United Europe Proposals—Motion.

Before formally moving the motion, I would like to express the pleasure I think most of us feel at the first appearance in this House of the Minister for External Affairs and to bid him welcome. I move:—

That Seanad Eireann directs the attention of the Government to the resolutions in favour of a United Europe which were passed at the Congress of Europe at The Hague and requests the Minister for External Affairs to make a statement.

I move this resolution because I believe that the attention of the Government and of the people of Ireland should be drawn to the movement towards European unity which is gaining substantial support amongst members of all political Parties except the Communists in the States of Western Europe.

For years our people were insular in their outlook and only a small minority took a real interest in international affairs. During the war we were prevented by the censorship from reading any news which the powers that be thought might interfere with our neutrality, and, generally speaking, the Government during that period discouraged too much interest or curiosity on the part of the man in the street in what was taking place in Europe.

A change took place after the end of the war, and I think I am correct in stating that there is now much more interest in European affairs than there has been for a long time. By sending food to those parts of Europe which were suffering acutely as a result of the war we recognised in a practical way that we had a special duty towards other countries in the continent of which we form a part. Our participation in the Marshall Plan and in the councils of the 16 nations is another indication of the fact that we are vitally interested in the rehabilitation of Europe.

Can the peace of the world be maintained if Europe remains divided into political and economic units? Can any European nation stand alone against the dangers with which it is threatened? Can a divided Europe maintain principles of democracy, the belief in individual freedom and the faith in human brotherhood and the ultimate equality of man in the sight of God which is essential to our Christian tradition?

The advocates of a United Europe believe that the answer to all these questions is in the negative, and they further believe that the spread of Communism can only be checked if the countries in Europe who believe in the principles of freedom will unite in an effective way to combat it.

The Congress of Europe which met at The Hague from May 7th-10th, was arranged by a number of nongovernmental organisations who had for some years been advocating the principle of European unity. It was, therefore, strictly unofficial and the members of the conference consisted of persons who had accepted invitations as individuals and not as delegates from their respective countries. They met as co-Europeans. In spite of its unofficial character it was probably one of the most remarkable and most representative international gatherings ever held. I see from one report of the conference that there were 16 ex-Prime Ministers. I am not particularly well up in ex-Prime Ministers, and I only counted seven. They were Mr. Churchill of Great Britain, Messrs. Paul Remadier, Edouard Daladier and Paul Reynaud of France, Paul van Zeeland of Belgium, Senor Negrin of Spain, and Knud Kristensen of Denmark. In addition there were many ex-Ministers and other well-known personages, but the unique character of the conference lay less in the number of prominent men and women who attended, than in the fact that all the various political colours in Europe except Communist red, took part in a spirit of co-operation aiming at one common objective. Ireland was represented by five, two from the Six Counties—Mr. Fred Thompson, M.P., Deputy Speaker of the Northern Parliament, and Archdeacon Hannon. Senator Miss Butler, Professor Tierney and I attended, and we were very glad of the opportunity of co-operating with our colleagues from the North on a question of common interest.

I would like also, if I would be allowed, to say that everyone who attended the congress at The Hague was enormously impressed by the welcome we received from the Dutch Government and the Dutch people and with the very generous hospitality which was given to everyone. I think it is only right that I should put that on record on behalf of those of us who attended from this country.

The main work of the conference was done by three committees—political, economic and cultural. Senator Miss Butler attended the economic committee, Prof. Tierney the cultural committee, and I attended the political committee. These three committees submitted resolutions which, after some minor amendments had been made, were adopted by the whole conference. It is to these resolutions that I wish to draw the attention of the Seanad, but before reading them I ought to explain that they should be taken as expressing the views of the conference in very general terms. As one of the leading speakers pointed out, the conference was not passing legislation, and it would have been quite impracticable in a four-day conference to have drafted any resolution which would be unanimously agreed to in every detail by 800 persons.

I propose to read the three resolutions as I feel that they are of sufficient importance to be on the records of the House.

I will take the political resolution first:—

"The ravages wrought by six years of war and by the occupation, the diminution of world food production, the destruction of industrial capacity, the creation of huge debts, the maintenance of military expenditure out of all proportion to the resources of the people, the shifting of economic power, the rancours left by war, the progressive evils of nationalism and the absence, despite the work of the United Nations Organisation, of an international authority sufficiently strong to provide law and order, constitute an unprecedented menace to the well-being and the security of the peoples of Europe and threaten them with ruin.

In accordance with the principles and objectives set out in the Political Report submitted by the International Committee of the Movements for European Unity:

THE CONGRESS

(1) Recognises that it is the urgent duty of the nations of Europe to create an economic and political union in order to assure security and social progress.

(2) Notes with approval the recent steps which have been taken by some European Governments in the direction of economic and political co-operation, but believes that in the present emergency the organisations created are by themselves insufficient to provide any lasting remedy.

SOVEREIGN RIGHTS.

(3) Declares that the time has come when the European nations must transfer and merge some portion of their sovereign rights so as to secure common political and economic action for the integration and proper development of their common resources.

(4) Considers that any union or federation of Europe should be designed to protect the security of its constituent peoples, should be free from outside control, and should not be directed against any other nation.

(5) Assigns to a united Europe the immediate task of establishing progressively a democratic social system, the aim of which shall be to free men from all types of slavery and economic insecurity, just as political democracy aims at protecting them against the exercise of arbitrary power.

(6) Affirms that the integration of Germany in a united or federated Europe alone provides a solution to both the economic and political aspects of the German problem.

(7) Declares that the union or federation must assist in assuring the economic, political and cultural advancement of the populations of the overseas territories associated with it, without prejudice to the special ties which now link these territories to European countries.

EUROPEAN ASSEMBLY.

(8) Demands the convening, as a matter of real urgency, of a European Assembly chosen by the Parliaments of the participating nations, from among their members and others, designed

(a) to stimulate and give expression to European public opinion;

(b) to advise upon immediate practical measures designed progressively to bring about the necessary economic and political union of Europe;

(c) to examine the juridical and constitutional implications arising out of the creation of such a union or federation and their economic and social consequences;

(d) to prepare the necessary plans for the above purposes.

CHARTER OF HUMAN RIGHTS.

(9) Considers that the resultant union or federation should be open to all European nations democratically governed and which undertake to respect a Charter of Human Rights.

(10) Resolves that a commission should be set up to undertake immediately the double task of drafting such a charter and of laying down standards to which a State must conform if it is to deserve the name of a democracy.

(11) Declares that in no circumstances shall a State be entitled to be called a democracy unless it does, in fact as well as in law, guarantee to its citizens liberty of thought, assembly and expression, as well as the right to form a political opposition.

(12) Requests that this commission should report within three months on its labours.

SUPREME COURT.

(13) Is convinced that in the interests of human values and human liberty, the Assembly should make proposals for the establishment of a court of justice with adequate sanctions for the implementation of this charter, and to this end any citizen of the associated countries shall have redress before the court, at any time and with the least possible delay, of any violation of his rights as formulated in the charter.

WORLD UNITY.

(14) Declares that the creation of a united Europe is an essential element in the creation of a united world."

The most important part of this resolution which I have just read is the suggestion that a European Assembly should be convened as soon as possible and that it should be chosen by the Parliaments of the countries of Europe who are willing to participate. It would be the function of this Assembly to consider what practical measures can be taken towards political and economic unity in Europe. It would, presumably, be for such an Assembly to recommend the extent to which the European nations must transfer a portion of their sovereign rights in order to make a federated union of Europe possible.

This seems to me to be the crux of the whole problem. Without some surrender of sovereignty no real federation is possible. United action could conceivably take place by agreement from time to time, but it would be always liable to fail in time of emergency if every nation maintained its absolute sovereign rights. If I had been asked a few years ago if there was any possibility of the larger and more powerful nations being willing to surrender a portion of their sovereignty for the sake of unity or security, I would have answered emphatically "No." After attending the Congress of Europe at The Hague, I am by no means so sure that this is impossible. To see and hear leading statesmen from large and powerful countries like England and France openly and vigorously advocating the surrender by their own nations of a portion of their sovereign powers was to me an event of striking importance. Smaller nations, however strong their national outlook and feelings may be, have always known they could only exercise their full sovereign powers with discretion and to some extent with an eye on their powerful neighbours. It is, therefore, not so surprising that the motions in favour of a Federal Europe are strong in countries like Belgium and Holland. Small nations are not likely to show any real unwillingness to surrender a portion of their sovereignty if and when they are perfectly satisfied that an equal surrender is being made at the same time by more powerful nations.

Personally, I am of the opinion that the time is ripe for the creation of a European Assembly, provided that it does not attempt too much. The powers delegated to it should be confined to matters on which a common interest is fully recognised by the peoples of the democratic States of Europe, and they should be the minimum necessary to make united action practicable in a time of emergency. I may be wrong, but I feel that the worst enemies of a united Europe are those persons who want to attempt too much and who fail to recognise that national feeling is a genuine thing in the hearts of the people in many countries and should not be confused with the flag waving which often denotes only a superficial or spurious nationalism. I believe that a healthy and honest nationalism is as necessary to internationalism as a high standard of individual character is essential to a good society.

There were some people at the Congress of Europe who would like to see a federated Europe in which the individual States would have no more power than that exercised by States in the American Union. Even if this be desirable, and I do not think it is, it could only come about very gradually and as the result of a complete change of attitude on the part of the people generally.

By all means let us learn that we are Europeans with many interests in common, but to do this it is quite unnecessary to forget that we are Irish, French, Dutch or Belgians and so on.

One of the most difficult problems to be solved in any scheme however moderate of federation will be that of representation in a European Parliament. When Monsieur Reynaud of France proposed in the Political Committee that a European Assembly should be summoned at once with one elected member for every 1,000,000 inhabitants, it was at once opposed by the smaller nations. I took no part in the Committee as I felt it was better to be there as an observer, but when the proposal was put forward in all seriousness then I thought it better to put down my name. Long before my name was reached the proposal was vigorously opposed by several speakers on behalf of the smaller nations. A Belgian representative suggested that there would have to be two Chambers in a European Parliament, one Chamber elected on the basis of population and the other with an equal number of representatives from each nation whether large or small. This obviously appealed to representatives of the smaller nations, but it is by no means certain that it would find favour with larger states. It would take up too much of the time of the House for me to deal with the proposals for a Charter of Human Rights or with the right of individuals to appeal on the interpretation of such a charter to a Supreme Court, but I may say that I do not see how you can ever have any measure of federation unless you had some such provision. I think a Supreme Court would be essential.

The economic and social resolution proposed by the Economic Committee was as follows:—

"Europe is now confronted by a great crisis and a great opportunity. Its old economic system has been shattered by the war. Thanks to the generous assistance of the United States of America there is a unique opportunity to build a new and better Europe if Europeans work together under a common plan to develop the economic strength of the Continent. There is no hope of recovery if each country simply strives to rebuild its national economy by the old methods. Under modern conditions Europe can only achieve the standard of living which it ought to enjoy if its industrial and natural resources are developed on continental lines. But progress in this direction will only be achieved if it is accompanied at every step by a parallel policy of ever-closer political union. Europe must unite if it is to regain and surpass its former prosperity and reassert its economic independence.

The exigencies of modern economic development must be reconciled with the integrity of human personality. In any economic organisation such as we envisage it must be decided where the responsibility rests; and in order to avoid any tendency towards totalitarianism and to safeguard the economic independence of the individual, the workers and their representative organisations should be closely associated with the setting up and development of the economy of united Europe.

THE CONGRESS

(1) Recognises that no attempt to rebuild the economy of Europe upon the basis of rigidly-divided national sovereignty can prove successful.

(2) Affirms the urgent need for an economic union in Europe.

(3) Declares that this union must maintain and progressively adjust the economic ties which at present link the countries of Europe with the Dominions and associated States or dependent territories overseas.

(4) Welcomes the initial measures taken by certain Governments towards closer economic co-operation, or towards regional groupings; and expresses the hope that the work of the conference of the 16 nations will lead to conclusions favourable to the success of European union.

IMMEDIATE RECOMMENDATIONS.

(5) Urges all the Governments concerned forthwith to proclaim their determination to promote economic union and to put into effect the immediate economic measures required.

These should include measures designed:

(a) TRADE.

(i) To remove step by step and, as soon as possible, finally abolish the obstacles to trade within the union which result from quotas and import or export prohibitions.

(ii) To reduce and, wherever possible, completely eliminate customs duties between the member States.

(b) CURRENCY.

(i) To restore budgetary equilibrium which is a first essential for the stability of currencies in each country and to reduce by all available means—including monetary policy—the disparities of prices and wages which are incompatible with the freedom of the exchanges.

(ii) To take early steps to establish multilateral clearings, or through the adjustment of exchange values, to set up areas within which the exchange of goods shall not be handicapped by currency controls.

(iii) Thus to pave the way for the free convertibility of currencies and the gradual restoration of freedom of trade among the countries of Europe.

(c) PRODUCTION.

(i) To promote a common programme for the development of agricultural resources and the provision of the necessary equipment, in order to provide Europe with the highest possible nutritional standard.

(ii) To encourage technical or regional industrial specialisation and the renewal and modernisation of the technical means of production.

(iii) To plan and carry into effect a co-ordinated programme of development for the basic industries of the whole area. This should include the production and fair distribution of the coal resources of united Europe as well as the expansion of its electric power and the co-ordination and rationalisation of communications.

(iv) And in general to draw up an overall production programme utilising the resources and equipment of European countries in conformity with the needs of their peoples.

(d) LABOUR.

(i) To raise to the greatest possible extent the standard of living of the populations of Europe in particular by all the above measures which are designed to increase production, and to invite the professional, economic and social organisations of the various countries to study together ways and means of increasing production still further and rationalising distribution while improving social conditions and ensuring a fair distribution of the product of economic activity.

(ii) To promote the mobility of labour to the maximum possible extent, while assuring to migrant workers and their families the standard of wages, social security, living conditions, and conditions of employment prevailing in the country to which they come.

(iii) To co-ordinate their economic policies so as to secure full employment."

I do not propose to read the whole of this resolution, which goes on to claim that there should be ultimate objectives which are

"(a) the free circulation of capital;

(b) the unification of currencies;

(c) the co-ordination of budgetary and credit policy;

(d) a full customs union, involving the abolition of all barriers to the movement of goods; and

(e) the co-ordination of social legislation."

This is a somewhat complicated resolution and is possibly difficult to follow when read, but I believe that the ideals set forth in it will meet with considerable approval in this country amongst those who may read it. It provides material for much thought and if discussed in this House it would probably take several days.

It will be noticed that the resolution sets out what are described as "first methods" and "ultimate objectives." While I am in general sympathy with these objectives, I am by no means convinced that it is possible or necessary to abolish all quota or tariff restrictions on trade. That these can be reduced substantially, as part of a united effort, I have no doubt, but the smaller nations who will form an important part of any federated Europe will have to see that there is enough work for the people who desire to remain in their own countries. I feel that it will be a long time before the smaller nations can afford to surrender their rights to afford some measure of protection to native industry. Therefore, while I am in sympathy with the ideal of the resolution, I am sceptical of the proposal for a full customs union as an ultimate objective.

The cultural resolution was of considerable importance, as practically all the European universities were represented at the congress—and Professor Tierney was very much in his element. I had intended to read the cultural resolution, but as it has taken a certain amount of time to read the others, I think it may not be necessary, since it does not deal so fundamentally with the question of European union. My own feeling is that, if there is to be any scheme or any measure of federal Europe the vital thing is that, while there should be the greatest possible interchange on a cultural level, there should be no attempt of any kind to suggest that the national culture of any nation could be interfered with or is at all likely to be interfered with. It seems to me that the essence of workability of any scheme must be the full recognition of national characteristics and that every nation must develop and maintain its own characteristics—at any rate, in so far as it believes in them. I believe in unity, but I have no belief whatever in uniformity.

In conclusion, I would like to say that I believe this movement towards European unity cannot be ignored. It is based partly on high idealism and partly on fear of what may happen to democratic Europe if war breaks out before some measure of unity has been achieved. Although the objective is a united Europe, it is perfectly clear that at the present time the only practicable proposal is a federation of the Western European nations who still believe in democratic principles and who could conceivably agree to a charter of human rights. If any Government in Europe would be prepared to take the first step and would propose the summoning of a European Assembly, as suggested in the political resolution, I believe it would receive widespread support in most if not all the Western European nations. An all-Party delegation was received by the Prime Minister in Great Britain a short time ago. Mr. Attlee promised to examine, with the Foreign Secretary, Mr. Bevin, the detailed proposals in the resolutions and, in particular, the proposal for the convening of a European Assembly. So far, he has not announced the result of this examination and, personally, I do not expect that he will do so until the present tension in relation to Germany has eased, as we all hope it will.

I do not for a moment suggest that our Government should take any action, but I do commend these resolutions to members of the Oireachtas as well worthy of study. I commend the movement to the Government as something which it should watch with sympathetic interest. More than that, I do not suggest. I believe these resolutions deal with matters of the utmost possible public importance and that what is done ultimately in relation to them may have a very considerable bearing on the future peace of Europe and of the world, in which we are all very much interested. As the main object of the resolution is to make it possible for the Minister for External Affairs to make a statement and as I want to leave an opportunity of speaking to other members of the House, I have tried to make my remarks as brief as possible, consistent with giving the essence of what is in the resolution.

Before we proceed to discuss this matter, I want to make a suggestion. I should like to congratulate Senator Douglas on his very exhaustive report of the proceedings at this conference, but, at the same time, I feel that Senators should have these resolutions in printed form before discussing them. I make the suggestion that we should postpone the discussion and not request the Minister to make a statement straight away, until Senators have all the resolutions before them and time to study them in all their implications. I feel that it is an unfair advantage to take of the Minister when the world is in such a state of chaos and confusion. Mr. Attlee's name has been mentioned, and he and his advisers have not come to any decision yet on these matters. I suggest that we postpone the discussion until we have the full information before us, because none of us can memorise all these resolutions that have been read out.

I have pleasure in seconding this resolution. I do so for two reasons: first, that I believe, having been present at the Congress of Europe, that a United States of Europe, beginning perhaps with a Union of Western Europe, is well within the bounds of possibility within the next few years and is no longer a Utopian dream. It can no longer be dismissed as a Utopian ideal when one realises that 760 people came together, representing every political Party in Europe, except the Communist Party, representing every creed and every nationality, high dignitaries of churches, including the representative of the Vatican, ex-Prime Ministers and other statesmen, poets, writers and scholars of every denomination who, if not officially representing Governments in power, cannot be dismissed and of whom it cannot be said that they do not represent a very strong and definite voice in Europe.

Because I believe western union as a first step towards a united Europe is well within the bounds of possibility within the next few years, I think the time has come when the Government of Ireland should make known to the people of Ireland the existence and strength of such a movement on the Continent and should consider what steps they would be prepared to take if they were suddenly faced with the question of making the decision. I believe that it is possible, in the present troubled state of the world, that they may be called upon at quite short notice to make a decision. Therefore, I feel that the sooner the whole question is discussed in Parliament and made known to the country as a whole the better.

Senator Douglas has outlined to the House the work of the congress and the scope of its resolutions. Over 20 nations were represented, from Iceland to Greece, from Finland to Portugal. Exiled representatives of States which were not represented because of their Communist views were present and all were agreed that the salvation of Europe and the only hope for the future of Europe lay in agreement upon a united Europe.

The second reason I support the motion is that those who took part in the conference and who were inspired by the discussions there and the amount of co-operation between such varying points of view pledged themselves to make known to their respective Governments what had happened. None of the Press reports I saw when I returned from The Hague gave any clear indication of the atmosphere of that conference. Points were stressed in accordance with the policies of newspapers and very little of the actual discussion that went on appeared in the reports. I refer, of course, to the British and Irish newspapers—I saw only one American newspaper and that did not seem to have any grasp of the trend of discussion. The most impressive feature of the conference was the amount of agreement between the varying points of view. There was, of course, a tremendous amount of difference as to the ways and means of bringing into effect a united Europe, but there was this unifying point between them all, a common belief in democracy, a hatred of injustice and a common Christian tradition which they were all prepared to recognise as being the basis of a way of life which we all share. No one, I hope, would deny that Ireland shares these beliefs and considers herself part of that common tradition.

There have been only two traditions of civilisation, as we know it, in Western Europe, one, the classical, and the other the Christian. It is a matter for argument and for historical difference of opinion as to how far we were affected by the classical tradition, but there is no argument as to our participation in the Christian civilisation. We have our strong links through the Christian Church with Europe, and in the past we undoubtedly played our part through our contribution to the Christianisation of other countries and the general building up of the civilisation which followed. Our history has been a troubled one—one of continuous struggle for freedom, but always linked with movements which were taking place in the world outside, and the movements which produced our patriots and our poets were more directly connected with European movements than, perhaps, with even our own internal struggles. Even the Flight of the Earls, the 1798 Rebellion, and the rebellions of 1830 and 1848, were but offshoots of a wider European movement. It is only within recent years that the thoughts of our people have been turned inwards and our minds allowed to dwell exclusively upon our own grievances. It may be entirely coincidental that, in this inward process, the majority of our people have become more apathetic and take less interest in political affairs, and, I may even say, in the interests of their own country, than ever before.

But there is a far more serious thought, that is, the danger to the Irish people of losing their judgment of what really matters—in other words, their sense of values—the danger of becoming a nation, which, in an age when all admit that civilisation, as we know it, freedom, justice, the rule of law and democracy are all doomed to perish, unless a united stand is made, is incapable of deciding to play its part because of an internal grievance, incapable of deciding what the primary issue of our times is, incapable of visioning not only possibilities which such European co-operation could open for Europe as a whole, but the possibilities it offers to all those who believe in democracy and freedom of the hope of a third alternative, a middle course for Europe, a European solution based on a common Christian tradition and a common cultural tradition.

In accepting our part in the European recovery plan, we have accepted, like all the other 16 countries, certain ties and a certain common policy with the rest of Europe. In accepting these common ties and common policies with the rest of Europe, we have to a certain extent created a tie with the United States. I am not in any way criticising this state of affairs. I am merely making the point that we have, in certain respects and in common with the rest of Europe, tied ourselves to the United States economically over a period, the duration of which we do not definitely know at the moment. This common tie with the rest of Europe made it, in my opinion, more necessary than ever before for European countries to get together and to discuss together how they can maintain their political freedom, how they can find a European solution of their own problems politically. There is nothing new in this idea of a united Europe. It is one which has been considered through the ages.

The resolutions which were put forward were merely put forward as a basis of discussion so that there would be something there if it was decided to send representatives to the Assembly on which to start a discussion. The resolutions have already been dealt with by Senator Douglas and I do not propose to discuss them or to repeat them, but there are a few points that I would like to emphasise. As regards the political resolutions, I would like to emphasise the fact that it was considered the urgent duty of the nations of Europe to create an economic and political union. Senator Douglas referred to the third resolution. It declares that the time has come when European nations must transfer and merge some portion of their sovereign rights. I would like to see that statement reading that the time has come for European nations to exercise generally a certain portion of their sovereign rights, without any question of transferring or merging them. I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fourth resolution, which says that Congress

"considers that any union or federation of Europe should be designed to protect the security of its constituent peoples, should be free from outside control and should not be directed against any other nation."

I think that with that spirit and approach only will Europe find its own solution to-day. As regards the other resolutions under the political heading, I can sympathise with Senator Anthony, who feels that without having the text before us and having time to study it there would be no point in discussing them in detail. There is only one other point on the political resolution to which I would like to refer and that is resolution No. 9. It suggests that the congress considers that the resultant union or federation should be open to all European nations democratically governed. The door is open to every country in Europe which is democratically governed and willing to undertake and respect the charter of human rights. Surely a nation such as Ireland, which cherishes so much the value of human rights, would be prepared to make some contribution to a commission to be set up to undertake the drawing up of this charter. Senator Douglas has already referred to the influences which the smaller nations can exercise and did exercise in the drawing up of the resolutions on determining the basis of representation on a European Assembly, if such were ever to come into existence.

I personally took part in the economic committee and perhaps I should say a few words on this subject. Of all the Press reports those relating to the economic committee were most misleading. The first difficulty that arose was whether it was more urgent to set up an economic committee of United Europe or whether economic steps should follow the political steps. It was felt very strongly by European countries that the structural changes necessary for the setting up of a political organisation would of necessity be slow and that the urgency of the present situation demanded the immediate setting up of some sort of economic committee or council. It was clearly recognised that any attempt to bolster up the status quo or any attempt to return to the conditions of 1939 would not in any way meet the present European situation. It was clearly obvious that any economic council would have to be free from outside control. In this connection I feel it is only right to mention that it was pointed out that in view of the Marshall Plan and the debt which many countries owed to America some form of co-operation with America should be maintained in the setting up of such an economic committee. This point was put forward by Norway, the only country that supported this point of view. It was immediately pointed out by other nations that this would defeat the real object of an independent European movement. Countries, while thanking God for what America had done for many of them, pointed out that we were gathered there at The Hague for the purposes of finding a third alternative to the two blocks that have unfortunately crystallised in Europe to-day. In admitting America directly to the economic council they would prejudice the possibility of finding this third alternative. There is one other point in connection with the economic council, and that is that at a later stage of the conference when the resolutions of this economic committee were presented to the Congress as a whole, the American observer stated the views of the American Congress, and in doing so, discussed the question of Marshall Aid and how it affected the proposals for a European movement for unity. He was frank enough to admit America's reasons for aiding Europe as being roughly half and half between the desire to keep American industry going and prevent a possible slump and of maintaining the way of life which every American values and which every American believes would be endangered if Western Europe were to collapse. That frank admission in that statement that America views the proposals for a united Europe with approval was of immense interest to those present.

One other point of information he gave the congress was that recently an economic survey of Europe had been made and that potentially, taking the boundaries of Europe as in 1939, Europe was as rich in raw materials as the United States of America and the Soviet Union of Russia, that because of its internal divisions, because of its national frontiers, all this potential strength was dissipated and ineffective as a force in the world.

Some people might wonder why the conference was held at all if it was unofficial. It was because—this is my personal view—certain steps had been taken and so much had been done that those who represent the movement for a united Europe felt that it would be of benefit to bring together all the support possible, to give all the publicity possible to the movement.

As early as 1940 a definite step towards a united Europe was made when Britain offered joint citizenship to France. In 1943 General Smuts, speaking in the South African Parliament, suggested that the time had come when, in addition to her position as the centre of the Commonwealth, Great Britain should work more closely with like-minded democracies in Europe. In 1947, the Anglo-French Treaty was made, the Treaty of Dunkirk, which provided, not only for mutual defence, but for economic consolidation. Earlier an Anglo-French Economic Committee had been set up. In 1947 the Benelux Customs Union was formed and during the same period numerous measures and discussions of colonial co-operation were taking place. Discussions were also held between European Colonial Powers in respect of their overseas territories.

The greatest impetus towards this movement for a united Europe came in June, 1947, with Mr. Marshall's suggestion, and, later, with the 16 nations participating in the Marshall Plan. It should be remembered that this offer was made to the whole of Europe, including Russia. The Paris Conference of September and the second conference of April, 1948, brought the moves for a united Europe stages further, but what was needed was a parallel and a complementary political move in Western Europe. The first definite step towards this was, I think, Mr. Bevin's speech in January of this year, when he expressed his opinion that the time was ripe for the consolidation of Europe and emphasised that Western Europe must not only be concerned with Europe as a geographical conception. He stated that Europe had extended its influence throughout the world and that the organisation of Europe must be economically supported, and, therefore, the closest possible collaboration must be maintained with the Commonwealth and the overseas territories of the European countries, France, Holland, etc. He went on to point out that the other two great world Powers, the United States of America and Soviet Russia, had tremendous resources and that if Western Europe was to achieve its balance of payments and to get a world equilibrium it was absolutely essential that the Western European countries should plan together in developing these tremendous resources. He suggested a regional organisation which would later fit into a world pattern.

These views were welcomed by M. Bidault, and M. Spaak of Belgium, but by France in particular. M. Bidault went on to suggest that perhaps Great Britain and France together might make an approach to the Benelux group to see how much further the matter could be taken. Various discussions followed, and in March, 1948, the Brussels Treaty was signed. The congress, of course, followed all this.

That is roughly the position to date. There is nothing in the whole course of events to show us that there is the slightest doubt but that within a period of a few years a united or at least a Western Europe will be a fait accompli. The real reason for this resolution is that fact, that we are going to have to make a decision and perhaps make that decision quite quickly, that our people should be prepared and that the real issues of our day should be put before them.

To my mind, the real issue to-day is how to project on a world scale an answering ideology to warring ideologies; how to create an organism which will save democracy and make it a living force. I feel that we have passed out of the phase of the rights of small nations. I feel that the world organisations such as the League of Nations, which heretofore were based upon this slogan of the rights of small nations, failed because of the very rights which they tried to maintain and protect, for such rights, when translated into terms of economics, only meant that each country claimed the inviolable right to produce and export as much as it could and to keep out as much as possible its neighbour's goods by tariffs and quotas, and so on. Surely, we as a nation are capable of seeing the wider issues of providing the world with a new ideology, even of seeing the benefits which it might bring to our own country, even of seeing the possibility of the constitutional position—that unreal position which we all resent so much, our own particular grievance—collapse like a pack of cards. The resolutions for a united Europe, which would include the abolition of Customs barriers and European passports, I feel would even abolish the artificial border. If that were done, what is left? It even eliminates the necessity of having to make up our minds whether we are or are not in the Commonwealth, and whether we go in or stay out. With all this out of the way, what is left? Surely, then, our own grievance and our own particular question should not be made a bargaining issue. Surely, our people can at least be given an opportunity to play their rightful part in the European group to which they so rightly belong.

I feel, however, that I should like to go a little further than Senator Douglas has gone. He stressed the point that he did not want to make any suggestion to the Government as to action. Neither do I wish to make any suggestion as to what action should be taken, but I think, at least, the two possibilities open to the country should be placed before the country. One is to signify to the other countries that took part in the congress of Europe our agreement with the resolutions as set out as a basis for discussion and for the setting up of an Assembly and to make known our willingness to send our representatives to such an Assembly, or, alternatively, if we feel that we would like to be more concrete, if we feel that we can clearly say that the future of Europe depends upon a united Europe, to signify our willingness to take our responsibility with the existing movement, with the Benelux countries, with the countries that have signed the Brussels agreement. These are the possibilities open to us.

The general aims of the Brussels treaty are defined as:—

"To reaffirm their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the other ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations;

To fortify and preserve the principles of democracy, personal freedom and political liberty, the constitutional traditions and the rule of law, which are their common heritage;

To strengthen, with these aims in view, the economic, social and cultural ties by which they are already united;

To co-operate loyally and to co-ordinate their efforts to create in Western Europe a firm basis for European economic recovery;

To afford assistance to each other, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, in maintaining international peace and security and in resisting any policy of aggression;

To take such steps as may be held to be necessary in the event of a renewal by Germany of a policy of aggression;

To associate progressively in the pursuance of these aims other States inspired by the same ideals and animated by the like determination."

I feel that these aims are applicable to the Irish people. I am not suggesting that legal action should be taken. I am merely suggesting that it should be made known that the feeling is that we stand not alone for a civilised Europe but for an endeavour to do our part in that respect.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

This motion requests the Minister for External Affairs to make a statement. I suggest that if the Minister is agreeable to do so, the Minister might make a statement now and, afterwards, should any Senator wish to continue the debate he may do so. It would appear to me, however, that any prolonged debate should not be held just now. As Senators are not fully acquainted with the resolutions it would be advisable that the debate should be adjourned until some future date, when Senators would have an opportunity of studying the subject in the light of the statement and of debate.

I suggest there is no point in adjourning the debate, seeing that the main point in the motion is to ask the Minister for External Affairs to make a statement. There is one other point I should like to make at this stage. In future, if Senators have a matter of such serious import for the Seanad that they must prepare papers on it, and read those papers in the House, there ought to be some decision by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges that such papers be circulated a reasonable time before they are read or, at least, that they might have copies of them in their hands when they are being read.

Would it be in order to suggest that the Minister should not make a statement now? Those of us who think it would be inadvisable to have a statement now may have reasons to the contrary to give on this question.

Is it not a matter for the House and for the convenience of the Minister? If Senator Ó Buachalla desires to speak, the Minister might give way to him, and the House might then hear Senator Ó Buachalla and Senator Mrs. Concannon. A few Senators would like to speak before the Minister. It would be more suitable to let the Minister conclude the debate.

I am quite prepared to convenience the Minister and to let him make his statement now.

May I draw the attention of the House to the fact that this debate must conclude at 6 o'clock? So far as this evening's proceedings are concerned, that was the order made by the House.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

It is a matter altogether for the House. If it wishes to discuss the question, well and good. I merely suggested a certain course following Senator Anthony's representations.

The motion calls for nothing more than a statement. I suggest that there is no reason why the debate should not finish by 6 o'clock.

Senator Mrs. Concannon said that she would like to give reasons why a statement should not be made now. If these reasons are to be given, they should be given before the Minister makes his statement. They would be ineffective afterwards.

It would be possible to discuss the motion at great length. Economic co-operation is possible, but if lurking at the back of this suggestion was the idea of economic integration, there was an obvious fallacy in that. If economic integration of Europe was proposed, what it amounted to then was an attempt to solve the problem by enlarging it. Unfortunately, at the back of these very idealistic and excellent ideas were the dangers of their being exploited by certain sinister and more realistic forces in the background, such as international finance.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Mrs. Concannon has already offered, Senator.

I give way to the Senator.

I understood we were to decide the question of procedure first. Is the Minister to be heard or are we to debate the motion?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The House does not appear to favour the suggestion I made. Accordingly the debate will proceed. Senator Ó Buachalla was in possession, but he gave way to Senator Mrs. Concannon.

The wording of this motion is surprising, but I recognise that the formula suggested by the Committee of Procedure and Privileges was to prevent this House having a head-on collision with the Constitution, so that if the Agreement was recognised we could not call the Minister to account. That does not arise here. As to the formula, it looks as if the Government needed the Seanad to draw attention to the fact that there was a European crisis and that a certain resolution in favour of a united Europe was passed. Therefore, it must be known that a congress was held and that a resolution in favour of a united Europe was passed. If the Minister is going to make a statement I think it should be made by him in the first instance in the other House. It is a matter of very great importance. What Deputy Séan MacBride said during the last general election did not concern anybody except, perhaps himself, and it would be different if it was what the Minister for External Affairs said because, in this particular instance, he would be expressing the opinion not only of people here but of unfortunate people over the Border.

Therefore, what the Minister for External Affairs says should not be rushed. The Minister should not be rushed into making a statement on this question in this House. I have not had time to get opinions on this question, but I think the Dáil and the Seanad should have an opportunity of expressing their views before the Minister for External Affairs makes a statement. To my mind, for the Minister to make a statement at this particular time, except a most colourless statement, would be only just a waste of time. I think the Minister would be well advised if the House did not pass the resolution in that form. The Minister would then be absolved of any want of courtesy to us if he decided not to make a statement.

There are many reasons why the Minister should not make a statement at this time. One is that which he himself gave in Paris and which he rather hinted at in the Dáil when introducing his Estimate, namely, that a united Ireland must take precedence for us over a united Europe. I think that, before we even consider joining what is called united Europe, we should like to know what is meant by the term and what nations will compose united Europe. I believe myself that we could have a splendid united Europe if we could have the Pope at the head of it and Spain a member of it. But what we have at present can hardly be called a united Europe. It may be a union of certain nations in Europe, but that is all there is to it. However, according to the statement of the Minister himself, and what we have listened to, all the nations would be asked to sacrifice some of their sovereign rights. He said that himself in his opening statement in the Dáil. He seemed to be rather enamoured himself of the idea of a united Europe. He spoke very sympathetically about it, but he did not commit himself. He said we ought to be thinking about it. I suppose it is no harm to do that, but before we commit ourselves we ought to know what part of our sovereign rights we would have to sacrifice and who would be at the head of united Europe. There would have to be some direction. I suppose it would have to be governed in some particular way. From what we have already heard, some of those who are responsible for the congresses of Europe are not such as to inspire confidence in us. We would like to have some information on all this before the Minister makes a statement.

I am sure we are all very grateful to the two Senators who at their own expense went to the congress as observers—unofficial observers. I do not think that the practice of people going as unofficial observers is very desirable. Two very important people, two nominated Senators, went there. They had been chosen as members of this House out of the whole Irish people for their outstanding ability, for their service to the nation and for the quality of the contributions which they could make to our discussions here. Senator Duffy on one occasion questioned the right of nominated Senators. He may have changed his opinion on that since.

Nominated Senators have a particular status. When they go to a congress as unofficial observers, come back and report to the House as to what was done there, that may give an air of officialdom to what they do. It is a thing which, in my opinion, we should be on our guard against. If we are to take any part in a united Europe it should be only after a full discussion when we know what a united Europe means and if a united Ireland had been achieved— after we know what a united Europe stands for and what advantages we are to gain from it, and after we know what sacrifices we must make for it: it is only when we are clear about these things that we should do anything definite. The Minister has told us that it is time to be thinking of these things. It is no harm to be thinking of them, but I am of opinion that it would be imprudent at this particular point to commit ourselves to any course of action.

It has been suggested that we cannot discuss this matter because we have not the details of the motion in front of us. I think that even if we have not the details, certain principles have emerged which can be discussed. For example, I think that lurking in the background of these very idealistic and otherwise excellent proposals there were certain dangers. For example, if in addition to the economic co-operation which we are to have under the European recovery programme, there is to be any suggestion at the back of these proposals of European integration as opposed to co-operation, then I think that what we are doing is to attempt the obvious fallacy of solving a problem by enlarging it. These idealistic proposals of greater and greater spheres of union, economic as well as political, are regarded by certain sinister and more realistic forces in the background as an opportunity for the extension of their own domination. These are the forces of international finance. Senator Mrs. Concannon asked who would be in charge of united Europe. I can tell her right away, that, under the present international financial interests, it will be Wall Street. Years ago I fought out this issue of a world state in the columns of the English Weekly with Mr. H.G. Wells.

This motion set down by Senator Douglas and Senator Miss Butler is framed in the form of words which was devised by the Committee on Procedure for the purpose of enabling the Minister to make a statement on a matter about which the House would not be, so to speak, politically divided. Senator Mrs. Concannon is, I think, aware of that. Whatever sinister influences may be at work in Europe, I can assure Senator Ireland that this motion was framed in the particular manner which was devised by the Committee on Procedure unanimously some years ago for the purpose of enabling a Minister to make a statement on a matter of public importance. This is a matter of public importance, namely, this congress of Europe, and the fact that it did come together and did succeed in reaching a particular measure of agreement.

I know that Senator Ireland is right when he says that these congresses and parliamentary conferences—I have attended quite a number of them— have a natural tendency to go in for generalisations and abstractions, but, at the same time, it is a good thing that a great number of people from different countries, when a particular difficulty exixts, should come together and be able to agree on certain things; that they should stir up each delegation in its own particular country to discussion and to a knowledge of the problems of Europe.

I do not think that you can dispose of the discussion of these problems simply by saying that there are sinister influences at work without naming these influences. One of the influences which is quite sinister and quite open is Communism, as it is directed from Moscow. We all know that there may be other sinister influences, too, but, as far as we are concerned, the important matter for us is that we must be interested in the affairs of Europe. It is absolutely essential for us. We cannot hide our heads in the sand and cannot by any formula that we may devise prevent ourselves from being interested in Europe, because it is a matter of importance for us, for our children and for our survival. It might also be a matter on which we might all agree. On this question of external affairs, Senator Mrs. Concannon's speech with regard to the importance of a statement by a Minister for External Affairs is one with which I am in complete agreement. I liked the opening part of Senator Miss Butler's speech. It is not in the last 25 years that we have begun to play a part in international affairs. We have always done that, but we are now confronted with a world which is getting very much smaller, and we can play that part as an organised internationally recognised State and the Minister for External Affairs is the personification of our institutions in that regard. For that reason, it is interesting to allow the Minister to make a statement. I have confidence that if he, or, indeed, any Minister for External Affairs, expresses his willingness to speak, he will not make a statement which he may feel would do harm. Senator Mrs. Concannon may rest assured that the Minister would not come here at all if he had not thought that there were things he could say which would be useful and not harmful.

We were once on the fringe of the world, ar imeall an domhain, and we are now in the middle of it, and we must perforce be interested in what happens in Europe and America. Senator Miss Butler was right when she said that the movements with which we deal in our histories and which we regard as native movements can be traced to a larger outside influence, repercussions of things happening in Europe. In the 18th century we had a very keen appreciation of what was happening in Europe. Poets who did not know any English, and sometimes had no French, had a very keen and clear understanding of what was happening outside, of the alliances and wars in Europe, in connection with the Stuart dynasty and the restoration of the Stuarts. In the 19th century we had intimate acquaintance with the United States of America and it is only in comparatively recent times that we have become isolationist and to a certain degree pharisaical, and say we are not like other people. That is not a Christain attitude. We should remember that we have been favoured in a great many ways, but that we are Europeans, a very new State and a very old nation. We have knowledge of the United States of America which probably no people all across Europe could rival. For that reason, we should be able to understand the problems both of Europe and of America and make a connection between them.

And of Britain.

And of Britain. In our history we were never really isolationists and we have missionary and labour connections with many countries. We were never out for conquest or isolation. We have a rôle to play and we should play it, partly because it is essential for our physical safety and partly because as a Christian people we should be interested in the maintenance of our own traditions.

I do not think there has been in these resolutions any suggestion of economic integration, but rather of economic co-operation. The Congress of Europe was influenced by fear, it was made urgent by fear, but although the necessities are urgent you cannot force people to do certain things. Above all, I think Senator Mrs. Concannon is wrong when she thinks that before we do anything we must wait for an ideal set of conditions to emerge and must know who is in charge of this and that and what their history and their motives are. Certainly, we must get information, but we know there is a problem and if we wait for ideal conditions we wait until the problem solves itself. If there were ideal conditions across Europe, there would be no problem.

I support Senator Douglas in his remark that European unity does not mean European uniformity. Apparently there was no suggestion at the congress that there should be a dull uniformity imposed on Europe, but rather that there should be intelligent use of the economic resources and political powers of Europe, perhaps an abandonment of a certain part of political sovereignty for certain economic and cultural aims. There is a differentiation of culture, based upon a fundamental similarity that makes a united interest, and there is no suggestion that that should be abandoned. People like Senator Mrs. Concannon and myself who are interested in the preservation of our own traditions must recognise that we can have no national traditions at all if certain schemes of government do not survive. If the European Christian way of life does not survive, our traditions go by the board more hopelessly and more certainly than ever was the case under British domination.

The big countries are of great importance, but so are small countries. You have France and Britain, Germany and Spain, and you need these people without necessarily agreeing with their rulers. You do not have to impose upon everybody else the system which suits us. There has been some talk of abandoning political sovereignty. In our history, extreme nationalism is quite a new thing, dependent on the spread of the English language and not known at all in Irish. This was a country which had a spiritual, a literary and a linguistic unity without political unity, without having in modern times what we call a State with modern concepts of political sovereignty.

That was not unique, surely?

It was unique in that it lasted longer here than anywhere else. There is no need for me to go into the history of France, with four languages in one particular era. Those of us interested in parliamentary government and political sovereignty realise, especially since the first world war, that those things are not remedies for economic evils and may even aggravate the differences between nations. So we are rather disillusioned on that matter; we have found that these things are not the all-important solutions of problems, as at one moment we thought they were. Therefore, for international purposes and for the preservation of our own traditions, we, like other countries, might be willing to surrender some of that political sovereignty.

With regard to a European Assembly, it ought, I think, to have very limited powers. For myself, I always felt that possibly a European Assembly might reproduce the faults of national parliaments in exaggerated form. Perhaps the greatest enemies, therefore, of any progress are, as has been said, those who want to do too much and to do it too quickly.

We have advantages here in our knowledge of Europe, in our knowledge of the United States of America and in the fact that we are a small country, with no aims, except the solution of the problem of the unity of the country, to be achieved. We have the advantage of being a very old nation and a very new State, based upon political principles. Strange to say, we have another advantage which is not often adverted to, that, by and large, we have less political asperity in this country than in most countries, although there are people who probably would not believe that and do not understand it, but if we keep jealously apart and if we have any foolish idea that, by making declarations to ourselves or by ignoring what in happening in Europe and America, we can be a blooming oasis in a desert of ruin, we are being very foolish. It is, therefore, well worth while for the House—this House has more time than the other House and ought to have at least as good debating power with regard to a matter of this kind; whether it has or not is a matter I will not go into—to discuss these matters, and I think we ought to hear the Minister without forcing him to say anything he does not want to say. This discussion is the type of discussion which is very appropriate for this House, but if we could do anything to awaken in this House and in the country generally an intelligent interest in external affairs, in all that they mean and their great importance for us, we would have done a very good day's work, and, for that reason, the mover and seconder are to be congratulated.

Is tairiscint í seo a bhféadfadh duine a lán a rá fúithi agus is tairiscint í dá mba mhian leis sin a rá nár ghá dhó mórán ama a chaitheamh leí. Is trua liom nach raibh mé anseo nuair labhair an Seanadóir Ó Dubhghlais i dtosach, mar níl mé cinnte ar thug sé cuntas dúinn ar cé hiad na daoine a ghlaoidh an chomhdháil seo le chéile. Níl a fhios agam ar thug sé cuntas dúinn ar cén chaoi a ndeachaigh sé féin agus an Seanadóir de Buitléir go dtí an chomhdháil. Níl a fhios agam arb é an chaoi ar hainmíodh iad ag an Rialtas.

Níl a fhios agam arb é an chaoi a raibh cruinniú Seanadóirí ann agus gur hainmníodh ad ag an gcruinniú sin.

Níl a fhios agam arb é an chaoi ar ainmnigh eagraíocht nó eagraíochtaí éagsúla iad. Níl a fhios agam cén chaoi ar toghadh iad. Ar an mbealach céanna níl a fhios agam cén chaoi ar toghadh na 710 nó 760 duine a tháinig le chéile ag an Haag ag an gcomhdháil sin. Ní chuireann an uimhir mhór sin aon ionadh orm, agus ní léiríonn sé dhom aon údarás faoi leith a bheith ag baint leo. Ní léiríonn sé dhom gur féidir a rá gur "cross-section" i gceart iad ar an bpobal éagsúil ar fud na hEorpa. Cinnte, b'fhurasta, i mBaile Átha Cliath, míle duine a thabhairt le chéile ag cruinniú agus rúin áirithe a chur i bhfeidhm ag an gcruinniú sin, agus ba dearmad mhór a rá go raibh aon tábhacht ag baint leis an gcruinniú sin chomh fada agus a bhaineann sé leis an bpobal.

Nílim a rá nach léiríonn dreamanna beaga smaointí agus moltaí anathábhacht agus go minic d'fhéadfadh sé bheith nach mbeadh mórán brí leo.

Rinneadh tagairt do na náisiúin a bhí páirteach sa gcomhdháil seo. Is maith liom gur thagair an Seanadóir Uí Choincheannain do thíortha áirithe. Is ar éigin gur ag tabhairt Cothrom na Féinne di a bheadhan té adéarfadh gur "isolationist" í. Is bean í a bhfuil mór-chuid den Euróip siúlta aici, go bhfuil teangmháil aici chomh maith agus atá ag fear nó bean san Euróip agus sa domhan fré chéile. Níl a fhios agam an bhfuil mórán Seanadóirí ann is leitheadúla léargus Ná í ar chúrsaí an domhain agus ar thábhacht agus ar laige na hÉireann i gcúrsaí an domhain.

Rinne sí tagairt do chuid de na tíortha nár hainmníodh nuair a bhí an moltóir agus an cuiditheoir ag caint ar an rún. "Democraticallyi governed countries"—beidh cead acu bheith páirteach ins an gcomhdháil sin. Léiríonn sé sin an fáth go mba mhaith linn bheith an-chúramach agus gur dóigh linne go mba cheart don Aire bheith an-chúramach sul a labharfaidh sé ar an gceist seo. Ba cheart dó bheith i ndon labhairt ar an gceist seo i dtreo go bhféadfaimís bheith cinnte gurb é aigne an Rialtais atá sé a nochtadh dhúinn ar an scéal.

Labhair an Seanadóir Uí Choincheannáin ar an Spáinn. An mbeidh cead ag an Spáinn bheith páirteach sa gcomhdháil? An dtabharfaí "democratically-governed country" ar an Spáinn? Rinneadh tagairt don Vatican, don Phápa. An mbeidh aon bhaint nó údarás ag an Vatican bheith páirteach in a leithéid seo de chomhdháil? Ba mhaith liom, sul a labhróidh an tAire, go mbeadh gach gné den scéal scrúduithe aige; agus nuair labhróidh sé, go mbeidh a fhios againn nach tuairmí reatha ach tuairmí socruithe cinnte an Rialtais an bheas a sé nochtadh i dtaobh an scéil. Rinneadh tagairt do rúin éagsúla agus do ghnéithe éagsúla de choras an domhain a bhí faoi dhíospóireacht ag an gcomhdháil sin. Rinneadh tagairt do cheartas na ndaoine—"human rights." A ndearnadh tagairt ag an gcomhdháil sin do na Deich nAitheanta? Cén mhaith a bheith ag caint ar cheartas na ndaoine nuair is féidir iad a luadh go simplí—agus a fheafraí ar na náisiúin an bhfuil siad sásta leis na Deich nAitheanta. Feicthear dhomsa mar gheall ar a lán de na comhdhála idirnáisiúnta, a lán de na cainteanna a bhíos ar bun, fiú amháin in Eirinn, ar "citizenship," nach bhfuil iontu ach leithscéal leis na Deich nAitheanta a sheachaint nó le gan iád a luadh. Lucht na comhdhála seo, an Críostaithe iad dáiríre?

Dúirt an Seanadóir de Buitléir nach raibh mórán eolais le fáil sna nuachtáin ar imeachtaí na comhdhála— agus chombh fada agus a baineas sé liom, níl mórán eolais agam air; pér bith eolas atá agam tá sé agam de bharr na díospóireachta seo tráthnóna. Níl muinín agam as cuid de na daoine a bhí i mbun na comhdhála sin. Ná tógadh aon duine orm é má deirim go bhfuil mé in aimhreas orthu. Nach é mó cheart a rá go bhfuil mé in aimhreas orthu? Nuair a labhrann daoine mar sin ar chúrsaí eachtracha, nach é mo cheart bona fides na daoine seo diniúchadh, chun a fháil amach cén muinín is ceart a bheith againn astu, san obair atá beartaithe acu a dhéanamh ar son an domhain agus ar son na hEireann cinte mar pháirt den domhan. Ná ceapfadh aon duine go bhfuil mé i gcoinne spéis a bheith ag muintir na hEireann sna himeachtaí seo nó baint a bheith acu leis na himeachtaí más imeachtaí ceart a iad.

Ón méid a dúirt an Seanadóir Ó hAodha, shílfeá go raibh mórán daoine in Éirinn arbh ole leo aon bhaint a bheith acu leis an Euróip. Níl aon phobal is mó spéis i gcúrsaí an domhain agus na hEorpa na sinn féin. Níla fhios agam an bhfuil aon chuid de phobal na hÉireann is mo eolas ar imeachtai an domhain, thoir no thiar, na pobal na Gaeltachta. Sinne sa tir seo, nach bhfuilimid ag cothu caidrimh leis an Europ ar feadh na mblianta? Nach bhfuilimid ie gairid ag coth caidrimh leo, trí mic léinn a chur amach ó na hollscoltacha go dtí an Euróip, agus mic léinn na hEorpa do mhealladh isteach anseo? Le linn an chogaidh, nuair a bhí an Euróip á tachtadh féin, nach í Éire a theaspain a bealach doibh nuair cuireadh an tInstitiúid Áird-Léinn ar bun. D'oscail an tInstitiúid sin a doirse do scoláirí as gach ceard den Euróip, mar chruthú ar an meas agus an spéis atá againn ar imeachtaí na hEorpa agus an domhain fré chéile.

Níl mé i gcoinne spéis a bheith á chur sa himeachta seo, ná i gcoinne baint a bheith againn leo, má crutháitear dúinn gur ceart dúinn, ar mhaithe le hÉirinn agus leis an Euóip, speis a bheith againn agus pairt a bheith againn iontu.

Rinneadh tagairt anseo do na náisiúin a bhí ag tabhairt suas dá n-údarás náisiúnta —"sovereign powers." Dúradh, le sinn a mhealladh go mbeadh na náisiún mhóra sásta tabhairt suas dá gcuid cumhachtaí. Ba mhaith liom fhios a bheith agam go cinte cén fáth a bhfuil na náisiúin móra ag tabhairt suas dá gcuid cumhachtaí ar an mbealach sin. An dream Benelux— tá fhios agam gur socrú ad hoc é sin. Tá fhios againn go bhfuil cúrsaí comónta idir na tíortha sin—agus na neithe atá ag déanamh buartha dóibh is iad na neithe céanna iad. Cén fáth nó argóint atá ag na náisiúin san Euróip chun teacht isteach in aon chomhdháil amháin agus cuid dá n-údarás a náisiúnta a thabhairt suas? Ba mhaith linn fhios a bheith againn céard iad na cúiseanna atá ag ra násiúin mhóra tabhairt suas dá gcuid cumhachtaí, le go bhféadfaimís an ghluaiseacht seo do mheas mar is ceart. Bheinn ag súil go mbeadh an tAire eolasach ar na himeachtaí sin agus go dtiocfadh séos ár gcomhair agus go n-innseodh sÉ an fhírinne dúinn in a dtaobh. Níl aon mhaith a bheith ag rá linn mar gheall ar go bhfuil Sasana, mar shompla, sásta tabhairt suas faoi láthair dá gcuid cumhachtai agus gur comhartha é sin ar dhilseacht Shasana do na "human rights," gur comhartha é ar an dúil atá ag Sasana Cothrom na Feinne a thabhairt do gach duine agus a cheartas féin a chur in airithe do gach naisiun.

Táimíd in Éirinn ag fanacht le gníomh a chruthódh dúinn go bhfuil said i ndáiríre ina a gcuid cainte faoin scéal.

Cuirfí rialtas ar bun, cineál Rialtas Comhnasctha ar fud na hEorpa. Feicthear dhomsa gurb é an chiall atá le sin go mbeidh na náisiúin frÉ chéile sásta a gcuid údaráis d'aistriú go dtí rialtas éigin ar a dtabharfaí Rialtas Comhnasctha. Breathaíonn sin faoi láthair—gan tuille eolais bheith agam air—nach bhfuil muinín ag na daoine atá i mbun na ngluaiseachta sin, as daonfhlathas. Cén locht atá ag na Rialtais sin ar an daonfhlathas, ó thaobh poilitíochta? Nach féidir leo socrú fháil trí chomhdháil de na Príomh-Airi, de na hUachtaraáin agus de na Taoisigh, nó de na hAiri Gnóthai Eachtracha, nó trí chomhdháil ar nós Eagraíocht na Náisiún Aontaithe? Cén fáth nach féidir leis na náisiúin seo socrú, mar tá ar intinn ag an dream so a bhí ag an Haag, a chur in áirithe? Bhfuil locht ar an daonfhlathas? Má tá, ba cheart insint dúinn cén locht atá air. Go dtí go mbead sásta léargus níos cruinne ná tá faighte agam d'fhail ar na lochta atá ar na rialtais éagsúla agus ar an daonfhláthas ins na tiortha seo, ní bheidh mé i bhfábhar Rialtas Chomhnasctha don Euróip. Mura bhfuil cumhacht ag rialtas nua den tsórt sin, ní fiú chur ar bun.

Ba mhaith liom a thaispeaint don Aire agus don Seanad an fáth go mba cheart bheith an-chúramach i dtaobh an scéil. Dúradh go bhfuil sé riachtanach go n-aontófaí an Euróip, má tá forás geilleagrach le bheith ann. Céard a chiallaionn se sin—aontas na náisiúin? Deireann muintir na Ruise nach bhfuil ach an t-aon tslí amháin ie forás geilleagrach a chur in áirithe agus isé an bealach é sin cose a chur leis na náisiúin—deactóireacht a bheith ann. Cén chaoi a gcuirfí an Rialtas Comhnasctha seo ar bun le haghaidh na hEorpa? Cén córas a cheapfaidh siad le go gcuirfidh siad in áirithe go mbeidh foras geilleagrach ann thar mar atá faoi láthair? Mar shompla, ba mhaith linn in Éirinn líon mhuintir na tíre a bheith ag dul i méid. Ba mhaith linn stop a chur leis an imirce—ní amhain leis an imirce, ach na himirceoirí atá i gcéin uainn a thabhairt abhaire. Cen chaoi a rachaidh an socru geilleaga-ir seo i bhfeidhm aran gcuspoir atá againn? Céard go díreach a chiallaíos "forás geilleagrach." An gciallaíonn sé nach mbeidh cead ag náisiún aon rud a sholáthar nó a chur ar fáil murar féidir é a chur ar fail ar luach níos ísle ná mar is féidir é a cheannach i dtir eigin eile? B'shin é an chiall atá leis. An bhfuil an tAire Gnóthaí Eachtracha tar éis dul i gcomhairle leis an Aire Tionscail agus Tráchtála anseo? Bhfuil sé tar éis dul i gcomhairle leis an Aire Leasa Shóisialaigh? Bhfuil sé tar éis dul i gcomhairle leis an Taoiseach mar gheall ar an gceist seo? Céard a chiallaíos forás geilleagrach do réir mar tá beartaithe ag an dream seo a tháinig le cheile ag an Haag. An polasai le haghaidh na tíre seo, cén chaoi a réiteodh an polasai sin ie pe ar bith beartas ata ar intinn na ndaoine seo le haghaidh rialtais csannais na hEorpa? Go dtí go bhfuighidh mise freagra sásúil air sin, ní bheidh mé sásta bheith páirteach in aon ghluaiseacht mar an ngluaiseacht atá i gceist. Do réir mar chítear domsa, ní chiallaíonn sé tada ach an sean-rud ar a dtugtar pleanáil eadarnáisiúnta —agus níl ann ach ainn eile ar "regimentation." Go dtí go bhfuighimíd léargus cruinn ar na poinntí sin, ní ceart dúinn ár mbeannacht a thabhairt don ghluaiseacht seo.

Rinneadh tagairt don náisiúntacht, mar a dhea gur peacadh uafásach an náisiúntacht. Níl a fhios agam nách cliché é sin, agus nach bhfuil sé in am do dhaoine bheith cúramach faoi?

Ná dúirt an Pápa, má éiríonn na náisiúntacht róchumhaing, gur droch-rud é?

Is rud amhain é an Pápa a bheith ag caint, agus rud eile a lán de dhaoine den tsórt seo bheith ag caint. Tá súil agam nach gceapann an Seanadóir go bhfuil mé ag déanamh aon tagairt phearsanta dó san. Tá mé ag caint ar na rúin mar luadh annseo iad. Rinneadh tagairt sa gcéad rún don dainséar atá ag baint le náisiúntacht. Ní dóigh liom gurb é an náisiúntacht an trioblóid, beag nó mór. Má scrúdaítear an scéal, bhéarfar faoi deara nach iad na náisiúin atá dílis dá náisiúntacht is ciontach leis an trioblóid ach na náisiú in ar beag leo an náisiúntacht.

Níor mhaith liom go múchfaí náisiúntacht, agus go dtí go dtaispéanfar dhom, pé ar bith córas a ceapadh, nach múchfaí é, ní bheinn i bhfábhar gluaiseacht a mar seo. Sin é atá ar bun ag an Rúis, deireadh a chur le náisiúntacht. B'uafásach an rud, is doigh liom, a leithéid a dhéanamh. Ba mhillteach an chailliúnt é, is cuma cén chaoi a mbreathnófaí air. Cuimhnigh ar chomh bunúsach agus tá an náisiúntacht. Brathann sé ar an tíreolaíocht, ar an aoráid, ar chineadh, agus ar thraidisiún na mílte blian. Ba bhoichte de go mór an saol dá múchtaí an náisiúntacht. Tá sé ar fad riachtanach má tá saol ceart iomlán le bheith ag an domhan. Go dti go mbeinn cinnte nach múchfar, nach scriosfar, agus nach millfear na náisiúian, nó aon chuid de na deáthréithe a bhaineas le náisiún, ní dóigh liom go mba cheart dúinn a bheith páirteach i ngluaiseacht den tsórt seo.

Rinneadh tagairt don riachtanas atá ann go n-aontófai airgeadra an domhain, i dtreo is nach mbeidh difríocht idir na tíortha sa deireadh maidir leis an gceist sin. Níl a fhios agam cén tuairim atá ag an Aire, nó ag an Aire Tionscail agus Tráchtála, nóag an Rialtas, maidir leis an mBanc i leith Téarnaimh agus Socruithe Eadarnáisiúnta. Níl fhios agam chor ar bith an é an tuairim. atá ag na daoine seo gur amhlaidh atá teipthe glan ar an ngluaiseacht sin, nach bhfuil aon mhaith bheith ag súil leis bheith ar bun a tiluilleadh, mar go bhfuil, teipthe air. Sin cuid de na ceisteanna a bheadh ag déanamh buartha dhom i dtaobh an scéil seo.

Thairis sin, níl le rá agam ach an méid seo, go mba cheart dúinn a bheith buíoch den tSeanadóir Dubhghlais agus den tSeanadóir De Butléir mar gheall ar an trioblóid agus an strómh a chuireadar orthu fhéin ráiteas a thabhairt dúinn ar a gcuid imeachtaí i gcéin. Mholadar Rialtas na hísiltíre faoi a fhéile a bhí an Rialtas sin leo. Táimid ar fad ar aon intinn go bhfuil buíochas ag dul dóibh as ucht chomh fial agus a bhí siad.

Níl mise i gcoinne baint a bheith ag Éire le cúrsaí na hEorpa. Bhí baint againn leo le fada agus beidh baint againn leo fós. Go deimhin, níor mhiste, b'fheidir, don Aire smaoineadh air seo: an chumhacht atá ag Éireannaigh ar fud an domhain, dá bhféadfaí eagar a chur orthu. Cáil, clú agus traidisiún na hÉireann, is. leis an tsíocháin atáclaonadh acu, más féidir síocháin a thabhairt don domhan, tríd an ngléas seo, nó tríd an bpolitiocht, má théann go dtí sin. Tá timpeall 20,000,000—do réir na figiúiri—idir Ghaeil a rugadh in Éirinn agus Gaeil de shaghasanna eile ann. Ceann de na bearta is mó a d'fhéadfaimís a dhéanamh, ar mhaithe le síocháin idirnáisiúnta sa Euroip agus ar fud an domhain, is ea teachtairí a chur amach uainn féin, idir an radio, nó trí na scoláirí is cáiliúla da bhfuil againn, ar litríocht, ar phéintéireacht, agus ar gach aon ghné dar gcultúr— chun léachtaí a thabhairt ar na prionsabail atá againn i dtaobh saoirse agus ceartas na ndaoine. Innseoimid a dhílse agus táimíd do na prionsabail sin, agus do phrionsabail na hEaglaise, go bhfuil furmhór mhuintir na hÉireann páirteach léithi.

Tugadh an tAire an ráiteas, más mian leis é thabhairt, ach tá súil agam, má thugann sé ráiteas anois ar an scéal seo, gur ráiteas é atá ceapthatar éis dó dul i gcomhairle lena chomhAirí, go mór mór leis an Taoiseach, an tAire Tionscail agus Tráchtála, an tAire Oideachais agus an tAire Leasa Shóisialaigh. Thairis sin, bheinn ar aon intinn leis an Seanadóir Uí Choncheannainn gurb é an rud ab fhearr dó gan aon ráiteas do dhéanamh ach fanacht go bhfuighidh sé deis an scéal d'iniúchadh go cruinn, agus ansin ba cheart dó an ráiteas a thabhairt uaidh i nDáil Éireann.

I agree with Senator Mrs. Concannon that it is not fair to ask the Minister for External Affairs to make any statement on a motion of this kind. I assumed, when I read the motion by Senator Douglas on the Order Paper, that he merely wanted the House to know what took place at The Hague. Now he not only wants that but he wants to commit the Government to the resolutions already proposed at The Hague. In other words, he wants to commit us to something we know nothing about. There is no Constitution and no form of Government or anything else before us and we are merely wasting time talking in the air. I want to repeat that I do not think that any Minister should be asked to speak on this motion. Evidently someone is very anxious to abandon part of the very limited freedom that we have got. If there is talk of that why not join the American Union? I suggest that if we are going into any group we should not go into a bankrupt group but into a progressive group that is going somewhere. I do not know whether the Minister is going to say anything. Personally, I think he can do no more than give us, in the words of Yeats, "a few polite, meaningless words."

I am going to make a speech as short as the one to which we have just listened. I want to go on record as expressing my own regret that the Minister has not got an opportunity of making the statement which obviously he was prepared to make and I think I am entitled to protest at the way in which this apparently simple and innocuous motion was put before the House. Like Senator Anthony, I am at a disadvantage. Without being discourteous to a lady, I think that Senator Miss Butler, in seconding this motion, made statements that would have been best left unsaid. They were at least highly controversial and they did not help the calm consideration of this motion. There is no reason why these documents should not have been circulated to every member of the House in good time. As Senator McCartan has anticipated me in saying, we are being asked to give a blank cheque to a whole series of things, a whole series of resolutions, some of them very full of merit and others probably very full of danger. We have to admit that great forces are at work in the world to-day. It may be the wise thing for us to harness ourselves to these forces as an alternative to being crushed by them. I do not know. I am one of those who wonder whether it is wise to have a Minister called upon to make a statement that may not be politic at this venture. All sorts of matters have been brought into this debate, but I have no intention of going into them at any great length. I want to say this, that the suggestion of economic co-operation may be a suggestion of the economic obliteration of small nations. We were entitled to far more consideration in regard to this motion, and I want to be recorded as saying that. I feel that the Minister is entitled to a little more consideration by the proposer and seconder of this motion.

On a point of information, I would like to say that this motion has been before the House for a considerable time, and I do not think it is fair to suggest that the Minister was treated with any discourtesy. It has been postponed now for about six months.

The matters contained in this apparently innocuous resolution are far more extensive than would appear on the surface, and the details of the resolution should have been circulated to members long ago.

Senator Hayes attempted to justify the form of this resolution on the ground that it had been used before. The fact that it has been used to-day is condemnation of it and a sufficient reason for not using it again. It has not conveyed any information to the House: it has kept us in complete darkness as if that were intended. It merely gave Senator Douglas and Senator Miss Butler an opportunity of making a lengthy and interesting statement, and it then demanded that the Minister, in reply, should make a statement. It made no provision whatever for the members of this House expressing their opinions or of having any opinions. There was ample time to circulate the resolutions proposed at this congress if it was desired that we should have an intelligent debate on it. I do not see how we could have an intelligent debate when it was sprung on us in this manner. Although a lot has been said on the motion, in my opinion enough has not been said. It is not clear to me who selected or who sent the delegates to this congress, whether they were handpicked by somebody or whether they were appointed or not to go there. Three persons, a couple of them having the honour of being Senators, evidently considered themselves entitled to go, under their own steam, as has been stated, to this congress. Were they entitled to go to any congress anywhere and to commit this nation, even by implication, to some policy which the nation itself had not the opportunity of considering, and which, if it had the opportunity of considering, would probably not approve of? If Senator Miss Butler and Senator Douglas and their colleague had a right to go to this congress, I do not think they went as observers. I think they themselves stated they went as delegates, and delegates alone have the right to put down motions. Delegates for whom?

That is the question. Delegates from where or from whom?

If they went as far as The Hague this time, what of the next occasion? Supposing they change their outlook and became far more humanitarian and far more citizens of the world, could they not go to the other side of the "Iron Curtain" to-morrow and commit us to some other policy? I think that is highly unlikely, but miracles do happen. We are being asked to enter into a united Western Europe and that we should forget everything, join hands and work together; forget our boundaries and forget our grievances, and the irony of all this is that the Senator who proposed this is the Senator who the other day approved of another Senator's motion that we should stop looking for the unity of Ireland and leave the North as it is at present, and that if we do go courting here we should court her with very soft words.

I do not understand the reference by the Senator.

The Senator is referring to a speech made by Senator J.T. O'Farrell.

That was not a motion.

It was a motion in the course of a speech.

Let it go on record that there was no motion by Senator J.T. O'Farrell and, therefore, no one could approve of the motion.

Senator Hayes has been so long in and around the university that he thinks we must accept him as an authority on all matters.

This is a very important matter of order, I suggest to the Chair. There was no motion by Senator J.T. O'Farrell.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

There was no motion.

I did not say that, nor will I have Senator Hayes putting words into my mouth. Years ago I refused to let him do that and I will do it while I have the power to resist.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Would the Senator move the adjournment for tea?

Before I move the adjournment, may I make it clear that I did not say a motion was put down? I said a motion was made in the course of the discussion.

A motion was not made in the course of any discussion.

I move the adjournment of the debate. We will argue it afterwards.

Debate adjourned.
Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

When I moved the adjournment, I was referring to a proposal that we ought to have a united Europe and I was pointing out what seems to me to be an inconsistency in the same people, or some of the same people, who advocate that policy for us now, in, very recently, being opposed to what I at least consider would be a policy leading to unity in this nation. I think we should set our own house in order before we begin to regulate the affairs of Europe. I do not see how we can now consent to surrender any further portion of our sovereignty for the sake of a united Europe when our right to a united Ireland is still being disputed and when we have to go there, not as the representatives of a nation but as the representatives of part of a nation.

I happened accidentally to use the word "motion." I said a motion was made the other night that we ought to go rather slowly and calmly about this proposal for unity in Ireland. I did not say a motion was put on the Order Paper. I said a motion and, like better men than I, when in difficulties, and when I was told that I had used the wrong word or a word in a wrong sense, I took the opportunity of the interval to look up a dictionary. I have newly-acquired knowledge as a result of my short research. I find that one meaning of motion is to offer a proposal and surely a proposal was offered, although not necessarily a proposal of marriage. What was proposed the other night is a sort of permanent divorce. Another interesting discovery that I made was that angular velocity is direct when it is from west to east——

This has no reference to this motion. It was not mentioned in this motion.

Very well. I will just finish the sentence—it is retrograde from east to west. I am wondering whether the motion before us to-night in the form of a suggestion or proposal —for there is surely a motion before us to-night—is a retrograde motion or not and whether it comes from east to west or from west to east. Let the proposers solve that. Since we are discussing motions I suppose I can mention that one of Newton's three laws of motion was that to every action there was an equal contrary reaction and that is why you have discussions in a place like this.

It is very difficult for a newcomer like myself in the Seanad to manage to make a speech when there are so many back-seat drivers in the House. I try to obey the Chair, but very often the Chair is ignored, and there are at least two or three back-seat drivers who are always telling me where I get off and telling the Cathaoirleach where he ought to make me get off. I wish we had not so many back-seat drivers in the House.

I will go back to the original notes I had before I was interrupted. I pointed out a month ago that it is implied that if we approved of this Congress of Europe, if we took part in it, if we became portion of it, that we must surrender part of our sovereign rights and that, if we do not, we cease to deserve the name of a democracy. That, if not the exact wording, is the suggestion that was made by the proposer of the motion. He also said it would involve a customs union. I am not prepared at the moment, and without hearing more cogent reasons than have been advocated, to approve of a customs union of Europe which would, I believe, have the effect of wiping out whatever small industries we have and wiping them out after all the difficulty and sacrifice that we had in building them up.

I do not say that there is anything sinister in the motion or that there was anything sinister in the proposal that the Minister should make a statement on it, but I do think it strange that the Minister was to be asked to make a statement and that, had the original plan as suggested here to-night been followed, there would have been no opportunity for Senators to intervene. How could we possibly decide whether we approved of any motion or any statement that the Minister for External Affairs might make until we had heard all the arguments on both sides, for and against? The Minister was expected to make a statement after hearing an ex-parte statement from, as far as I can gather, two self-appointed delegates, who had no authority from anybody that I am aware of in this country to go and commit this country to anything, in Europe or anywhere else.

There is nothing sinister in it, but the whole thing was so badly stage managed that, when a motion of this kind is brought up before consultation, we should get in advance such information as we require to enable us to form a judgment on it. If the Minister decided to approve of this European Congress, and if he, in a statement to-night, went as far as to commit this nation to it, the most dangerous position might arise, because some of the implications of membership of that body would involve a complete alteraton of sections of our Constitution. Some of the things we are asked to do to me seem to be unconstitutional, and what is unconstitutional is, I believe, undesirable and inadvisable. Nobody intends to go any further than this has gone, beyond getting a pious expression of opinion. There might be astuter people behind this than the delegates from this country realise. I fear there is a possibility that we might be brought in by the back door for the next European war.

I should like to agree with Senator O'Farrell on this question, as I feel that the Minister, if he makes a statement, as he has been asked to, should confine himself to the very narrow, and, I regret to say, in my view, harmless limits of this motion. If the Minister is going to take that view, and do nothing more, I would sit down immediately. But the debate at this stage seems to have gone beyond the narrow and what I call harmless limits of this motion into a discussion, led by Senator Hayes, on our position in relation to Europe and the European position in relation to us. I agree with some of the idealistic discussion on the great part played by Ireland in European affairs and on the historical part it played.

Though nothing has been circulated to me in my position as a Senator, I know a little about this European Congress, and I wish to go on record as saying this, that if Ireland had a historical position in Europe, and if we represent anything in Europe, there is a nation in Europe that represents a great deal more, one that is the bones and blood of Europe, and that is the Spanish nation. That nation was not represented at a congress which proposed to be a congress for the unity of Europe. As I am informed—and I will be corrected by the Minister if I am wrong—Senor Negri represented Spain at that congress. He was, I think, at one time Prime Minister of Spain during the civil war. He represented a certain side in that ghastly catastrophe that overtook Spain. He is now in exile from his country. There is a Spanish Government, there is a Spanish people, but they had not any representatives at this congress. I say if we lend support to a congress such as that however noble its motives, we lend ourselves to something that certainly is not furthering the cause of unity in Europe.

If there is cause for unity in Western Europe we must know to what object we are progressing. I do not know what this congress intends to do or what unity it proposes to effect. There was once a unity in Europe, a unity under the flag of Christendom. That unity is gone. We are all perfectly aware that Europe is split into two camps, split on what idealistic grounds I cannot say. We have had pious aspirations read out in the motion that people who have a democratic form of Government will meet together. Is it democratic in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, France, Britain, Greece, Spain? Where is democracy?

We practise a form of democracy here that I say is Christian. I say that it is just but I will not insult it by calling it democracy. Every Government in Europe might at the moment call itself democratic. The words fall freely from the lips of Governments and so-called democracies in the West. They are supposed to be opposed to the Fascists. Whether they are or not we do not know. What I want to go on record is this, that while the great Christian nation of Spain and ourselves are excluded from the conference of Europe we cannot lend our name to any congress, however benevolent, and however idealistic, until that question has been solved, and there is a real approach to unity.

I hope the Minister will not cover too large a field. If he does cover a large field I urge upon him to say that we in this country stand for a Christian ideal, a real democratic ideal which is based on the Christian ideal and that we as such are not satisfied that a congress which meets together and excludes one and one only, the Spanish nation, is not really a European congress.

I should like to add my views to those of Senator Sweetman and to say that I entirely agree with him. I think we should have on record what he said regarding the boycott of Spain by this congress as something of which Irish opinion does not approve. Like Senator Sweetman I am in favour of the motion if it is confined to having a statement from the Minister.

Towards the end of the 19th century many of the things which are now the subject of discussion were, to a very large extent, realised under the system of free trade. There was mobility of labour and very great mobility of goods and a common standard of value. There was a common currency as long as the nations were on the gold standard.

The results at The Hague were unquestionably good. Every thinking person will approve of the objectives in the economic field. There is a much better chance of obtaining some of the objectives if steps are taken by individual members of the European community. I cannot help feeling that there is very great chance of attaining concrete results through bi-lateral agreements between nations. The Benelux countries are a very good example of that. Even there, enormous difficulties had to be surmounted even between friendly nations. A more realistic approach to these matters can, I think, be made by having agreements on concrete subjects between friendly neighbouring States. I cannot help feeling that the Minister perhaps has done more to forward the cause of European unity by the recent Anglo-Irish Agreement, which is now being discussed in another place, than by anything that he may say regarding the larger objectives of the motion before the House.

I think Senator S. O'Farrell mentioned a short time ago that there was a danger that we might be brought by the back door into the next European war. I do not think any Senator made a suggestion of that kind. I believe however that we should be extremely careful to try and avoid any such entanglement. I think, moreover, that it is very undesirable that people in any country should talk about the next war as if it was something that was bound to take place. I believe that all of us, and especially those of us in a Christian country, should do everything in our power to prevent another war ever taking place. Naturally, a small country like Ireland cannot do a great deal, but I think it is our duty to do everything we can to prevent a war, and to bring about the establishment of conditions which would, we hope, help to maintain peace.

Senator Hayes mentioned this evening that this motion should help to awaken interest throughout the country in international affairs. I think that is very desirable, because I believe there are, unfortunately, a large number of people in Ireland who seem to think, because we are a small nation, and because of our place on the map, that it is not worth our while taking any interest in external affairs. There are many people who appear to be completely apathetic with regard to affairs outside our own country. I believe that it is in our own interest to take notice of what is going on in Europe and the whole world, and that it is also our duty to try and do our share, as a nation, to preserve peace and to co-operate, as far as possible, with other nations in that respect.

Again, I believe that not only in this country but in many other countries, there are still many people who talk far too lightly about war, as if it were a fine, heroic thing. I do not think there is any need in this House to speak of the moral evils of war. I am sure every Senator realises these evils to the full. The material evils, however, are greater than they have ever been at any time in the history of the world. Many people have said that if there was another world war the whole of our civilisation might be destroyed and that all that would be left would be people suffering from starvation and poverty and ruined cities and towns. I think that, on both moral and material grounds, we should do everything in our power to promote European and world co-operation and to prevent war.

I agree with those Senators who have said that we should naturally be very careful in our actions. I believe that we should especially give particular attention to the economic proposals which have been mentioned here to-day—such things as the promotion and the development of the agricultural resources of Europe—so as to supply a higher nutritional standard. Things of that kind deserve our immediate attention. Again, it was mentioned that one of the matters that should be aimed at was to raise, to the greatest possible extent, the standard of living of the populations of Europe and of the whole world, and to ensure the fair distribution of all the products of economic activity. I believe that the maldistribution of these products has been one of the great causes of war in the past. If we had a fair distribution of the results of economic activity throughout the world that would be one way of helping to prevent war in the future.

I think that attention should also be paid to statements made by such an authority on food questions as Sir John Boyd Orr. He has given certain figures with regard to possible food production in the future. I should like to draw attention to one statement by him which is mentioned in Senator George O'Brien's book, The Phantom of Plenty, in which he estimates that if everybody in the world is to be provided with a diet capable of maintaining a healthy working efficiency food production would need to be doubled within the next 25 years, an extremely unlikely achievement, he says. He has also said on another occasion that if large amounts of the resources of the world are spent on preparations for war, and on armaments and the like, there will not be the necessary increase in the production of food, and, as a result, millions of people may be reduced to an appallingly low standard of living, if not to actual starvation, in the future. I believe, therefore, that it is our duty as a Christian nation to try, as far as possible, to co-operate with other nations with a view to preventing war and with a view to building up gradually throughout the world a more just social order based on the Christian principles which we profess.

My intervention will be very brief. My reason for rising really is to insist that it is the duty of this House to debate any matter or any subject which, in the opinion of the Chair, is suitable for debate, and that it is utterly foolish for people to get up here and profess that we ought not to debate this or debate that. Now, with all due respect to Senator Mrs. Concannon, I want to make it clear to the House that we have as much right to debate any matter relating to external or internal affairs as Dáil Eireann has. We should not be in the Constitution unless we have that right.

I did not say anything of the kind.

I want to have it accepted that, if a proper motion is put on the Order Paper, this House is entitled to debate it. No objection has come from the Government or from the Minister that the Government or the Minister would be embarrassed by submitting this motion which, after all, is one inviting the Minister to make a statement. It would be open to the Minister to say he would not make a statement, and if he told us it would be embarrassing, we would not press the motion any further.

Differences of opinion have arisen here on, for instance, the basic question of the Parliament of Europe. If that is implemented, it will naturally involve the surrender of portion of the sovereignty of every country involved. I gathered from Senator Douglas that there was a feeling amongst the British and the Belgians in favour of such surrender, but may I recall to the House that the persons who met at The Hague were individuals, representing nobody. Mr. Winston Churchill is a very representative British politician, but he has no influence with the British Government at present, and I think his words would not be accepted anywhere in the world as representing the point of view of the British Government. Senator Douglas, Senator Miss Butler and Professor Tierney were equally representative, in the sense that they are well known people with a certain standing in this country and entitled to express certain views as reflecting the emotions of elements in the country with which they are connected. But let us go no further: they were not appointed by anybody. Mr. Winston Churchill and his colleagues from the Labour Party or the Conservative Party were not appointed by anybody to attend the conference. At the Labour Party Conference at Scarborough, Dr. Dalton, who replied to a motion in relation to this conference, on behalf of the executive of the Labour Party, threw cold water on it and said he had no interest in it. In fact, he challenged the bona fides of some of the prominent people who took part, including Churchill and Van Zeeland.

We are not concerned with that, but with the fact that a number of representative people, with a sense of responsibility not merely to their own country, but to humanity, have been meeting in order to find a way out of a shocking mess. They propounded certain proposals and we are asking the Minister to say what the Government thinks of them. We go no further, and the House is expressing no view at all in relation to these proposals made at The Hague. Unfortunately, many of the individual Senators who have expressed views, have not bothered to find out what was done at The Hague or the character and purpose of the conference held there. That is very unfortunate, but I suppose the same thing will happen in other countries—enthusiastic people will express their views enthusiastically, without bothering to relate them to the facts.

The bitter fact is that no one can tell whether there is going to be a war in Europe to-morrow or not. Any information we have from those in close touch with European affairs would lead us to believe that a war may happen at any moment. Whether we like it or not, such a tragedy is going to govern our lives and create fear, suspicion and dread as long as it lasts. Some people would like to line us up already on one side in the conflict. What will interest us very much is whether the Government have made up their minds that it will be possible to keep away from that war if it breaks out and whether they think it desirable that that should be done. We remember that, prior to the last war, there was a great deal of conflict in the public mind as to what our attitude should be, and some prominent people committed themselves to the view that we could not keep outside the conflict which was coming and committed themselves to the further proposition that we would have to line up with the British. That view was expressed in Dáil Éireann on the 29th April, 1938. It is desirable that we should consider now what is to be our attitude in the event of an even more devastating war being launched on the European Continent. Whether we are in the war or out of it, we are going to be sufferers. Men, women and children here will suffer hardship, privation, hunger and death if there is a European war on the gigantic scale which is postulated in this conflict which is dividing Europe.

These are matters of fundamental importance, and I am submitting that the mover and seconder of this motion have done a great service to our Parliament and people by raising them and allowing us to discuss the issues, so that we may, calmly and after deliberation, reach agreement as to our proposals in the event of such a terrible catastrophe being forced upon us.

I want at the outset to express my gratitude for having been given the opportunity and the privilege of addressing this House. I was very glad to come here, as indeed I would be very glad to come here at any time to discuss any question relating to my Department. I feel often as if the Department of External Affairs were a small Department lost in a corner, one which did not affect the lives of the people very much and one in which the people in the Dáil or in the Seanad, or outside, had little or no interest. That is a pity, as the more discussion we can have on what is happening outside this country, the better. Unfortunately, the tendency has been to preclude us from remaining in a state of isolation. That is unfortunate. If we could put back the hands of the clock 100 years, the world would be better off, possibly, but we cannot do that. Methods of communication—the cinema, wireless, newspapers and aeroplanes—have made isolation impossible. Whether we like it or not, we are gradually being forced more and more into the stream of world events. I do not want that to be misconstrued as suggesting in any way that we are being forced necessarily into any alliances, into taking any sides in any war, but, generally speaking, I think we have reached the stage where we must realise that we are right in the stream of world events, that we must know something about world events, because otherwise we will not be able to withstand the impact of outside forces on our life here.

We know what we want to maintain. As many Senators have said, we have our own Christian way of life and that is what we want to maintain here, but, in order to be able to maintain that, we must not bury our heads in the sand and refuse to look to other countries to find out what is happening there. More and more, the tendency will be to make it necessary for us to be more alive to what goes on outside, what goes on in Europe and what goes on in America, because remember this throughout: by reason not merely of our geographical position but by reason of the vast amount of emigration which there has been in the past, we are in a position to play a special role in Europe and America. We are in a position to act, as it were, as a link between Europe and America on many occasions, and I have found on a few occasions that we have been of certain use in that direction. We know the mentality of the people of Europe better possibly than the Americans know it, and, inversely, the mentality and outlook of Americans possibly better than the continentals know it because of the close links we have both with Europe and America.

I have appealed in the other House on more than one occasion for a cooler and a more deliberate attitude in relation to all matters relating to external affairs. It is not always easy to get it in the other House. I do not know why. Possibly because of the rush of business and possibly because more publicity is focussed on the proceedings of the other House, discussions are inclined to become embittered and not to be constructive. I was very pleasantly surprised here by the constructiveness and the temper of the discussion on this question and it is of considerable help. Let these Senators who thought that this motion was unwise bear this in mind, that the functions of a Minister—it does not matter what Government he belongs to—is to try to find out what the people are thinking, to find out what you are thinking and what the Dáil is thinking. He has no way of finding that out, unless you speak your minds and discuss various problems from time to time, so that it is a help to us. Never think that you will be boring us or taking too much time in discussing matters concerning external affairs here. In the Dáil, it is harder to get a discussion because there is more work and there is not the same deliberative atmosphere. I was very grateful indeed for the solicitude shown by members of the House as to whether this would embarrass me. I wish some of the T.D.s who put down questions would exercise 1 per cent. of that solicitude at times.

For the very reason which some of the Senators on that side of the House have given in relation to my having to make a statement to-day. Very often, questions may be very awkward from an external affairs point of view.

I want to make one point quite clear, before coming down to a discussion of this proposal for a united states of Europe or a federal Europe. I am not very familiar with the practice of this House, but the resolution, as I understood it, was one directing the attention of the Government to these proposals. It was not recommending the proposals and not condemning them. It merely directs the attention of the Government to them, which, I think, was to enable a discussion in the House to take place and to enable the House to consider the matter, and, if it thought fit, to pass a resolution so that the Government would consider it. I felt that it would give this House an opportunity to express its views freely, irrespective of Party issues. I felt that I could also come here and speak without the authority of the Government on this matter, discuss it quite freely with you, so that we could know the way our minds were running and so that the Seanad could have the benefit of any information I might be able to give it in relation to these matters before coming to a decision. Therefore, I want to make it quite clear that, in anything I say here, I am speaking on my own, without the authority of the Government and without in any way committing the Government to any proposals contained in this resolution or to the proposal for the formation of a united states of Europe put forward at The Hague.

As I understand the position, it is this: There have been in Europe, since before the last war, a number of movements in support of creating federal states of Europe. They never amounted to very much until after the recent war. After that war, some more movements sprang up. I think there are five altogether, with different names.

There are six at least.

Six, I understand from Senator Douglas. Some had their origin in France, some in Switzerland, some in the Netherlands, where, I think, there are two different organisations, and some in Italy—all striving more or less for the same kind of thing, trying to find a way out, trying to find a solution. They finally organised this convention at The Hague. Some of the people who went there went as delegates from some of these organisations; some, I think, went as delegates from trade unions and other organisations; but, I think that most of them went there as individuals. From our point of view, it was possibly not a very good augury that the convention should have been presided over by Mr. Churchill, whose name was never very popular here. That possibly did not give it a good send-off here, but I do not think that is a thing that should matter. The problem, I think, which gave rise to these proposals was this. An attempt was made after the 1914-1918 war to create a League of Nations. It failed. I was going to say it resulted in the next war, but I think that, probably, would be unfair to the League of Nations. It certainly failed in its purpose. After this war you had another attempt made to create another kind of League of Nations and, so far, it does not seem to be very successful.

It does not augur well for the next attempt.

It does not, but then, what is going to be done? If we have learned anything from the war just ended I think we have learned three things. We have learned that the last war was the most destructive war in the history of mankind and we have learned that the next war will obliterate, completely, the countries through which it will pass. Secondly, we have learned that this veneer that we call civilisation and in which we take so much pride is as thin as tissue paper, and will crack as easily as during the last war. Who, ten years ago would have thought it possible that any civilised Government would consider the extermination of human beings just for the sake of exterminating them? Yet, it came to be regarded practically as standard practice during this war. Thirdly, we have learned that the economic structure of Europe and, I take it, of the world generally is an extremely inefficient machine that goes out of order very easily. If there is any lesson to learn from these things it is these facts which point to this one result, that the next war is going to mean the utter destruction of the civilisation we have known, the utter destruction of the world we have known. Are we going to sit back and do nothing about it? Is the world to await its doom, is Europe to await its doom and are we to await our doom without doing anything about it? Are we just to sit by and let it happen? Is that our duty as civilised human beings? As a member of organised society should we not search and grope day in and day out for some method of avoiding the destruction of civilisation? As I understand it what happened is this: several groups of people throughout the world got together in organisations, some coloured with tinges of a political kind but others not coloured by political tinges at all. They got together for the purpose of seeking some way out.

Out of what.

I do not know whether the Senator has been listening to what I have been saying. These people came together seeking a way out of avoiding utter destruction. The possibility of creating a federated states of Europe may be a remote one; it may be impracticable; it may not work; but surely it is better to try to do something than to do nothing. Federations have worked before and they have worked very well in some cases and there is no reason why they should not work in the case of Europe. You have the federation of America and you have federations in Europe itself, in Italy, in Germany. The federation of Canada is more or less simple but nevertheless you have two distinct languages there. Apart from close-bonded federations you have loose federations. I do not know whether members of this House have followed developments on the American Continent over the last 40 or 50 years. The Pan American Union which includes all the States on the American Continent has greatly tightened up their relationship and it is practically now a federation. Only this year they have entered into a defensive military alliance. Therefore the question of a federated States of Europe is not quite so impossible as it may appear at first sight. It is certainly better to try some remedy than to try no remedy and it is purely on this basis that I ask the Seanad to consider the matter.

There are, of course, many dangers and difficulties. First of all, if it is to be a solution it has got to include all the States of Europe and it must be organised in such a way that you are not merely creating a bigger and better machine for another war. You have got to link it up successfully with America and it will have to be linked up with the East. These may sound grandiose plans but they may be much easier to accomplish than to face another war. Now for the question of sovereignty. This is always a very relevant problem. Whenever a country enters into an agreement with another country it limits its sovereignty. You cannot enter into an agreement with another country without limiting your sovereignty.

If you mean to keep it.

If you mean to keep it. In the same way an individual who enters into a contract with another individual limits his freedom of action by that much. I think that very few people in the world would mind surrendering a part of their national sovereignty if by doing that they could avoid utter destruction and the possibility of war. But, that is a matter for consideration.

I want to make this quite clear: I am not suggesting that this House should in any way adopt the resolution put forward at The Hague. I can see many, many difficulties, many things with which I would not agree, many things that possibly go too far in it. I think, as Senator Douglas said, you might have to go fairly slow on it but, at least, it is a step and it is worth consideration and worth examining, and I think it is well that this House should examine it, even possibly adjourn the discussion and resume it later. I think it would be well, if the Seanad passed this resolution, that the Government should consider these matters also and discuss them. There are certain essentials, of course, that would have to be maintained. You would have, in the first instance, to ensure that the rights and interests of the small countries would be protected. You would have to have a human charter or a democratic charter of some kind or another to which the countries would have to give strict adherence. Possibly, many of our countrymen in the Six Counties might feel they had some safeguard if there were some minimum rights guaranteed to all human beings.

Another reason for which I was glad this discussion took place is this—and it is a thing that surprised me—from the beginning to end of this debate I heard no reference made at all to the organisation for European Economic Co-operation. There has been very little attention paid to it in Ireland although it is to a large extent probably the first step towards a federated states of Europe in the economic realm. With the permission of the House, I propose to say a few words on the O.E.E.C. It has been generally referred to as being part of the Marshall Plan or European Recovery Programme. In fact, it was born out of the Marshall Plan but it is a separate and distinct activity.

Apart from making available to Europe certain vast sums for recovery purposes, the Americans stipulated that Europe should get together on its own and by itself for the purpose of organising economic co-operation. That had nothing at all to do with the actual allocation of funds that America was giving to Europe. A committee was formed representative of 16 European nations for the purpose of evolving an organisation which would enable the maximum amount of economic co-operation in Europe. It worked for some six months and finally produced a convention that was signed last April in Paris. It has nothing to do with what you might call the American side of the Marshall Plan. It is entirely an independent organisation created in Europe to which 16 nations and three military Governments to cover Germany and Trieste all belong. It has its own constitution. A treaty was signed by the 16 countries setting up its organisation. If members of the Seanad are going to consider this matter further or if any documents are being circulated, I think it would be well if with the resolutions that were read out by Senator Douglas and Senator Miss Butler a copy of this convention should be circulated. There are, I think, ample supplies of it in the Library here and it could be circulated to members of the Seanad.

I think it has been circulated.

It probably has been circulated. It largely provides for what the economic resolution passed at The Hague calls for. I am not going to read many passages from it, but I could read one or two. For instance. in the preamble, which is a long preamble setting out the purposes of the convention, it is set out:—

"...determined to combine their economic strength to these ends, to join together to make the fullest collective use of their individual capacities and potentialities, to increase their production, develop and modernise their industrial and agricultural equipment, expand their commerce, reduce progressively barriers to trade among themselves, promote full employment and restore or maintain the stability of their economies and general confidence in their national currencies..."

It goes on setting out the various objectives. Then Article 2 provides:—

"The contracting parties will, both individually and collectively, promote with vigour the development of production, through efficient use of the resources at their command, whether in their metropolitan or overseas territories, and by the progressive modernisation of equipment and techniques, in such manner as may best assist the accomplishment of the joint recovery programme."

This organisation formally came into existence last April after a considerable amount of preliminary spade work. It is controlled and governed by a council of 16 representatives of which Ireland is one. That council meets from time to time and should in effect, if it performs its function, become the economic Government of Western Europe. In so far as it is possible to secure complete co-operation, it should on all matters upon which there is agreement be an economic Government for Western Europe. Sovereignty is safeguarded by provisions that make it essential that all decisions should be unanimous save in matters in which a country has no direct interest. So far, that has worked reasonably well. There has been very little difficulty in getting agreement on most matters that have come up. No doubt, problems will arise in future in which it will not be possible to get full agreement but I think that this organisation does provide a basis from which the experiment of a federation of European States can start off. I would like if more attention could be given to it, that people would know more about it, would know what it provides for, would know its powers and would take more interest in its activities. There are several committees functioning whole time. We have representatives on practically all these committees. A committee is dealing with food and another with agriculture, the chairman of which is our nominee. I think these committees have functions dealing with the compilation of statistics and showing estimated production for the next 12 months.

Likewise, one deals with statistics showing estimated requirements to ensure that goods will flow from one country to another, and that there will be no hold up owing to currency restrictions or trade plans. If they do the work they are intended to do it will certainly be useful. I will quote officially from a speech that I made in Paris setting out the aim as we saw it.

"The aim should be, not merely to return to the economic standards that prevailed before 1939, but to envisage a new concept based upon real co-operation. Following upon the destruction of Europe we are perhaps all inclined to yearn for a return to the conditions which existed before the war. That is not sufficient. The organisation of human society, and indeed human needs themselves, are never static. We must not allow our nostalgia for a return to economic stability to blind us to the defects that existed before 1939. We must accordingly evolve a new approach that will take cognisance of past defects on the one hand and that will ensure for the people whom we represent the best standard of life that modern science and development can assure. The motive of economic domination or rivalry must never again be permitted. The aim must be to secure a standard of life for the 240,000,000 people we represent here that will assure to them, and to each of them that economic security and well-being so essential to a democratic mode of life based upon the liberty and dignity of the individual. In order to succeed we must be prepared to approach European economic recovery with the same energy and the same resourcefulness as if it were a military operation upon which the fate of our nations depended.

The enemies are hunger, poverty and economic insecurity. Let us then be prepared to mobilise our resources on the same scale as if this were a war—but with the knowledge that in this war we are not planning for destruction but for the economic well-being and liberty of the people of Europe."

Can the Minister say if that document is available in the library?

It is. It is a White Paper dealing with the European Recovery Programme. I think that is one useful purpose that a debate of this kind serves, that it enables members of the Seanad and the Dáil to focus their minds and their attention on what actually has been done. At The Hague it seemed as if some of the drafters of the resolutions might have overlooked the existence of O.E.E.C. or might have thought that it had other functions. There was a discussion recently in Paris as to the progress that was being made by O.E.E.C. and some countries, including ours, felt that as much progress was not being made there was a danger that it would sink to the level of just another international organisation, producing a mass of documentation and statistics without achieving anything. Certain steps were taken that will ensure that it will become more active in future. In the preliminary stages there was a considerable amount of research and building up work to be done. There is a staff of 1,000 now, recruited and trained to do this work. A step has certainly been taken.

I do not know whether I need refer in detail to matters raised by Senators. Some Senators suggested that we could not debate anything about Europe until we had secured the unity of our own country. That is a matter we have to discuss. It is only by playing our full share in Europe that we will succeed in achieving the unity of our own country in the final analysis, and not by sulking in the corner. I think we will probably gain a good deal by what has already been done. We should never miss the opportunity of making our viewpoint known in these matters.

I have at meetings of the O.E.E.C. repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that we were placed in a particular difficulty by reason of the fact that our country had been artificially divided against the wishes of the majority of its inhabitants. The more often that is stated and understood by the people of Europe and the world generally, the better. We cannot do these things if we stay sulking in a corner. I should like to thank members of the Seanad for having given me the privilege of discussing this matter with them and to assure them that I will be pleased at any time to come and discuss it with them.

I should have mentioned at the outset that, as far as Senator Douglas and Senator Miss Butler are concerned, before they went to The Hague they very properly came to me to know whether I considered it would put me in any embarrassing position if they went there. I said no, that this was a free country, and that Senators, and members of the public, were entitled to travel where they liked, provided they were not engaging in any activities which would endanger the State. I told them that I should like to hear their views when they came back. They gave me their views on their return. As to this motion, Senator Douglas and Senator Miss Butler asked me some time ago whether I would object to its being put down, or if I would mind discussing it in the Seanad. I told them that I would not object as the more discussion there was the better.

I would be tempted to say a great deal following this debate but, if I spoke at length, I would only take away from what I feel was a very valuable speech from the Minister for External Affairs. I want to thank him particularly for his closing remarks. I felt that there might be a certain amount of misapprehension about the form of the motion. That form was adopted before, in order to make it possible, without having a division, to invite the Minister to speak on an important public matter.

I do not think either in the case of this or any other Minister, or this or any other Government, a responsible Senator would put down a motion of this kind without first ascertaining if the Minister would consider it embarrassing. All that could happen, otherwise, would be that nothing would be achieved. I was surprised at some of the remarks made during the debate. Some Senators seemed puzzled as to how five Irish delegates got to The Hague. I thought I made it perfectly clear that the five Irish delegates were invited in their individual capacity and did not claim or pretend that they represented this country. They could not, even if they tried, commit this country in any respect. It never entered my head that anyone would think otherwise until I listened to the debate.

I think a few persons were delegates in the sense that they represented one of the six committees that joined to call the conference. There was one very eminent person present who was a delegate in the sense that he was a personal representative. It was the policy of the Vatican that they had carefully inquired into the nature of the conference. His Holiness decided, as a matter of policy, to send a representative. He took part, and as far as I can gather, he was generally welcomed there.

I wanted to avoid details. There are a few points which, I think, I should mention. There was a reference as to whether the basis was Christian. I am not sure whether it was Senator Ó Buachalla or Senator S. O'Farrell who raised that point. I do not want that there should be any misunderstanding. I am sure there were persons there who would be inclined to be agnostic in their views and who possibly would not accept what I believe to be the Christian point of view. I can say without the slightest hesitancy that the conference was dominated by the Christian point of view. In fact, it was one of the things which impressed me, and I think it impressed others too. Professor Tierney mentioned it to me. We shared a room and we saw a good deal of each other. A striking thing about the conference was that even in the cultural committee, where there was quite a number of professors, those who stood for what I shall call the Christian point of view dominated that committee. Now there was, if you like, a very slight compromise. As the matter has been raised I do not want any false pretences. I did not read in my opening the cultural resolution because it would take up too much of the time of the House. The basis of it reads:

"Believing that European union is no longer a Utopian idea but has become a necessity, and that it can only be established on a lasting basis if it is founded upon a genuine and living unity;

Believing that this true unity even in the midst of our national ideological and religious differences, is to be found in the common heritage of Christian and other spiritual and cultural values and our common loyalty to the fundamental rights of man, especially freedom of thought and expression".

I am not going to take up the time of the House in dealing further with that. In reply to a point made by the Minister, in the economic resolution, one of the points mentioned specifically was that it

"welcomes the initial measures taken by certain Governments towards closer economic co-operation, or towards regional groupings; and expresses the hope that the work of the conference of the 16 nations will lead to conclusions favourable to the success of European union."

I have brought forward this motion because I am still convinced, as I have been for the last 25 years, that the people of this country should discuss openly and freely, and should take an intelligent interest in the affairs of the world. I believe it is their duty to do so, and that it will be to their benefit to do so, because I believe that the distinction between external and internal affairs is becoming extremely small. There was a time when you could talk of foreign affairs and home affairs as if they had no relation to each other. That, as the Minister has pointed out, is disappearing very fast.

About 25 years ago I moved a resolution in this House asking, which was not successful, for a committee of both Houses on External Affairs. I still believe it would have been a good thing if we had had that committee. I think this is a matter that should be kept out of Party politics, and that the existence of a committee of that kind would have helped. When I say that it should be kept out of politics I do not mean that it is not important in itself. I think it is all important. To my mind, next to the importance of maintaining Christian conviction in the hearts of men, the next most important thing is to keep out of war. I believe that the struggle mainly is between Christianity and war, and I believe that it is the duty of every person, no matter what his religious convictions or politics, diligently to seek where even in the tiniest little degree he can do anything to prevent any next war, not simply because, as the Minister has pointed out, it will be disastrous and a holocaust, but because the very nature of war itself destroys all the best in Christian feeling, and makes a decent livelihood for the individual almost impossible.

The evils of Europe to-day on which the anti-Christian and the Communist movements are thriying, are in my opinion, a direct result of the last war, and, if you like, of the wars that occurred before it. I am not sure whether European union, which I think should be on slow lines, is going to be achieved or not. I think it may. Five or six years ago I looked on it as impossible, not because I thought nations like ours could not welcome it but because I did not believe that the big nations would look at it for a moment. I am beginning to change my mind now. People are beginning to discover the danger, and out of that danger it is possible that there could be a sufficient measure of unity, greater even than that which is taking place at the moment, to enable joint action to be taken in the case of an emergency, whether the emergency be a war or of another character.

There was something unreal about our discussions here. If Senators would go and spend a fortnight in one of the European countries that was overrun during the war they would see that there is nothing unreal about it. A Dutchman said to me that they would be prepared to give up 25 per cent. of their sovereignty rather than lose it all. What is going to happen if there is a war immediately? There is the real fear that there will not be very much left for the ordinary common people. There is very little left at the moment, but what would be left if there was another war? Hence it is worth trying to get a measure of unity. Whether the proposals from the Hague are practical in all respects or not, I do not know. Some of them I am sceptical about. I think it was well worth while having that congress. I am sure it was an important thing that men and women of practical experience who are prominent in their own countries should have come together and should have put together proposals for discussion. I am sorry that there has been no machinery by which resolutions of that kind could be circulated in this House by the staff. It would have suited me, but there are difficulties. Nevertheless, I would suggest that the Standing Orders Committee might consider in the autumn whether, within certain restrictions, it would be possible for documents to be sent around, if approved by the Chairman, in connection with resolutions to be brought before the House.

I am grateful to the Minister for a very valuable speech and particularly for supporting the idea I have held for many years, that debates of this kind do good and that we need not be afraid of the speeches of one or two people who may be irresponsible. In the main, discussion of European affairs, tempered with responsibility, will do good and this House has a better opportunity for that than the Dáil, where there is direct control of the Executive and where it is much more difficult to discuss these matters without apparently committing the Government. In view of the attitude taken by the Minister, I hope the House will pass the resolution.

May I make one correction? I did not want to interrupt the Minister during his interesting statement. He said he was surprised that no one had referred to the O.E.E.C. of the European Recovery Programme. I did, and I suggested it was a model on which we might base co-operation.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.