is, to do
their best to help in the war effort. It is a system called priming the pump. It
Sis obviously much better if we can get them to work mending their own lorries
than to send shipments across. If we can get fertilizers to them, they will grow
food and later on will not have to import it. The bottleneck may be shipping, it
may be ports, it may be internal transport. . .
From Ship to Mouth
There are hardships, there are local shortages, but I think one can say that,
considering the difficulties, the military authorities have done good work. There
British Speeches of the Day
have been delays occasionally in the procurement, no doubt there have been mis-
takes here and there, but broadly speaking, in spite of very great difficulties, these
minimum supplies have been sufficient to avoid disease and unrest. I at once
admit, again, that the standard is minimum, far lower, as the Noble Lord said,
than the standard in North America. Obviously, the standard has to be, and is
supplemented in the case of heavy workers, but it is sufficient to maintain health,
and up to now there has been a remarkable freedom from epidemics. That speaks
well for our success.
I would point out here that these supplies are precarious. They depend on
the punctual fulfillment of programs and the efficiency of the machinery of dis-
tribution. That is an important point. It has not been possible to build up reserves.
These countries practically live from ship to mouth where all the goods have
to be imported. Unless a country has known what it is to be rather closely
rationed, it does not always understand why we must have stocks; sometimes they
say that if there are stocks why not use them up at once. During the last five
years I have watched our stock position very closely, and I can tell the House that
I have had some pretty anxious momentss with regard to particular commodities.
I know pretty well what kind of stocks you have to keep, if you are to keep
your distribution right at all points.
SI think it is a very great credit to the authorities overseas that they have had so
little breakdown. A general told me that he had to go down to the ship, get the
flour out to the bakery and bake the bread there. That was how they got the bread,
and saved the situation. One of the other difficulties that have to be realized is
that of running your own economy. I have every sympathy with the military
Tle broad picture is that we try to bring supplies from where they are to
where there is need, and what we have to make sure of is the greatest economy
in shipping, haulage and port facilities. I do not think that we have let our
friends down in this respect.
Food From British Stocks
I have said that our stocks are not large. Up to this moment, the Minister of
Food has sent, or agreed to release to the liberated areas, which includes some of
the Mediterranean areas as well, 900,000 tons of food from our own stock. It is
very difficult to realize what that means, and I should like to bring out the figure a
little more graphically. I know that quite a lot of people would like to send parcels
to friends across the Channel. It is a thought that appeals to all of us. My right
hon. Friend has explained that it is a wasteful method. One of the troubles is
that it does not necessarily get the food to the quarter where it is most needed,
and it is based on rather haphazard international connections between individuals.
Take that 900,000 tons which we have sent or are still sending from our stocks.
That is equivalent to what would have been sent if every single man, woman and
child in this country who had a ration card, had sent a food parcel weighing
4 lbs. overseas every month for 11 months. I think hon. Members would agree
that if we had a voluntary organization that sent parcels with that result, we
should think that it had done extremely well. The point is that we in this
country know that the only way you can ensure food getting where it ought to go,
is by a ration system and through the official sources.
[Miss Rathbone: If the food parcels could be sent only on the production of
medical evidence, and there was serious need-we have heard of cases where such
parcels would enable people to live or probably save them from tuberculosis-
would it not be possible in such special cases for such parcels to be sent ?]
I ask hon. Members to think of the immense amount of work and organization,
the packing and then the checking involved. It is not so easy as has been sug-
gested. My memory reverts to a strong animadversion of the hon. Member in
this House about 18 months ago, on this business of sending parcels, when she
begged us not to use that method of sending food because it meant that only
certain people got extra food. I think, considering the position we are in, that
the only and the right way is to support the French and Belgian Governments in
trying to get the food distributed throughout the whole country . .
The Black Market
I would now like to say a word about the black market. There is a black
market in France and in Belgium, and it is a serious evil, but it is possible to
exaggerate it. ... One must also remember that in the time of the German occupa-
tion, the black market was a virtue. Now it is being turned into a vice, and it is
very difficult to get rid of those habits. I am quite certain that the Governments
over there are doing their very best and we ought to give them all the help we
possibly can. It is going to be a very difficult task.
We Have to Keep the Thing Going
I think it ought to be made clear to hon. Members that, just as our operations
were advantaged in 1944 because they took place before the harvest, so we are now
approaching our most difficult time, because we are coming to the short season
before the next harvest. Belgium and Holland in particular have to depend
,almost wholly on imported foods. If the food supply asked for and intended,
could be provided punctually, and if all other factors remained normal, I think
we could hold that position. I think if we can keep the thing going, reasonably
improving the internal transport and improving the distribution machinery, we
can as I say hold on, but I must emphasize that we have to keep it going.
We have a shipping difficulty, and, on top of it, we have a procurement diffi-
culty. At times we have had a great difficulty over shipping. Latterly our trouble
has been that having got the shipping, we could not get the food. I ask the
House to remember that the war has been on a long time now. Great sources
of supply including important ones, have been cut off altogether, such as for
instance supplies from the West Indies, Burma rice and others of that nature.
Meat is very difficult. There has been a great drought in Australia. It is also
difficult not only because the supply has been short but because the demand has
increased. Very many people who have never had meat before in this war are
eating it now, because the standard of life and the purchasing power have gone up,
particularly on the continent of America. Therefore we find not only individuals
eating more, but the population as a whole eating more meat, and the demand has
gone up, from people who have never had it before. Another thing is that we have
a great number of people in the Army today and they eat more meat that ordinary,
civilians . Wheat fortunately is in pretty good supply, but there we have ship-
ping difficulties both with regard to getting ports open and with getting the stuff
down to the ports. We are faced . with a danger of world shortages in certain
imported items-fats and milk products.
France, Belgium, Luxembourg
It is against that world shortage that we have to see the picture of the liberated
areas and all Europe. It is a very dark picture. In France the transport position
is improving a good deal. I found the French Ministers I talked to more anxious
over the food situation than the transport position. The position in the South is
undoubtedly bad in places, particularly in the towns. You would not, as a matter
of fact, effect a cure even if you could pour food into some ports, if you could
not get the distribution right and have the food distributed to the difficult areas.
British Speeches of tthe Day
In Belgium, although the position was worsened by our Ardennes offensive, the
food situation, if not at all easy, has been well held. Transport is difficult in
Belgium because though a small country it is extremely highly-developed with
regard to railways. The Belgians are very anxious to get their industries going.
That is the important point. It is important from our own point of view and from
that of the United Nations that we should use the manpower of those countries .
The position in Luxembourg is very much the same.
Plans for Feeding the Netherlands
In freed Holland the position has been reasonably well held. I visited as many
people in that country as I could. I visited Walcheren, the great island which
has been flooded with the town of Middelburgh standing up in the middle of the
island. I visited that and saw its people; they looked very fine, and their spirit was
fine. They said to me, "If we are flooded we are free." Others said "this kind
of thing has happened to us several times within the last thousand years." The
Dutch are, I emphasize, a very fine people, a very sturdy people. I saw them
working. They hope to get the material forward and that they will be able to close
the gaps in the dykes and to get the agricultural land into good order again in a
fairly reasonable time. I also motored through a good many villages and towns.
I was at Maastricht when the people were on holiday celebrating the sixth month of
their freedom. I saw the children, and they looked pretty well all right. I am
not going to judge the whole'country by samples. I can only say that the samples
I saw looked as jolly as could be.
The thing that is troubling the Dutch in free Holland, is not their own case but
the terrible case of those of Holland still under the Germans. I do not think the
Noble Lord put it in the slightest degree too high when he talked of the terrible
disaster that threatens this great people. The Germans are giving them only about
a quarter of the standard in free Holland. The food is utterly inadequate. We
have got some food in through the Red Cross-not enough but as much as we
could. We are making preparations to feed them as soon as we can get there, and
there will have to be specialized foods for people who are very near starvation.
We are making our plans for feeding them-the House will not expect me to tell
them anything about our military plans. We are regarding it as an operation which
cannot wait, but it will take time. We must get the stuff through. We are making
every effort. Everyone is alive to the situation. We are laying our plans to do
everything we can in order that, when Holland is free, we can get the food to the
Friends Before Enemies
SThere is one other anxiety that I ought to mention. There has already accumu-
lated a great number of displaced persons, they are the people who have been taken
away from their homes to work as slaves for the Nazis, and, as our armies move
forward, they become free. They have to be fed and looked after. If these coun-
tries are working on a narrow basis, they cannot stand the impact of a large number
of displaced persons, and we have to make provision for looking after the displaced
persons as well. There is the further prospect that we may have to feed a great
number of Germans. Hitherto they have been found to be tolerably well provided
for, but I agree with what has been said about conditions of life inside Germany.
We must do our best, but our friends must come before our enemies. I have not
said anything about UNRRA because that is not really operating in- these par-
ticular countries, but I should not like people to think that UNRRA is not
important. It is very important, not only for the supplies but for the personnel
We Will Do Our Share
I have tried to give the House a general, balanced view of the problem. I
believe that actual needs are being met, but the matter is critical and we have to see
that they are met. The Ministers of Production and Food have gone across to the
United States at the invitation of the President to discuss the special food problem
in the liberated areas. I repeat that we are a food-importing country. We have
reduced our stocks to what we believe is the limit of safety, having regard to our
island position. We lie near the Continent, and there is always the tendency to
call upon us for immediate aid if there is a sudden difficulty. We have responded
again and again, but, if our stocks were reduced below danger point we should not
be able to respond in the future. Our own regular rations are not on a high scale.
They are on a very modest scale, and you cannot make big reductions in them with-
out affecting the war effort. We are in the sixth year of the war. Our people, in
South-East England particularly, have borne the burden of intermittent air attacks.
Anyone who has been under fire knows what a difference it makes if you have a
good meal inside you ....
I have not the slightest doubt that the people on the American continent feel
as we do. Their hearts are as warm as ours and they have as much sympathy as we
have. It is a vital interest to all of us to get as good conditions as we possibly
can, as soon as we can, in the liberated areas. I agree that it is as essential for
winning the victory of freedom and democracy as destroying the enemy in the
field. I am sure I express the view of the House in saying that, within the limits
of our power, we in this country will do our share to help our friends in the
liberated areas. [House of Commons Debates]
SIR JAMES GRIGG
Secretary of State for War
House of Commons, Match 28, 1945
I cannot imagine a Debate which could have been more worth while than the
Debate we haye had today. It has given us all a great deal of food for thought.
The picture painted, almost on every side, has been a somber one, and very much
in contrast with some of the earlier and rather optimistic visions of the post-var
world which were handed out to us.- The case made by the first two speakers in
the Debate was a very formidable one, somber and formidable. It was dealt with
by my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council in the light of his
recent mission to France, and perhaps if I try to pick up some of the points which
were not covered by the Lord President-and they will be, for the most part,
necessarily points of detail-or some of those raised since my right hon. Friend's
speech, it may serve to round off this Debate. . .
The hon. and'gallant Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) ... paid a tribute to
the operation of the Civil Affairs section of the military staffs, and I am very glad
that this tribute has been paid because, in times past, not everybody has been so
generous. There has been a good deal of criticism, much of it unfounded, and
some of it positively ungenerous. Naturally I personally entirely agree with my
hon. and gallant Friend and I am very grateful to him. Then he mentioned, as
did other speakers, the situation in the Mediterranean, and perhaps it would be
useful if I gave a very short retrospect of events in this matter of Civil Affairs in
the Mediterranean theater. When the Allied Armies entered Italy they were . .
British Speeches of the Day
faced with a country left in a state of complete devastation, and, what is worse
than that, a population shorn of all sense of civil, or civic responsibility by many
years of Fascist domination and the most slender and inadequate means of sub-
sistence. The degree of destruction imposed upon these hapless people by the
Germans on their retreat through Italy was quite beyond any concept of military
Allied Military Government
All of this, naturally, means a very heavy burden on the Allied Commander
in this theater. Following closely behind operational areas came AMGOT, which
in those days was critically dealt with in this House and elsewhere, although I am
not sure that since then there has not grown up a tendency to regret the halcyon
days of AMGOT. At any rate, it was a combined United Kingdom and United
States organization which was charged with all the immediate problems affecting
the civil population. So far as relief was concerned this organization was, with
the corresponding organizations in all other theaters of war, charged to work to a
standard calculated to prevent disease and unrest among the population. Apart
from that it had the task of preserving law and order in a manner which pre-
vented advancing Armies from being embarrassed by the presence on their long
lines of communication of the civil population. Another heavy responsibility of
AMGOT was the control of the movement of refugees to the rear.
As the battle moved forward these responsibilities were assumed by what was
then known as "The Allied Control Commission." This was,'again, a joint
United Kingdom and United States organization and this undertook, in conjunc-
tion with the Italian Government, the task of co-ordinating the wider aspects of
civilian relief. These two organizations were faced with the many and complex
aspects of literally governing areas of the country as they were progressively lib-
erated. But the economic problem of procuring and importing vast tonnages of
all types of relief supplies was'also a part of their duties. As in the case of North-
West Europe, this involved the creation of large stock piles in this theater of
operations, and the problems of distribution in Italy, in the conditions I have just
described, can readily be imagined.
The outstanding problem, which was more difficult in Italy than in France,
Belgium or Holland, was to encourage local production of foodstuffs and other
suitable commodities. What was known in Italy as the amassmentt of crops for
equitable distribution," in the face of a black market which throve in that country
more than in any other parts of Europe, was a task which was no mean one, and
there was no easy solution. Nevertheless, a considerable degree of success has
been achieved, and today Italian agriculture is contributing a substantial proportion
to meet the needs of the people. But in considering these measures of military
relief-and this is the motif which runs throughout our story of the affairs of
liberated Europe-the agreed policy of the Allies is, and must be, to encourage
the liberated people to assume responsibility for their own affairs as quickly as
possible. . .
With this object in view the Allied Commission-the word "Control" has been
dropped-have insisted and even urged that the Italian Government should take
an ever-increasing share in, and supervision of, their own affairs. That has been
carried out progressively until, now, whole areas, districts, provinces, behind the
battle line, are in the hands and under the responsibility of the Italian Govern-
ment. When they require technical assistance the Allied Commission is there to
try and supply it. I think that on the whole we may take pride in the measure
European Relief 367
of independence which we have assured to the Italian Government since the early
days of the landings in the toe and the heel of Italy. My hon. and gallant Friend
the Member for Abingdon referred to the problems of Northern Italy which loom
ahead. They are indeed very grave problems, and I think it is not an exaggera-
tion to say that those problems far transcend any of those we have hitherto dealt
with in the Southern and middle parts of Italy. All I can say at the moment is
that plans have been prepared to bring relief to the Northern parts of Italy as
promptly as possible. I do not wish for one moment to underestimate the dif-
ficulty of carrying out those plans. The area of Northern Italy is much more
industrial than the South. There are greater masses of population. I think it is
not unreasonable to assume that the destruction wrought by the Germans may be
even more devastating in the North than in the South.
Using Previous, Experience
Perhaps I may mention briefly another point made by my hon. and gallant
Friend the Member for Abingdon. He exhorted us to learn from the lessons of
the Bengal famine. I am glad to be able to tell him that we have used the services
of one of the people who had experience of the Bengal famine to assist in. the
investigations which have been carried out to meet another need which has been
stressed in the Debate today, namely, the need for predigested food in those
areas of the Continent where the people have been suffering so much from under-
nutrition that ordinary food is useless to them for some little time.
I come now to the speech of the Senior Burgess for Oxford University (Petty
Officer Herbert). He 'asked that we should be prepared to help France and other
countries through people who have gained experience of these problems in our
own Ministry of Food and kindred Departments. The Government certainly are
prepared to contribute to the full from the wealth of our administrative experi-
ence in matters of this sort. I think it is not unfair to claim that we do know,
after five and a half years of war, how to make the best use of limited supplies of
food, and that it is fair to claim that we do know how to distribute and ration
food. Whenever we are asked to send officers from the Ministry of Food to help
to establish an administration of this sort, we do so. And let me hasten to say
that this offer is made not from any arrogance, but from a genuine desire to
Now let me come to the Junior Member for Oxford University (Sir A. Salter).
Naturally everyone listens to what he has to say with great attention, because he
has unrivalled knowledge of these problems. The first appeal that he made was
to give UNRRA a chance. ... There are certain limitations on the use of UNRRA.
S. Subject to those limitations, to the best of my knowledge the military author-
ities here, and I think at Washington, are doing all they can to work UNRRA
into the picture. In Greece there was to begin with-and it was resumed after
hostilities were over-a joint organization to deal with problems of relief, and
we are all now arranging to hand over complete responsibility to UNRRA as
quickly as possible. As far as displaced persons in Germany are concerned UNRRA
and SHAEF are already working together on plans to deal with this vast and
terrible problem, which aims at placing ultimate and complete responsibility
upon UNRRA. For the rest, for those who can afford to pay, UNRRA only
comes in by invitation, and there cannot be any question of preliminary collabora-
tion with the military. It is entirely a matter for the indigenous Governments.
As far as ex-enemy Powers are concerned UNRRA is debarred from operating.
British Speeches of the Day
[Earl Wintertoo: My right hon. Friend is surely not correct in saying that the
ultimate responsibility rests with UNRRA. Ultimate responsibility rests with the
"Ultimate" is perhaps not the right word. It is "penultimate." If my right
hon. Friend would like me to substitute "penultimate," I am quite ready to do so.
... As far as ex-enemy countries are concerned UNRRA is debarred by its charter
from operating in them, with the limited exception of Italy. I think the United
Kingdom and the United States rather deplore this exclusion; nevertheless, the
smaller Powers enforced it against the bigger Powers and there can be no question
of collaboration between the military and UNRRA in the matter of relief in the
ex-enemy countries with the possible exception of Italy. In the case of Italy an
exception up to a certain limited financial amount was admitted, and to the best
of my knowledge an arrangement has been or is on the point of being arrived at
between UNRRA and the Italian Government, and to operate this extension of
their functions the military and UNRRA are, I think, in touch as regards Italy.
My right hon. Friend referred to the use of shipping for the liberated coun-
tries. I have not the time, and I am afraid I have not the knowledge, to deal fully
with his remarks on a subject on which he is not only a past, but a present master.
I can assure him of one thing, that plans are definitely under consideration by the
United States and the United Kingdom shipping and supply authorities concerned,
and with UNRRA, with a view to taking full advantage of any shipping which
becomes surplus, as a result of the German defeat taking place earlier than is
calculated, or earlier than is assumed for purposes of planning.
Scorched Earth All Over Europe
What then is the main lesson of this Debate? I think it is not unfair to say
that the lesson is that we are faced with a problem of which it is impossible to
overestimate the gravity. I would claim that the military, who have a limited
function in this matter, have done, are doing, and, I think I can very nearly
guarantee will continue to do the part which has been assigned to them, and
that is to prevent disease and unrest in the immediate wake of the armies. Even
this limited objective means very large demands on world resources. After the
military period come the heavier problems of reconstruction, and on this, as I
said at the beginning of my remarks, I am quite sure that the Debate has given
us all food for the most serious thought. The Junior Burgess for Oxford University
and many other Members have said that we shall find a-scorched earth practically
all over Europe. Certainly we shall find a situation which will tax all our ingenu-
ity and resource. It may be that the proper way to deal with this, as the right hon.
Gentleman the Junior Burgess for Oxford University said, is to set up a recon-
struction council and that this subject should be early on the agenda for the Peace
Conference. Certainly this is a matter on which His Majesty's Government will
take note of the opinions which have been expressed in the Debate.
Germany is Responsible
May I, in all humility, utter a word of warning here. When we reflect on the
magnitude of the future misery which may be in store for Europe, we should
beware lest we accept too lightly, or seem to accept too lightly, any suggestion
that we or our Allies are responsible. Let us never by unnecessary mutual recrimi-
nations get ourselves into a position in which the responsibility for what may
be a very dreadful state of affairs, can be fastened on us. The responsibility rests,
and must rest firmly upon the Axis Powers, and primarily upon Germany. Germany
it was, who precipitated the world into this gigantic conflict. Germany it was who
grabbed everything which could be grabbed from the countries which she has
occupied. Germany it was who, when she was finally turned out of those coun-
tries, pillaged and destroyed on a scale far beyond military necessity, or under
military expediency. The hon. and gallant Member for Windsor (Major Mott-
Radclyffe) likened Hitler to some Samson, pulling down the Temple of Dagon
upon enemy and friend alike, or to somebody who was determined to produce
in Europe a "Twilight of the Gods." Whether that be so or not, it is Germany
who, by her wantonness in destruction over wide areas has almost rendered im-
possible that civilization and ordered life which is the mark of modern society.
Germany it is who has sought to plunge the world back into the misery and
hopelessness of the Dark Ages. Germany, and the whole world must never be
allowed to forget her responsibility, and above all, Germany must never get into
a position in which she will be capable of perpetrating these horrors for the
Britain Will Do All She Can
A final word about the position of this country. The Lord President of the
Council dealt with it very fully. Our ration scales are not large. The hon. lady
the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone), for what purpose I
do not know, said: "look at the amount of food outside the ration, that can be
obtained in this country." She might be interested to know that the quantity of
food consumed outside the home, is not more than 19 per cent of the whole, and
that the quantity of food consumed in luxury restaurants is not more than one-
fifth of one per cent of the total; so that the rations are, broadly, a measure of
the standards of consumption in this country.
Our people have been in this war longer than anybody else, except the Ger.
mans and the Poles. Many of them have been subject to bombardment for a
considerable part of the five and a half years that the war has lasted. We are
still going all out on war production and we are mobilized for blood and sweat
as no nation, except possibly the Germans, under their present desperation, have
ever been mobilized before. Our reserves are, as has been pointed out, at the bare
minima necessary to carry on distribution without interruption. This is a very
On the other hand let us beware of calling with undue stridency for further
sacrifices from those who have been so generous to us in our need. A good case
can be ruined by bad, or unfair advocacy. Obviously, a situation which is so
fraught with possible misery calls for the most urgent review, and that is why
the Minister of Production and the Minister of Food have gone to Washington.
Obviously, as has been pointed out, overproduction, extravagance and waste should
be cut out, but when all that has been done, we cannot escape the horrible con-
clusion that in the months immediately ahead of us, millions of people will go
hungry and great numbers will suffer deep privation. We, in the more fortunate
countries, ought to do all we can to help. His Majesty's Government will do all
in their power. The only question is: What is the limitation on our power after
five and a half years of war? [House of Commons Debates]
British Speeches of the Day
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 April, 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 EMPIRE WAR CASUALTIES
Mr. Rhys Davies (Labour) asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that
casualties in this war to personnel serving in the American Forces fighting side by
side with the British are published in the British Press almost weekly and that the
last return of our own casualties was inclusive up to 30th November, 1944; and
how this comes about.
The Prime Minister: Yes, Sir. I am, however, circulating a statement show-
ing the casualties to all ranks of the British Commonwealth and Empire Forces re-
ported from 3rd September, 1939, to 28th February, 1945. This statement also in-
cludes casualties through enemy action suffered by merchant seamen and civilians.
I. Casualties to all ranks of British Commonwealth and Empire Forces reported from 3rd
September, 1939 to 28th February, 1945.*
(Excluding deaths from natural causes.)
United New South
Kingdom* Canada Australia Zealand Africa India Colonies Total
KILLED, including died
of wounds or injuries. 216,287 31,439 19,430 9,334 6,030 19,420 5,044 306,984
MISSING ............ 30,967 4,163 6,955 934 512 13,327 14,014 70,872
WOUNDED .......... 255,142 45,251 35,595 17,978 12,632 51,038 4,840 422,476
PRISONERS OF WAR,
including Service in-
ternees. 183,242 8,367 25,276 8,501 14,629 79,701t 6,754 326,470
TOTAL ....... 685,638 89,220 87,256 36,747 33,803 163,486 30,652 1,126,802
Including men from overseas serving in these Forces, in particular from Newfoundland
and Southern Rhodesia.
t Including 21,181 officers and other ranks missing but presumed to be prisoners of war.
NOTES: (a) Figures of civilian casualties due to enemy action and casualties to
merchant seamen are excluded from the above table (see below).
(b) The figures for prisoners of war (except for Australia and the Colonies) include
those who have been repatriated or have escaped. If only those who are still reported prison-
ers of war are included the figures of total casualties are as follows:
United Kingdom 667,797, Canada 88,752, Australia 87,256, New Zealand 35,322,
South Africa 29,838, India 159,562, Colonies 30,652, Total 1,099,179.
II. Casualties to Merchant Seamen due to Enemy Action reported from 3rd September, 1939
to 28th February, 1945.
DEATHS (including deaths presumed in missing ships) .... 30,179
INTERNEES ..................... .... ................ 3,982
TOTAL .............. .. 34,161
Note: The figures include nationals of the Dominions, India and the Colonies serving on
British registered ships but exclude deaths of nationals of the United Kingdom serving on
ships registered outside the United Kingdom.
III. Civilian Casualties due to Enemy Action in the United Kingdom from 3rd September
1939 to 28th February, 1945.
KILLED (including missing believed killed) .............. 59,793
INJURED and detained in hospital ...................... 84,749
[April 10, 1945] TOTAL ................. 144,542
Question Time in the House of Commons 371
BRITISH AFRICAN STATES (CO-OPERATION)
Colonel Lyons (Conservative) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies
whether, in consonance with the repeated wishes of non-officials, leaders and bodies
in the territories concerned, he will take the opportunity of the arrival in this
country of the Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa to consult with him
on the possibility of convening, at an early date, somewhere in Africa, a conference
of British African States, including the Seychelles and Mauritius, and official and
non-official representatives to discuss political, social, economic and scientific prob-
lems common to all.
Colonel Stanley: His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom are anx-
ious to secure the closest co-operation between the various African countries on mat-
ters of common interest. So far as they are concerned, they consider that this, under
present circumstances, can best be achieved by conferences on specific subjects,
such as the recent most successful Civil Aviation Conference at Cape Town, which
was attended by non-officials from the East and Central African Territories as well
as by Governors.
[April 11, 1945]
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