Thursday, 2 July 1959
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Dillon: Before we adjourned I expressed apprehension lest our general course of conduct in the United Nations would earn for us the reputation of being a friend on whom no one could depend. No one is more detestable in human relations than the person who describes himself  as your frank friend because he is the person who, when you do not want him, bores you with his continued attention, but when the time of difficulty arises, he is the first to bring the stiletto stealing down his sleeve to stab you in the back. It is reasonable in international relations to recognise our friends and to expect this much at least of them—that where no vital interest of a friend is involved, that friend can be depended upon to lend one a hand where one's own vital interest is involved, on the clear understanding that if any situation arises in which the vital interests of oneself and those of one's friends clash, there will be a full and fair understanding and agreement that in those circumstances there must be a temporary parting and that there is no misunderstanding and no ill will.
It is straining friendship beyond the limits which we can reasonably rest upon if we claim, whenever the vital interests of one of our friends is involved, that even though it is a matter of relative indifference to this country, our friends may find us aligned against them for no better reason than that we want to demonstrate to the world that we are not the bond slaves of our friends. I am afraid that is what is happening in our foreign relations. I have pointed out on more than one occasion, and do so again, that in the very limited sphere where I attended on behalf of the Irish Government, and on occasions had instructions to act on behalf of our Government in opposition to the Government of the United States, so complete was the understanding of enduring friendship between ourselves and them, I had no difficulty whatever in explaining our position to the representatives of the United States and finding in them a full understanding and a ready recognition of our right and duty to part with them in the special circumstances, on the clear understanding that once that issue was determined our cordial relations and mutual confidence would continue to obtain.
It is quite illusory and quite false to imply, as I am afraid I must charge  the Minister and the ex-Taoiseach with implying in this House, that unless you throw your weight about perennially, you are bound to accept the position of a satellite of one of the Great Powers which is inconsistent with the position of Ireland. That is not true. If we were associated with Russia or China, that would be true, but it has never been the case, certainly in my limited experience and I believe in the experience of my colleagues, that cooperation with the great democracies has involved any such relationship whatever. It does involve and should involve obligations. There should be a reciprocal obligation and where the vital interest of one of us is not involved and the vital interest of the other is, that other country is entitled to expect to find you on its side.
Mr. Dillon: Once America made it a matter of substance that she strenuously objected at that stage to the inclusion on the Agenda of the United Nations of the question of the admission of Red China to the United Nations and once she had taken up that position, then her vital interest was at stake because she was involved.
Mr. Dillon: That is the position now. That is the difficulty we are in, and that is the attitude which we should try to correct. We think it a desirable thing and an admirable thing in those circumstances to say to Mr. Dulles—the Lord have mercy on him—“You think your interests are involved but you are quite mistaken. Take that box on the ear and go away and remember that Mr. Aiken, our Minister for External Affairs, really knows what your vital interests are and he will put you right. Now, when your face is red after that blow, you will be wiser next time.”
I think that is wrong. In the event of Mr. Dulles' stand on that or any other issue conflicting with the vital interests of Ireland we could, without any trouble, go to the American Secretary of State, whoever he might be, and say: “Look, we understand  your interest in this. We appreciate it but we think you will understand our interests and it is just as fundamental to us as it is to you. We should like to be on your side, as we are on most other things but, in the special circumstances, we must differ on this occasion.” I think the American Secretary of State, or indeed the British Foreign Secretary, would fully understand our position. What is resented, and legitimately resented, is that where the American Secretary of State says: “This is a vital interest to us,” we take it upon ourselves to say “Oh, no, you are quite mistaken. Go away, you are annoying us. We think you are being obscurantist and silly and mulish; we take the view that Bulgaria is right.”
The American Secretary of State may well say: “You are too stupid to see that this is a sinister move on behalf of a satellite of the Kremlin to deal a serious and injurious blow at our prestige, at a time when it is vital that that should be maintained in regard to some vital interest we might have in the Far East or far away from where you might be interested.” However, in Deputy Booth's view it is quite legitimate for us to say: “You are quite mistaken, my dear Mr. Dulles; we understand the position much better than you do. It is not——”
Mr. Dillon: That is the trouble. The position we took up caused consternation and dismay and horror. The Deputy was not here when Deputy Esmonde was speaking. He pointed out another facet which I think people have overlooked. Not only did it cause consternation and dismay among our friends in America but it was used on the Communist Radio and disseminated all through Christian China where our missionaries had been operating and where there was no other means of communication. They said that Ireland was aligned on the side of China.
Mr. Dillon: No, he did not say that because it would not be true, but he said that the stupidity of the Irish Minister for External Affairs was used for the purposes of Red propaganda on mediums of communication in areas where there was no other means of communication.
Mr. Dillon: As you see, the Minister is very angry about it. It is the very combination of stupidity and vanity on our man's part. I want to stop that. I think he is inept, vain and stupid, and this thing is becoming a gross abuse. It is bad enough to slap America in the face and proceed to slap Federal Germany in the face, but then he goes on to slap France in the face. I am asking who is going to be left whose face we have not slapped?
Mr. Dillon: If we only had to deal with Governments it would not matter so much but I am afraid we are getting to the point when we will have to deal with people, and we are acquiring the reputation that we shall be an unreliable friend, the kind of friend without whom you would be much safer and much better.
Mr. Dillon: The vital interest of Ireland in international affairs at the present time is to multiply her friends, the number of her friends. If that is our primary, vital interest—and I think it is—I suggest the policy and the proceedings of our Minister for External Affairs are, in fact, in grave conflict with the only real vital interest that Ireland has, and we are multiplying the number of persons who take grave offence at what may be the well-intended folly of our Minister for External Affairs.
I do not know how Deputies in this House feel but it gives me no small measure of embarrassment that the French Government, in the course of the past two or three months, sends to this country out of sheer good will an officer of the highest standing in the French Army to present to the Minister for External Affairs, and to the Minister for Defence in our Government, the flags of the regiments of the Irish Brigade and that, within a month of that gesture, we announce that we are going to move in the United Nations that the existing controllers of atomic weapons will be the only persons allowed to have them, at a time when the Government of France have made it manifest that they are prepared to equip themselves, and regard it as an absolutely vital interest of theirs that they should be recognised as a proper custodian of such armament.
Let me crystalise what I have to say. The question I want to ask our Minister for External Affairs is this: why need we always take the initiative in affronting our friends? Would we not be wiser to avoid that to the limit of our ability and accept the necessity of doing it, if such necessity should ever arise, as a most distasteful duty to be fully explained in advance to those of our friends upon whose sensibilities such action, if it be necessary, may impinge? Now, I should like to say that I think it is very important to remember—and there are a lot of people inclined to forget it—that there are worse things than being blown up by a bomb, whether it is a trinitrotoluol bomb or an atomic bomb. It can be worse to live in servitude than to die a free man.
 It might be well for people who are naturally inclined to think more with their hearts than with their heads to recall that there are 800,000,000 people deployed under Communist direction and consecrated by their slave masters to the task of wiping out Christian civilisation to which we belong and that, by the end of this century, it is calculated that that 800,000,000 will have grown, probably to 1,300,000,000 or 1,400,000,000 without any corresponding increase in the population of that part of Europe to which we belong and which remains faithful to Christian civilisation. Between us and that inevitable avalanche there stands nothing but the equality of armament which is now in existence, on the one side in the hands of the United States and Great Britain, and on the other side in the hands of Russia.
If, in a moment of aberration soft hearts ever prevail on soft heads to abandon these armaments, and to leave ourselves naked before the avalanche that threatens from the East, we may discover too late that we have purchased immunity from explosion at the price of perpetual servitude and, in that servitude, we may discover that we no longer have the licence to die so that, when we talk glibly of abolishing all armaments, or certain categories of armaments, let us ask ourselves first what protection can be taken to ensure that in the event of such armaments being effectively removed, 800,000,000 Communists will not prevail over the relatively few Christian free men who inhabit the remainder of the Continent of Europe, of which we constitute a part?
If I may turn from these complex matters to matters more mundane, Deputy Cosgrave or Deputy Esmonde referred to the French and German trade agreements that had been negotiated in the past and had not been re-negotiated for some time. He commented on the fact—I think it was Deputy Cosgrave—that in respect of many of these trade arrangements there was a very great deal in favour of the Continental countries in that they exported to us a great deal more than we exported to them. Am I right in believing it has proved impossible to  re-negotiate the German and French trade agreements? Have we any trade agreements with those two countries?
I saw a short statement in the papers which led me to believe that negotiations designed to continue these agreements had broken down and that no basis of agreement had been found. I should be glad if the Minister would tell us specifically what is the position with regard to trade relations with France and Western Germany at the present time. Am I right in believing that, in fact, trade agreements with both of these countries are temporarily at least abrogated and that we have no specific trade agreements with them? What, in his opinion, does the future hold in regard to trade relations with these countries?
I remember very well certain well-intentioned people telling me when I was Minister for Agriculture that I ought to make the French and the Germans sign agreements and make them take our goods or we would not take theirs. I was obliged to tell these well-intentioned people that they did not know what they were talking about, and that the only effect of my persuading my colleagues in the Government to restrict severely German imports would be to throw a large number of persons out of employment. The number of motor cars that the Germans would be deterred from sending here they would be in a position to sell 10 times over in the United States. Our position in negotiating with Continental countries is not nearly as strong as our position in negotiating with Great Britain whose second best customer in Europe we are.
There is no other country in Europe which attaches very serious importance to the volume of trade that we are in a position to put in their way. While in office we succeeded in maintaining moderately satisfactory trade with France, Germany, Holland, Spain and, I think, even with Sweden, but they were not easy to negotiate with. Since we left office it appears that it has become impossible to negotiate to a satisfactory conclusion either with Germany or with France. However, now that  I see our good friend, Herr Lubke, who was himself a Minister for Agriculture, has been elected President of Western Germany, I think we may expect a sympathetic hearing in that case. I suggest our Minister for External Affairs might well return to the arena of negotiation in the knowledge that there is an understanding President in the West German Federal Republic at the present time. I say so, because I remember with affection and esteem meeting him as my colleague, as Federal Germany's Minister of Agriculture, at meetings of the O.E.E.C. in Paris.
That brings me to the question which I think was mentioned by Deputy Esmonde—how long are we going to “sit on our sash” here while the “Seven” negotiate in Stockholm and while Denmark negotiates in London for the purpose of securing for themselves access to a market which is utterly vital to us? I have suggested now on more than one occasion that we should approach the British Government forthwith and point out to them that we expressed our readiness to be associated with them in the Maudling Plan for the Free Trade Area with the other 15 nations of O.E.E.C., but that Plan is temporarily suspended—the discussions are going on in Stockholm—but that ad interim would the British not enter into relations with us analogous to those designed for the Free Trade Area and let us operate a free trade area here between ourselves and Great Britain and Northern Ireland into which others could enter if and when they wanted to?
Personally, I believe that the very fact that the Free Trade Area negotiations have broken down may provide us with a singularly advantageous opportunity at this stage to go to Great Britain for a bilateral agreement on terms which would, in fact, be more advantageous to us than we could have hoped to get either through the Common Market or the Free Trade Area. I directed the attention of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, now the Taoiseach, during the discussion of his Estimate to the Gamage plan which was published in the Financial Times and to which I gave the reference then, where it is clearly recognised that anything which contributes to a higher standard of living and to a more generally-diffused prosperity in a customer or potential customer of Great Britain redounds ultimately to the advantage of Great Britain herself.
We are Britain's second best customer in Europe and there is a great potential for expansion of consumption here in a country which is prepared to pay for all she purchases from Britain in goods of a character without which Britain cannot survive. I say that quite deliberately—not only goods of a character Britain is willing to buy but goods of a character without which she cannot survive. I think we must be the only European country, except perhaps Denmark, that is in a position to say that, with this great distinction, that owing to our geographical propinquity to England, Scotland and Wales, the seas that separate these two islands can be controlled in a way that the North Sea can never be.
There are a great many commodities which we are in a position to sell to Britain which are equally available in Denmark but with this immense distinction, that at the time when these commestibles might be vital to the survival of Britain they might not be available from Denmark, but nobody can make them unavailable from here. We have something very material and substantial to offer Great Britain in expanding quantities and they know that the ordinary course of trade will result in expanding purchasing power in this country redounding, as to 90 per cent., to the advantage of industrial expansion in Britain.
Surely the time has come to go to Britain and say to her: “If you will associate our agricultural industry with your own and determine that, in respect of certain commodities, our farmers will be put on a basis of equality with your farmers as you have already done under the 1948 Trade Agreement in respect of cattle; if you will extend that concession, say, to pigs, bacon, sheep, mutton and possibly butter, we on our side will extend to you all  the advantages contemplated under the Free Trade Area agreements that were under discussion in Paris and from such an agreement great mutual advantage could derive”.
Quite frankly, I am afraid that with the present Minister for External Affairs, the present Minister for Industry and Commerce and the present Taoiseach that great opportunity may be let slip because I think the Taoiseach is more interested in manufacturing nails or studs or gewgaws in any factory in any city than he is in the welfare of the 12,000,000 acres of arable land and the 500,000 farmers who live on it. I think that fundamentally the reason energetic measures are not being taken on the lines suggested by me is that, in his heart of hearts, the Taoiseach believes that the agricultural industry of this country is resting on a feather-bed. He believes that the solution of all our problems is that farmers should work harder for longer hours and take less so that they can provide a reservoir of purchasing power in which the industrialist could get a fair return on capital investment and the industrial worker a 45 or 44 hour week and a guaranteed wage.
Mr. Dillon: I think that is the reason why we are not negotiating with the British at the present time. I do not think we are prepared to make an agreement now which would secure for us the kind of advantages without which the people of this country can make up their minds that sooner or later they will find thrust upon them a lower standard of living. Mind you, time is running out. Europe is now dividing into the six nations of the Rome Treaty, the Outer Seven of the Scandinavian agreement and we are with the descaminados—Iceland, Turkey, Greece and Ireland, the shirt-less ones of Europe. We have elected to take our place with them. It was at our request that we were enumerated in that company, the ones who had nothing to offer anyone except outstretched hands.
We do not belong in that company.  We are the second greatest customer Britain has in Europe. It is our own Government, in the person of the Taoiseach, at Paris, who elected to place us in that company. I know and sympathise with the special difficulties of Greece, Turkey and Iceland, but they are not our difficulties and we should never have been in that company and it does not serve our vital interests that we should stay there. The great danger is that we are going to be completely isolated. We ought to get our agreement made before we find ourselves alone.
Now, it would be much better if these things could be done without such aspects of the situation being too energetically canvassed here. But how long is an Opposition to sit, watching the situation deteriorate, without saying a word? This Government have been in office for nearly three years— two and a half years—and nothing has been done. Nothing has been done for nine months now, but thumping the tub and tearing passion to tatters over proportional representation. During the whole of that period, Sweden, Denmark and Norway were concocting a new free trade area of their own, and Denmark has been in London negotiating day and night. Do you know what Denmark is looking for? Denmark is looking for and yearning for what we got in 1948 and still hold. While we are threshing the air, painting the roads and storming the country on the question of P.R., all our competitors are gnawing away at the doors of our market, to get our place in that market. Mind you, I think they will get away with it. Now that all that diversionary brouhaha is over, will the Government act; or am I right in believing that the industrialist bent of the Taoiseach's mind prohibits action? If that is the case, it is time Deputies asked themselves: “Where do we go from here?”
We have all experienced what it is like to feel what I believe to be, in our existing circumstances, a quite temporary oscillation in the demand and the price level of cattle. Suppose that becomes permanent. Suppose it is accompanied by a serious contraction of the available market for bacon  and a disappearance of our market for butter, in respect of both of which commodities we at present enjoy a considerable preference over all our competitors in the British market. I think the Danes are negotiating those preferences away and we are going to feel the draught. The Government will not say a word about it. Surely it is our duty to say something and to warn Deputies as to where we are drifting. Nine weary months have gone by in futile disputation in this country. Two and a half years of this Government's life have gone by. Every nation in Europe has done something to improve its international trading position, except Ireland. Are we not entitled to ask the Government now: “What are you going to do about it, and when?”
As I was saying before the debate was adjourned, the Minister's primary duty is to look after the security of the State. His function is largely a political  one and while there are other responsibilities there are other people there to look after them. As Partition is one of the problems for the Minister, I am surprised that he did not refer to it in his opening speech. I know that the subject is like cancer, something that is ugly and that we should not talk about. People may get hurt when you talk about it, but it is there and you have to face it; you have to speak about it and you have to solve it. It is the Minister's responsibility to do that. Even though we admit that it is a tough problem about which he cannot do much—nor anyone else— unfortunately it it his baby and how and when it is to be solved is something which is his job, and he ought to refer to it.
I should like to refer to statements in the Press. It appeared in one of the English newspapers that a treaty was about to be concluded between Britain and Ireland which would enable persons to be taken from this part of Ireland to the Six Counties for trial; in other words, an extradition treaty. I do not know what truth there is in that, but if such a treaty is ever concluded it will be the finish for the Government responsible.
Mr. Sherwin: I am glad to hear the Minister say that. There is also the question of the several hundred Irishmen who are interned without trial in Northern Ireland. It is the Minister's duty to make some protest. At one time, if one Englishman was insulted, a gunboat was sent; but here we have several hundred men in jail without trial, some of them for four or five years. I can understand a person being charged and imprisoned because of some offence, but where you have several hundred interned without trial, it is the Minister's duty to make some protest. It is his job to protect Irishmen abroad, especially those in the hands of those we should term the enemy.
I know it is a delicate subject. I think that in my own little way I know just as much about it as the  Minister. I know the problem inside out, not like some Deputies fond of talking about it. To me, the people up there are Englishmen and Scotsmen, but they are not like Englishmen and Scotsmen absorbed by the rest of the community. They remain the same as the day they landed here. That is the bugbear. While I do not like mentioning religion, that is responsible for their remaining Englishmen and Scotsmen and not being absorbed.
I know the problem seems insoluble but in any event it is the Minister's duty to protest. In my opinion, there is not much the Government or the Opposition can do about it. I do not think we could ever improve so much economically that we could entice in Northern Ireland. If we prosper, it will be because of England prospering, and for the same reason, so will Northern Ireland. According to my little study of the problem, our population is diminishing and we have less employment, whereas the population in Northern Ireland is increasing and there is more employment, even if there is unemployment. They have their social benefits. Then there is this snag of Irish, which will make this problem insoluble. If we all speak Irish only and they speak English, and if to get jobs they have to speak Irish, they will come to the conclusion there is no room for them in a united Ireland. I realise all these things and I sympathise with the Minister. A protest might incite them. One of the main arguments we have for '16 and '98 was they awakened the people from a long sleep. Let us continue protesting, even if we can do no more. Perhaps some day in some world conflict it will end. That is the only way I believe it will end. I accept the toughness of the problem and all I ask is that the Minister should continue to protest.
I am not so much concerned about the Minister's activities in the United Nations. I am inclined to keep to matters which concern us here. Why should we concern ourselves about rows in Europe when we have a row at home? We should always think in terms of what benefits this country and leave moralising to others. We  should not offend those who benefit us. I agree with Deputy Dillon in that. I do not expect that China or Russia will ever be of any advantage to us. If there was trouble in Europe, they would be an the other side of the fence and we would have to look for assistance to those we are inclined to let down. We should be realistic. According to Machiavelli an honest diplomat would be a fool. Diplomacy consists in kidding the other fellow and obtaining your ends. I have studied diplomacy from Richelieu to Metter-nich and all the rest. I know their minds, even if I have not the Minister's experience of U.N.O. Thank you, a Cheann Comhairle, for allowing me in.
Mr. Lindsay: In these eight pages, there are two matters, not really very small matters, in which I can join with the Minister as a matter of congratulation—not for him indeed but for the two groups mentioned. One is his tribute to the officers of our Army by reason of their superb conduct in the course of their sojourn in the Lebanon as members of the International Force. That conduct was only what we would expect it to be, in the best traditions of our Army. The second matter on which I agree with the Minister is the manner in which the former President, Mr. O'Kelly, conducted his tour of the United States at the invitation of the United States Government. That is not a matter of congratulation for the Minister for External Affairs; that is a tribute, well deserved, by reason of the excellent personal and diplomatic qualities of the former President.
As to the rest of the Minister's speech, it appears to me to be an apologia, but in the mildest possible terms, for his conduct in the United Nations in the course of the past year or so. In dealing with the conduct of the Minister in relation to the sessions of the United Nations which he attended, and at which he made contributions, I do not seek, as some people in high places outside this House have sought, to distinguish between the conduct of the Minister and the conduct of his officials. Quite the contrary. Their actions cannot be distinguished or divorced from the actions of the Minister and they are, in the last  analysis, the actions of the Government themselves.
It is for that reason that I deplore the recent utterances outside this House condemning the officials of the Department of External Affairs for the manner in which they participated in the affairs of the United Nations, while those who sought to condemn them said nothing of the Minister who was their leader and to whom they were responsible. When I say that, I do not for one moment suggest that the conduct or utterances of any permanent official of the Department is in any way blameworthy per se.
Deputy Seán Flanagan rebuked the Opposition here today for attempting to question the conduct of the Irish delegation to the United Nations in relation to the question of the admissibility of Red China into that body and the debate on that subject. I straight away accept the quibble that it was not a vote to include Red China but a vote to enable the Assembly to debate the question as to whether or not Red China should be admitted. The Irish delegation preparatory to the giving of that vote considered the merits in the case of Red China and they offered it as an excuse that the merits and demerits had to be discussed before they could give their final vote and they advocate at the same time that that is the action of free men of a free nation.
I remember at Easter of 1956 at a meeting of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Dubrovnik in Yugoslavia, I attended as a member of that Council with the Taoiseach who was then a member of the Opposition. I want the House to know that when the Inter-Parliamentary Union takes decisions, they are not in any way binding and have purely a recommending effect generally. In November, 1955, the Executive Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, through the casting vote of the then President, Lord Stansgate, at New Delhi, admitted Red China to membership of the Union. That decision of the Executive Committee had to be ratified by the Council of the Union.
As I say, I was present at Easter, 1956, at Dubrovnik with the Taoiseach. I remember the very intense lobbying  that went on, even in a non-mandatory body such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in order to have the decision of the Executive Committee at New Delhi nullified and the admission of Red China to membership of the Inter-Parliamentary Union rejected. For at least three years it could not come up again. The Americans were led by Senator Reed at the time and there was a very old Senator, whose name I do not recall, who died shortly after his return to America after that session, whose last speech I shall always remember. He said his membership of the Inter-Parliamentary Union went back over many years and that he had made the journey at his great age in order to see that the principles of freedom would survive in the union of world parliaments.
The curious thing is that while we watched everybody else taking their stand, neither the Taoiseach nor I discussed between ourselves what we would do. I had my mind made up, and I am quite sure that so had he. We very probably would have had a discussion but for the fact that I was suddenly called upon to act as teller with a delegate from Hungary while the counting of the votes was taking place and we took our places beside the President while the votes were being collected.
I should like to think that the Taoiseach, who was then in Opposition, voted in the same way as I did and, in fact, from an analysis of the votes afterwards, I am inclined to think he did. If he did not, somebody from Hungary or Yugoslavia must have voted anti-Russia, which is extremely unlikely. I remember how American prestige, even at that small gathering, was puffed up and how everybody in the Western world seemed extraordinarily happy. Even the abstentionists from the Scandinavian countries were not too secretly overjoyed by the fact that Russia received that rebuff that morning.
I am telling this to the House because I think our action at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which is admittedly a non-mandatory body, appears to have been so quietly taken and was so different from the vast publicity  attached to the subsequent action at the United Nations of the Government of which Deputy Lemass was then Tánaiste. It must have been known to the Irish delegation what the set-up in Red China was. It must have been known also to our friends in America that the whole bloc of that portion of free Europe was opposed, not only to the admission of Red China, but to any discussion as to the merits or demerits of the admission of Red China. I do not think one need apologise for the assertion that once we knew about China, having regard to our very long spiritual association with that country and the work of our missionaries there, we should have recognised where our duty lay in relation to giving the particular regime in China at the moment a pat on the back or in relation to doing anything foolish, well-intentioned though it might be, that might appear to be a pat on the back.
Mr. Lindsay: All the difference in the world. There is a mighty difference between those who were in at the beginning and the admission of undesirables at a subsequent date. Whatever we might think of Russia being a founder member, it would nevertheless be our duty ideologically to see that Russia is kept in her place in the United Nations and to join at all times with those other groups which have to face up to this ideological clash that exists in the world.  Even if the action of the Minister for External Affairs could be justified on technical grounds, I do not think advantage should be taken of a technicality which might have disastrous factual results.
There is no gainsaying, apart altogether from what Deputy Seán Flanagan is inclined to call Fine Gael propaganda—I shall deal with that in a moment—that there was a clamour in the Press of the United States of America and in newspapers all over the world as a result of what might be described, at its very mildest, as the strange action of the Irish delegation. When men of the eminence of Dr. Cuthbert O'Hara take a strong line in this matter, having regard to his association and that of his brethren with China, that is something we cannot overlook. The Minister for External Affairs particularly, and the Government generally, would do well to try even at this late stage to rectify the harm that was done and the wrong that was done and to change or alter in some way, at least in part, the wrong impression created throughout the world as a result of this foolish action on the part of the Minister, however well intentioned it might have been by reason of a technicality or a quibble.
When one is desirous of championing freedom or showing that one is a free man, there is no need for one to kick somebody else in the face in the process. That was done to the Americans at that time. It was later done to the Germans. Now it is sought, through the medium of this proposal about nuclear weapons, to exclude France. Anybody conversant with recent history must accept that France must be kept strong. Nobody wants a repetition of the collapse of France in 1940, in the event of another world conflagration. To that collapse could be attributed, I suppose, three years of war. The war might well have ended three years earlier if France had not collapsed. Now, by limiting the possession of nuclear weapons to America, Great Britain and Russia, we are seeking to keep France in the same weak position. Even as late as yesterday, an American  spokesman in Paris reiterated the American resolution to back France to the limit in their Algerian stand. I see no reason why we should take the initiative in trying to create a position in which that situation might be put in jeopardy.
So much for the United Nations. I shall conclude my references to that body by reiterating my belief and my faith in the permanent officials of the Department of External Affairs. I deplore the attack that was made on them outside when, in fact, it was the Minister who should have been attacked.
This Department is the Department ultimately responsible for the concluding of trade agreements. In the course of the Minister's speech, there was not one reference to trade agreements, and that at a time when the whole of Western Europe is seething with activity of that kind. Either multilateral agreements or bilateral agreements are being sought, such as the “Seven,” on the one hand, and the Anglo-Danish, on the other.
For the purposes of our tourist trade, there could be a substantial relaxation not alone in the matter of triptyques for motor cars and vehicles generally but also in the matter of passports of short duration. Recently in Great Britain the system of day trips to France without passports has been adopted. I think it was the late Ernest Bevin, British Foreign Secretary at the time, who said he would like to see the day when men and money could pass freely through every country in the world. If there were less preoccupation with the passport, the carnet, the police document, the embarkation and disembarkation card, and all the other trammels which go to make travel so difficult, people would get to know one another better and nationalities would grow closer. The cause of peace might be promoted better in that way than in any other.
The Minister has dealt with the problem of refugees to some extent. The problem is a big one and one of which, as he says, we must take serious heed, not alone in charity but in justice. We must make some contribution  to the solution of that problem, officially and unofficially. We did our bit in the case of Hungary. It was not altogether easy. The refugee problem is by no means an easy one to handle. Very often the country which takes in refugees gets less thanks perhaps than it deserves.
On the question of disarmament, I agree wholeheartedly with Deputy Dillon when he says he would rather be blown up by any kind of bomb than live in the kind of servitude which we know exists in one of those countries at least where a particular bomb has a very special position at the present. There is a great deal to be said for the old way of putting it, the description of “the equaliser”. If you cannot maintain peace by the adoption of the simple principles of the Sermon on the Mount, you must take other means that are open to you within the Christian code in order to maintain it. I do not see any reason in the world why Britain, the United States of America or other countries should be asked to disarm when Russia and her satellites deny to the United Nations observers the right of supervision. If you are unable to supervise the arsenals of other countries, you simply do not know what they have got, and, not knowing what they have got makes you feel that you had better have as much as possible in order to deal with any situation.
Has anybody ever talked for a considerable time with the pacifist, the person interested in disarmament? He will talk all day, all night, all week and all month about the virtues of disarmament but does not seem to have any solution unless it is world disarmament. We had experiences of that several times in the world's history and we know the disastrous results that flowed from it. Some of the older philosophers had a saying which has a great deal to commend it, namely, if you wish for peace, prepare for war. I do not see why we should go out of our way to ask people to disarm when we do not say to all of them, first, “Will you do it?” and then “Do it”.
If we could get rid of international tension, or at least achieve some relaxation of it, we would be on the way towards a just and stable peace, but have the suggestions put forward by the Irish delegation to the United Nations, while they are allegedly aimed at relaxation of international tension, made any contribution towards such relaxation? If they had achieved anything in that regard, we might be prepared to forgive them for the other tension which has been created in the process.
It is all very well to talk about pursuing a middle of the road policy and not taking sides with one or the other, but, as I said some time ago, in this ideological clash, as we see it in the world today, men can no longer, any more than countries, stay on the fence. That does not mean that the policy of neutrality in relation to warfare cannot be maintained. I am simply referring to the undesirability and absolute unfeasibility of a neutrality of the mind. Such cannot exist. The more one tries to neutralise one's mind, the more insular it inevitably becomes and, naturally, from such insularity must come a lesser and lesser contribution to the councils at home or the councils of the nations.
In the speech of the Minister, there is no reference whatsoever to the question of Partition. As I pointed out here on the occasion of the nomination of the Taoiseach, I would prefer that references to problems were omitted unless they were sincere and practical. I do not know, nor does anybody know, until such time as the Minister replies, why he omitted any reference to the question of the Partition of our country. Is it due to the fact that he and his Government recognise it, from their point of view at least, as an insoluble problem? Would it be due to the fact that they might recognise that perennial speeches in this regard are of very little use when they cannot be  followed up by practical steps throughout the year between the speeches?
In that regard, I want to put on record how pleased I was this year by what I would call an advance in thinking in relation to Partition, namely, that the annual Easter meeting at Trafalgar Square in London was not proceeded with on this occasion. Anybody who ever attended there could not but have a feeling of utter futility.
It was extremely pleasant on Thursday last, at the inauguration of the President, to meet the Nationalist Members of the Stormont Parliament and members of the Six County Senate. It was a symbol of unity in Dublin Castle.
Let us be realists about all this. Deputy Sherwin has made the point that, economically, it will always be difficult to solve Partition. I do not agree. Once the part of the country over which this Parliament has jurisdiction reached the stage of having a higher standard of living, more productivity in machine shop and farm, a retention, if not an increase, of its population, we would begin to show ourselves to the people of the Six Counties as hard workers and people who are ready to work hard to achieve high standards. Remember, too, that it is an attribute of the people of Northern Ireland to be hard workers and to know which side their bread is buttered on.
I should like to pose this question on the occasion of this Vote not to the Minister for External Affairs but, through him, to our brethren in Northern Ireland. When I say “our brethren in Northern Ireland”, I mean the whole lot of them in Northern Ireland. I do not accept them as Scottish or British, as Deputy Sherwin does. I want to ask those of them who vote for Nationalist candidates at elections if their votes can be described merely as votes recorded by Catholics negativing  the votes of their brother Protestants, or if they mean something more.
When somebody goes into a polling booth on an election day and records his vote for a Nationalist candidate, does he say to himself: “I am voting for the Nationalist candidate, not because I want him to go to Stormont but because I want him to do everything in his power to restore national unity and national sovereignty”? They are different things when we examine them. Is it a simple anti-Protestant vote or is it a vote that carries with it all the aspirations of somebody genuinely interested in trying to solve Partition? That is something in relation to which I should like a plain and unequivocal answer from the people of Northern Ireland.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I fail to see how the Minister's responsibilities arise on this matter. We are discussing the Estimate for the Department of External Affairs. Only what the Minister is responsible for is relevant. How the votes are recorded in the Six Counties is certainly not a matter for the Minister.
Mr. Lindsay: As I see the situation in the Republic of Ireland vis-a-vis the Six Counties economically, they are on a basis of security from which it would virtually be impossible to lure them at the moment. Their social services and benefits generally rank much higher and are more generous than they are here. I should be extremely interested in the implications that might be gathered from a possible plebiscite in this connection.
I should like the Minister to tell us why he did not mention this. I should like to think it is from the sincere conviction that perennial references do not admit of any further advance towards the solution of the problem. His speech today was not sufficiently comprehensive and did not deal with the great number of problems that come up for review in his Department. In this regard, I deplore the lack of detail.
As I said at the outset, the Minister's opening speech was an apologia, mildly put, for his performance at the United Nations. I suppose it is the correct thing or at least the one, in a situation such as that in which the Minister now finds himself, most likely to be advantageous—in other words, that the least said at this stage, the soonest mended. I cannot say that we could accept this account of the doings of his Department, having regard to world conditions, world movements and world upheavels, as at all adequate in the circumstances obtaining here. Perhaps in his reply he will develop at least some of the points that have been raised by all the speakers in this debate and in that way maybe dispel our doubts and relieve our anxiety in this regard, a regard which cannot be overlooked in respect of last year as well as this year.
I have a feeling in common with many other Deputies that the Minister for External Affairs comes in here,  reads his speech with the utmost contempt for everyone occupying all of the benches in the house as much as to say: “I am here because it is a feature of our Parliamentary life that an Estimate must be brought into the House. The Minister must make his speech and the less I say the less bored I shall be.” I hope we shall be forgiven for not allowing too short a time, even if it bores him, to put forward the points in which we are interested. Never at any time shall we allow a situation in which members of the House can be treated with the utmost contempt, due either to failure by the Minister to have anything worthy to record or to an utter disregard for the people who are in the final analysis very interested, the members of this House and the people of the country.
This speech when published tomorrow can mean little or nothing to the average Irishman. If we had more interest and more of the detail appertaining to foreign affairs percolating to our people they would have a better understanding not alone of themselves but of the people of other countries. They certainly can learn nothing from this. They could not even know what it is all about except perhaps the figure of £6,000 which the Minister says we are going to give to the United Nations towards assisting refugees. Having regard to the mighty problem of the refugees this paltry contribution must be rated as very low towards such a worthy cause when the Government can find vast sums running into millions of pounds for the airports of the country for the upkeep of what they call their prestige, whereas they should recognise that the greatest prestige of all comes from the full exercise of the virtue of charity.
Mr. T. Lynch: It is about time that somebody from the Government side would defend the Minister for External Affairs but I do not expect  they will defend the Minister for External Affairs in this discussion when they were not able to support the election of the Taoiseach last week.
Last year the Minister read a short brief in Irish when he was introducing his Estimate. He treated the House with contempt and then when he came to reply on his Estimate he did not even have the courtesy to answer any of the questions or even to make a statement as to what is the policy of this Republic of Ireland on external affairs. It would be hard for the Minister to have an unbiassed policy because it is well known that his notorious hatred of Great Britain makes him regret that Great Britain was not destroyed and defeated in the last war by Nazi Germany, and he could not look at the United States with anything but bias because they entered the war as allies of Great Britain.
It is these prejudices which cloud the Minister's judgment when he goes to the United Nations. He wants to go to the United Nations, strut up and down the hall there and say: “I have an independent mind. We are an independent State.” It is a good thing that we can be independent but it should not cloud the judgment of the Minister and therefore subject the country to a good deal of shame. Almost every Irishman and woman has either a friend or a close relative in an honourable calling in the United States. When the United States was only a young country, when the people there had great difficulties for themselves and the appalling famine came to this country, almost wiping out our people, many of them fled to the United States. It was from the United States that food ships were sent to try to keep alive those who remained at home. We find ourselves through the representation of the Minister for External Affairs going to the United Nations and taking our place amongst the nations of the earth. How can we as Irishmen take our place amongst the nations of the earth when we are not prepared to stand with our friends?
We had older friends than the Americans. We had the French, and,  as Deputy Dillon said here today, the French Government sent an officer here with the replicas of the flags of the Irish Brigades that were in the service of France to be presented to the Minister for External Affairs, honouring the people of Ireland, honouring the men who joined those Brigades. What do we get? We start getting into the atomic bomb business.
Mr. T. Lynch: This Deputy does not have to try to keep the House going. When he speaks he has something worthwhile to say. I hope the Minister in his closing speech on this Estimate will tell us what is his policy and what is the foreign policy of this country. We had a contribution from a young Deputy here today, Deputy Seán Flanagan, the only man in the Fianna Fáil benches who has spoken in defence of the Minister. The loyalty of a man like Deputy Seán Flanagan is wonderful. Deputy Seán Flanagan was a Government nominee to the O.E.E.C. He was sent to Strasbourg where he acquitted himself with some distinction, if I might say so. He came back but I notice that he was dropped from the Irish delegation to the O.E.E.C.
I supported the imaginative proposal  of President Eisenhower who took the exceptional course of addressing the session for the establishment of a Middle East Economic Agency on the lines of O.E.E.C. And I suggested in particular that the Arab refugees problem was the greatest single obstacle to lasting peace in the area and that the United Nations should be ready to make extraordinary efforts to break the deadlock on this issue.
Mr. T. Lynch: Now I am very grateful to you, Sir. One of the cloaks put on this is the cry that can go up from the Government benches and the tied Government organ Pravda that we are trying, by implication, to brand the Minister for External Affairs as a Communist. We are doing no such thing. That is what you are all trying to say. We are not saying anything like that but you are trying to imply we are saying it. It was a pity that I was not allowed to go on about Strasbourg.
 In the matter of the Continent of Europe, it is the Minister's function to make trade agreements. I do not think we have any trade agreement with anybody on the Continent of Europe now. Both the Germans and the French have thrown us over. Of course, we would not make a trade agreement with the British. The Minister and his colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, had to go in great haste about seven or eight days ago to England in great secrecy. When they returned, no statement was made as to what happened.
Mr. T. Lynch: A damned good bargain. No statement was made about it. The Minister for External Affairs should have said that they were in England last week, that they had intended to make a trade agreement, that they had made a trade agreement or not, or that he was prepared to start another economic war but he should give us notice. I note that has been received in noticeable silence.
Mr. T. Lynch: The Minister for Agriculture had to have the Minister for External Affairs attending him going over. I always notice that the Minister for Agriculture is never allowed to go to Great Britain or anywhere else on his own.
I now come to what was from the point of view of the Irish Delegation the principal feature of the 1958 Session of the United Nations. Our main effort was concentrated upon drawing attention to the dangers involved for peace in wider dissemination of nuclear weapons. This was the central theme of my address in the Assembly's General Debate and we took steps to develop it further during the First Committee's disarmament debate.
Mr. T. Lynch: Let Deputy Burke not be put out about this. It is no trouble to me whether there are two minutes or two hours to go. That is no drawback to me at all. There was a matter I was dealing with when we asked for a House to come in.
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