It seems to be my fate to continue my serial performance at this witching hour of night which, as all know, is journalistically unwise.
Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 45: Office of the Minister for External Affairs (Resumed).
You can lash away, then.
Yesterday evening when speaking on this subject I suggested that there were five principles of foreign policy that should underlie the policies that we should adopt and indeed that any country perhaps should adopt in regard to foreign policy. These five principles were: (1) to seek to secure the preservation of peace; (2) to secure the economic independence of our country, which in our case, perhaps more than in the case of many countries is threatened by the nature of our historical and geographical relationship with Britain; (3) positively to create the conditions in our international relationships most favourable to the advancement of our economy, especially our rural economy, and consequently to the maintenance of our separate culture in this country; (4) to secure the voluntary reunification of our country; (5) to make the maximum contribution to the world in which we live.
At the point where the debate concluded I was proceeding to seek to apply these principles to the particular situation in which we find ourselves and to try to see what kind of foreign policy would emerge from such an application of principles. I suggested that as regards the preservation of peace we have a role to play in Europe, that we should be seeking to contribute to a détente in Europe by diplomatic activity within Europe itself and not merely confined to the United Nations and that we should be playing our part to try to create an effective buffer between the two great powers, the tension between whom can be, and has at times been, a threat to our security and that of the world. Secondly, I had said something in more detail about the need to eliminate our economic dependence on the United Kingdom.
Coming now to the third point, that is the need to create conditions in our international relationships favourable to the advancement of our economy, here again it is clear that our future lies in a European policy. If we look at our agricultural sector, still of vital importance to our economy, we find that it is suffering from the peculiar nature of our economic relationship with Britain and from the particular policies that Britain had pursued and which she has pursued in an intensified from since the introduction of the deficiency payments system in the early 1950s.
It is clear that the only way in which we can create conditions in which Irish agriculture can operate successfully, conditions of reasonable price stability and reasonable price levels, is within a European economy which operates an agricultural policy of an equitable character, involving no exploitation of one country by another, but fair and equal terms for all. It is a fact that within the European Economic Community such conditions have been created. One of the remarkable features of EEC is its common agricultural policy, which is fair to all, and in which the same price structure applies throughout the Community and where one country cannot maintain a different agricultural policy and through it exploit, as Britain does, its agricultural suppliers in the Community.
One does not need to become very technical and discuss price differences at a great length to see the obvious benefits to us of such an arrangement. It is a fact that the level of beef prices —vital to us—within the EEC is something like 50 per cent or 60 per cent above our normal level. It is a fact that at the moment, although this could be less enduring, milk prices are perhaps 30 per cent or 40 per cent higher. Even if, as seems likely, the milk surplus situation leads the Community at some point in the not too distant future to modify its price structure, it is fairly evident that the political pressures within the Community are most unlikely to permit a lowering of that milk price to anything like the present level of our milk price and that, even if there are drastic changes in milk policy, the milk price in the Community will remain, by our standards, attractive, and one that would give our farmers a much better return than they get at present and which, in conjunction with the very much higher beef prices, which look like being an enduring feature of the market, would particularly benefit an agriculture such as ours which is primarily pastoral and primarily dependent on cattle.
Indeed, had we the opportunity to design an agricultural policy for Europe that would benefit us particularly, we could scarcely have done better than to draft the kind of policy which has emerged within the last ten years from the balance of interests of the different countries involved and from the long and often arduous discussions that sought to bring these interests together to shape this particular policy.
On the industrial side, the prospect is less clear. In the past we have been told at times that industry would suffer heavy losses in conditions of free trade: certainly it would not benefit in anything like the clearcut way that agriculture would. I have, however, consistently held throughout this period that the potential losses to industry are much less than has been feared. I can recall during the first period of EEC negotiations, back in 1961 and 1962, the campaign that was waged on both sides about the merits of joining EEC. On the side of those who argued against it there was, for a period, a tendency to throw around figures such as that 100,000 jobs would be lost. Fortunately, studies were carried out at that time which brought the problem into perspective—the Second Programme consultations, which were based on the assumption, a fairly stringent one from our point of view, of full membership of EEC by 1970. These studies were carried out in full consultation with industry and were based on the judgments of industrialists themselves, who had no reason to suggest that the outcome would be more favourable than it would be—quite the contrary. This study showed that industry, under conditions of free trade, could and would continue to expand. Of course, there would be losses in some areas and gains in others. But the expansion of the home market should be accelerated by the much more favourable conditions for agriculture to be achieved during that period as a result of EEC membership. This expansion of the home market would provide conditions in which it would be possible to accept the loss of part of the home market to imports while still ensuring for Irish industry continuing expansion of demand.
I looked again at these figures recently, seeking to apply them in the context of EEC membership now much further off than 1970. What seemed to me to emerge is that we could expect, should we become a member of the EEC in the years immediately ahead, that Irish industry might lose something like ten per cent of its market in this country in the mid-Seventies but that this loss would be offset in part by the opening up of the European market to our products and this would occur over a period in which the natural growth of demand would be expanding at a rate of about six or seven per cent per annum. So that what we are talking about is not the danger of a decline in Irish industry but the fact that over a period of years, over this transitional period, some fraction of the growth that would occur in that period would not take place or would take place as a result of export demand rather than home demand.
I do not want to suggest that we should be in any way complacement about this but I want to put the problem in perspective. Complacency is perhaps a threat, just as at that time undue pessimism was a threat, to a realistic policy or a realistic assessment of what our policy should be. There are dangers ahead of us but they are dangers that derive, I think, not so much from the prospect of free trade as from the prospect of our failure to organise properly our own affairs, by pricing ourselves not just out of foreign markets, but out of the home market. There has been a disturbing tendency in the last 18 months for the import share of the Irish market to expand rapidly. This is something one might think, at first sight, might be due to the Free Trade Area Agreement. Indeed, politically, it would be in my interest to suggest that was the cause of it: I have to say that it is not, to any substantial degree. The Free Trade Area Agreement will hit this country quite significantly in the years ahead but it has not begun to do so now, nor was it expected to do so until 1970 and afterwards. No, what is even more disturbing is that we are losing the home market to imports not because trade is being freed—that problem lies ahead of us—but because of inability to supply the home market on competitive terms. It is clear that in the last 18 months there has been a radical change in the position and that the increase in imports on the home market is a result of our failure to be competitive and to supply the goods to the home market under conditions which, for all practical purposes, are unchanged as regards the effect of free trade. This loss of part of the home market in this period has been greater and faster than anything we foresaw happening or anything that is likely to happen because of the freeing of trade.
The real threat to this country, to the economy and to industry, lies not in the freeing of trade but in the damage we can do to ourselves by inflating our costs as we have been doing in this particular period. From the industrial point of view, we should look to the stimulus and the opportunities that membership would give to Irish industries. I think, taking a broad and a long view, that the extra opportunities it will give, plus the extra stimulus to industry to adapt and become competitive in foreign as in home markets, will at least balance the losses that will occur in the home market through the freeing of trade. At the end of that transition period our industry will be, by definition, competitive. What survives—I believe that 90 per cent will survive—will be an industry competing with imports, competing in export markets with the products of other countries, an industry fully competitive and capable from then on of expanding rapidly, as indeed our industry has been doing in the past ten years.
I think, therefore, that even on the industrial side the gains and losses will largely counterbalance each other, and on the agricultural side the gains for this country through the better price structure, and the impetus and incentive to increase output, could involve a transformation of rural Ireland, a transformation for which, perhaps, we are not ready; a transformation which would call for efficient production of a kind which many Government policies are designed to inhibit rather than encourage. I shall return to that point later.
So much for the question of favouring economic growth. That economic growth is essential for our survival as a nation. It should be clear to anybody who lived through the late 1950s that the greatest threat to this country, to its cultural identity, is the danger that its people, faced with adverse economic conditions, would leave in such numbers and elect to participate in the culture of another country to such an extent that our culture would be irrelevant because there would be nobody here to share in it or to practise it, if that is what you do with a culture. Therefore, as a pre-condition of the maintenance of our cultural identity we have to secure the maintenance of our people in Ireland. That requires successful economic policies. It requires the kind of stimulus and opportunity which membership of the EEC would give us, and would particularly give to agriculture, and would particularly give to the rural part of our country.
The second leg of this particular aspect of our foreign policy to which I am referring is that of positively favouring the maintenance of our cultural identity and it is, indeed, on this ground that membership of the EEC has been criticised by many. I think their criticisms are misconceived. The threat to our cultural identity does not come from the multi-lingual countries of the continent of Europe. It comes from our near neighbour, Britain, and our further neighbour on the other side of the ocean, the United States of America. One of the reasons why our cultural identity is threatened is that our orientation as regards external cultural relations is exclusively towards these two countries, these two Englishspeaking countries.
If we look to Europe we will find there several countries which are not nations in the sense in which Ireland is a nation but which have survived despite the lack of any clear sense of nationality and despite the lack of a common language. I refer to Belgium and Switzerland. It seems to me that if you consider the cases of these two countries you are forced to the conclusion that the reason they survived is that they are, in effect, multi-lingual and multi-cultural. Belgium is divided between the Flemings and the Walloons. They do not get on together. But each prevents the other joining one or other of Belgium's neighbours, France or, in the other case, Holland. Belgium survives because of that tension as well as, perhaps, despite it.
The same is true of Switzerland. If Switzerland were a German-speaking country is it likely that it would necessarily have remained independent? Perhaps it might, as Austria has. Perhaps it might not. The protection of these countries and their identities lies in the fact that they are multi-lingual. The danger to us lies in the fact that we are mono-lingual, so far as external languages are concerned. Bilingualism as regards the use of Irish at home does not meet this problem. Indeed, it can be said—and I have always felt this— that one of the dangers of excessive concentration on the Irish language was the fact that it had the effect in the 1920s of contributing—and I say no more than contributing—to a decline in the teaching of foreign languages in our schools.
Some Deputies will know that in 1914 virtually every secondary school child in this country studied French. Certainly all the girls did and twothirds of the boys, and half the girls and many of the boys studied German. Many Deputies will know that that study of modern languages died out in the years that followed. The blame for that can by no means all be put on the shoulders of the Irish revival. Indeed, what really seems to have hit it was the Latin revival of the 'twenties and 'thirties, an aspect of Irish education to which very little attention has been directed. If one examines the statistics for language teaching year by year, as I had occasion to do, one finds that the growth of the teaching of Latin in our schools was what pushed out French and German perhaps more than the growth of Irish. But both contributed to it.
There has been a danger that in seeking to revive Irish we have been so concentrating our attention on that language and, of course, on our generally spoken language, English, that we have tended to lose our facility in modern languages, until recent years when they have been revived. There is a danger that the effect of that could have been, and was, to some extent, to cut us off more and more from the culture of other countries and to confine our cultural relations to Englishspeaking countries. It seems to me that the more we can diversify our cultural relations, the more we can be in touch with the cultures of countries like France and Germany, the less danger there will be of our being swamped by Anglo-American civilisation. I do not see any danger to this country in contact with French-speaking France and Belgium and Switzerland, or German-speaking Austria and Germany. I do see a danger in confining all our contacts to Britain and America.
Again I think the more we have direct relations with the countries of the Continent of Europe the more we shall lose our inferiority complex and become more sure of ourselves, and less anglo-centric in our attitudes. The fact is that in our relations with English people and Americans we tend to be influenced by our knowledge of their stereotype of us. We know, or think we know, what the Americans and the British think of us, and we tend to respond, sometimes playing up to them unfortunately, and sometimes reacting against them. We are not always quite ourselves in these relationships.
I find that when Irish people are dealing with people of other cultures and other languages, these artificialities of attitude do not creep in. Because we find in talking to the French and Germans that they treat us simply as another European country and do not have pre-conceived ideas about us, we are more self-confident in our relations with them. Certainly that has been my own experience and in watching other Irish people in their relations with people from different countries it has struck me that that is an element.
I feel that within a European community, we would grow increasingly sure of our identity and increasingly anxious to assert it. We all know of the inclination we all have abroad to assert our nationality and, perhaps, to use our native language more freely. When we meet an Orangeman from the north we know how we tend to share with him an Irishness which is less evident in the streets of Belfast or Derry. The more we are involved in Europe the more we will grow in the sense of our national identity and in our strength of conviction about our national identity, and the more we will lose the inferiority complex which has been the mark of this country as a result of its long relationship with Britain and, perhaps, latterly to some extent with the United States. I have no fear that participation in Europe will in any way weaken our cultural identity. I believe it will strengthen it and to believe that it will be weakened seems to me to hold a belief based on a very superficial consideration of what is involved.
The fourth aim of our foreign policy should be, I suggested, to secure the voluntary reunification of this country. I shall not dwell on this now because it is something which we dealt with and which I myself spoke about in the debate last week. I shall merely mention again the two main points I made. First, the adoption of a common agricultural policy. Its application to the United Kingdom and ourselves would eliminate one of the two major economic obstacles to the reunification of our country: the difference between the conditions under which agriculture operates north and south; the fact that if Northern Ireland joined us today, her farmers would lose very substantial agricultural subsidies.
Within the European Economic Community there would be no such subsidies. Their farmers and ours would both be receiving fair and equitable prices. The reunification of this country in those conditions would impose no hardship on the farmers of Northern Ireland. That is not a major or compelling point, but it is one further point which we have to consider.
More broadly, however, there is the other point which I mentioned in the other debate: the fact that participation in a European Economic Community, in which power would increasingly be concentrated in the case of Northern Ireland in Brussels, for many major economic and social decisions, and in Belfast for decisions affecting the people of Northern Ireland more directly in their local affairs; that such a situation would be one in which the relevance of government from London or Dublin would become less and, therefore, the tensions arising out of the argument as to whether sovereignty should rest in Dublin or London would become much less.
I can forsee a time, perhaps several decades hence, when this question of whether the thing called sovereignty should rest in Dublin or London could not arouse the same tensions as today because all the decisions of importance would be taken in Belfast or Brussels, and the question of the role of London or Dublin would be so diminished as to be of less importance and, therefore, less a cause of tension. In these ways, it seems to me, that membership of the European Economic Community tion of this country.
It would also help because it would, perhaps, help the cause of the reunification, dwarf our problems. Just as the Orangeman and the Republican meeting abroad on holidays feel they have something in common, so the two parts of Ireland faced in discussion and debate with other Europeans in the European Economic Community, faced with the otherness of the people of those countries, would come to feel that they had more in common, and realise they had more in common. This again would put in perspective the irrelevant historical differences that divide us and make them a less potent cause of continuing division in the years ahead.
Finally, I said that a foreign policy should involve a contribution to the world in general. We have a unique role to play here within a European community. We are the only ex-colony in Europe, the only country which was colonised in that way and threw off the colonial yoke. We have an understanding of the third world which other European countries do not find it easy to have. Somebody who had reason to know something about this commented to me yesterday that, in discussing the affairs of the third world with other European countries at a diplomatic level, one often found a certain lack of sympathy, a continuing colonialist attitude still there, years after they have lost their colonies. That is something we do not have. We have a role to play in Europe in interpreting the third world to Europe and also in helping relations the other way, by interpreting Europe to the third world.
In all these ways it seems to me that a European policy is appropriate to our needs and that the other policies we have pursued in part and which have been divergent and contradictory strands in our foreign policy, particularly over the last 10 years, are in varying ways damaging or irrelevant to our interests. It seems to me we should think out more clearly than we have done what are the basic requirements of a foreign policy. We should then examine them, as I have tried to do in a necessarily superficial way, particularly in relation to the question of the European Economic Community and our participation in it.
I am aware that there are arguments against membership. There are sensitivities in this country to anything which involves participation in a group which might involve the loss of neutrality. Last night I referred to this point in my opening remarks and suggested that we have not perhaps thought out what neutrality was all about in the last war, or just how relevant the attitudes at that time are to us today. The fact is that in the world today there is no such thing as a really independent nation. The degree of interdependence between nations has been growing all the time, perhaps so imperceptibly that we have not realised fully its implications. We are interdependent with other countries in so many ways that to think of cutting ourselves off in some way from the countries around us is irrelevant to the point of absurdity. The idea that we could be neutral in an atomic war shows a certain lack of realism about the nature of the weapons involved and their contaminating power.
We need to take a new perspective and to realise that as the world gets smaller, as with technological developments people come closer together, the countries of Europe must come, and are coming, as we see, to lose something of the sense of basic hostility which informed them for so long, and are gaining a sense of something they hold in common, a sense of common "European-ness." This is something which has developed greatly because of the fact that since the war two great powers have dwarfed Europe on either side and all the countries of Europe are coming to feel that they should draw together in their own common interest.
We, perhaps, have not shared that feeling as much as the other countries of Europe. Our geographic isolation, our cultural isolation from Europe as a result of centuries of domination by Britain, a country that never wished us to have much to do with the Continent of Europe, these are things which perhaps have together with neutrality in the last war, prevented us from sharing fully in the development of this sentiment. In the 1950's a policy was pursued, at least by some Governments of that period, which was not at all sympathetic to European union. I can recall about seven years ago when television started in this country, I played a part in preparing some programmes on the Common Market. Somebody told myself and others who were preparing these programmes that there existed a recording of a radio broadcast by our President when he was Taoiseach on the subject of European policy, and that this would be useful to illustrate the development of Irish thinking, and indeed it was. The Government Information Bureau, a little innocently perhaps, gave us a copy of the recording which was used in the programme. The sentiments expressed then of great distrust for the development of European unity are ones which our Government would not want to have echoing around the world today, and I am sure the recording has been safely locked up and will not come to life as easily as it did in early 1962 when I looked for it for that programme.
The fact is that we in this country have been slow to develop this sense of a common identity with other European countries. However, it is something which began to develop in the 1960s and it is a fact that a public opinion poll showed in 1962 a very strong feeling in favour of membership of the Common Market, stronger indeed than in some of the member countries in Europe. Another public opinion poll taken more recently has confirmed that that opinion persists right up to the present year. There has therefore been an evolution in Irish thinking and Irish attitudes. We have become more conscious of our common European identity and the development of a European policy has become more easy for us.
Let us consider for a moment the opposite case: suppose we decided not to participate in a European community, suppose we decided to opt out, what would the consequences be? We would then be as open to exploitation by this vast community as a whole as we are today open to exploitation by Britain. It is surely bad enough that our agriculture should be exploited in the way it is by the price policies of the United Kingdom without facing a position in which the whole European market would have ganged up against us and we would have opted out of it and decided to let our farmers suffer in that way rather than participate in this community. Is that what we want to do for rural Ireland?
Again, if we opted out we would be in the position that we would have no voice in the policies adopted by this European Economic Community that would affect us. It is a delusion to think that by opting out of such a community we would be opting out of the effects of this decision. Such a community, in its trading and commercial policies and in its political and military policies would affect us radically and perhaps in a very adverse way if we have no voice in making these policies. It would be very foolish for us to give up the opportunity of having a voice in the making of policies which are bound to affect us, and very foolish indeed to think that by opting out of the community we would be saving ourselves from suffering the effects of these policies if they are adverse to us. If we opted out we would also lose the benefits of that cross-fertilisation of cultures with Europe which would help to preserve us from the consequences of the present concentration of Anglo-American culture from which we suffer.
In some of the attitudes adopted to the question of membership of the EEC there is a confusion of shadow and substance. There is a tendency to elevate something called political soverignty, something which is highly theoretical, to a level of enormous importance, and to disregard the harsh realities of the modern world. The important thing for us is to have a real share in decisions that affect us wherever they are taken. The decisions taken in Brussels will affect us far more than any decisions we can take in Dublin, and they are decisions in which we must have a voice.
The real issue for us should be: what kind of Europe do we want to participate in? We should be thinking about this, because it may well be that the obstacles that have hitherto stood in our way will disappear in the years immediately ahead. Of course, bearing in mind that we have had two previous exercises that did not succeed, anyone who says this today is bound to be regarded as having cried "wolf" too often, and it is, of course, true that for one reason or another these negotiations may not succeed this time. There is a possibility that the British may decide to terminate them this time, not the French—a further hazard we did not face before. However, there is a very real prospect that negotiations will take place from next spring, and a very real possibility that these negotiations will succeed. In these negotiations we are going to be asked to state our commitment to a united Europe and we are going to be expected to have some ideas as to the kind of a united Europe we would like to see, and to be able to communicate these ideas. I do not think it will be enough for us to come along to these discussions with a few phrases of lip-service to the European idea, and even if that is enough to get us in, it would leave us in the position as a member of having little influence if we do not give a clear idea of what we want to achieve as a member of the community.
Let us then give some thought and discussion—and I mean discussion— in the months ahead to the question of what kind of Europe we would like to see. Surely it would be a Europe united economically and politically, in some form of federation, which would, however, encourage and protect the cultural diversities of its member states. It would be a democratic Europe with strong parliamentary institutions controlling its public administration—the European Commission of today—controlling its budget which is already running at £1,000 million a year, over which the present European Parliament has no control whatsoever. It would be a Europe which would be peace-loving, not militaristic, a Europe orientated towards the Third World and concerned with helping the Third World with the problems of its development, and a Europe with a regional policy designed to minimise the centralising economic force which will exist in a powerful form in a united Europe, to minimise these forces and to ensure that they are not only held in check but are counterbalanced so that the peripheral regions of this community like ourselves, Brittany, south west France and southern Italy will develop not just as rapidly as, but more rapidly than the rest, so that we will catch up with the central part of this area which is the most prosperous economically.
These, surely are the kind of things we would like to see happening in this Europe. If we want them to happen we will have to be clear that they are our objectives; we will have to work towards them and we will have to give a good deal of thought and consideration to our European policies.
I believe we can influence such a Community. I come back to what I said in my opening remarks about the role we played in the British Commonwealth in the 1920's, which should, I think, prove conclusively that, however small we may be, if we set our minds to the task we have the ability in this country to exercise an influence over others more numerous and stronger than ourselves. We should not underestimate our abilities in this respect. In recent years at the United Nations we have exercised a disproportionate influence, even if at times the policies we have followed have not, in the view of this side of the House, always been well adapted towards that end.
We must remember, too, that in this Europe we shall have allies. I have found a tendency when people talk about Ireland in Europe to think in terms of Ireland having one vote out of 25 and all the rest against. To my recollection that has never happened in any decision within the European Economic Community. The Community is composed of diverse nations with various differences. There are agricultural countries and industrial countries; big countries and small countries; there are liberal countries and the more authoritarian countries, in their methods of administration, for example. There are countries with liberal transport policies and countries with restrictive transport policies. Depending upon the issue which comes up, different alliances are formed. The French and the Dutch might agree on an agricultural policy and perhaps disagree on everything else. We would find ourselves in such a community not as one voice against 24 but as one extra vote added to another group of votes which with our vote could constitute a majority and without our vote might not constitute a majority. Our influence would be exerted on issues on which we would have allies. On agricultural policy the French and the Dutch would be with us and the Germans and British against. I cannot speak for the Italians or the Belgians; it depends on what the particular foodstuff is. On issues of parliamentary control we would have the support of Britain, the Scandinavian countries and Holland in particular. On each issue we would find new and different allies, but we would not be alone. Indeed, we would have to be particularly skilled to find an issue on which we would be alone.
In the perspective of history, as it may be written a century hence, historians will see the Irish Independence Movement as very timely. I think they will see that, after many centuries during which Irish nationality was submerged, it was recovered and reestablished in time—and perhaps only just in time, because 50 years in history is not very much—in time to enter into a united Europe as one of its component parts. Whereas, if a united Europe had evolved 50 years ago we would have been part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and while no doubt our public servants and our politicians would have played some role in that, Ireland would not have been there as an identifiable unit, as a separate cultural unit in that community. But, because we did recover our independence 50 years ago, we are now going to play a separate part. Our voice, our views and our culture will be represented in Europe as fully as those of any of the other nations represented there. We have the advantage in this respect, at the moment anyway, over countries like Scotland, Wales and, indeed, for the moment, of Northern Ireland.
The alternative for us is to remain isolated, economically depressed, an exploited offshore island at the mercy of the decisions of the great European union with no voice in the making of these decisions, an economy without access to any markets for its agricultural produce and faced with restrictions on imports of its industrial products to its neighbours.
When we get down to it, I think everybody in this House, some with reluctance, some with enthusiasm, will agree that if Britain joins the EEC we have to do likewise. My fear is that we might join it with the kind of minimalist attitudes which are evident amongst the British themselves. If we join it grudgingly and try to minimise the concessions of sovereignty we have to make, trying to hold back all the time as much as possible, we shall not exert the kind of influence we could exert in the policies of the EEC.
I can see this already in the British approach. I can see it in the reactions of the Continentals to Britain. One can perceive when one attends any meetings between EEC and the British representatives, the tensions between them, the feeling on the part of the Continentals that the British do not understand what it is all about and do not particularly like what they see. If we, on our side, can show, as I think we have shown at these meetings, that we are different, that we do know what it is all about, that we do not share the superiority complex of the British and their attitude, which at times I am afraid is a rather arrogant attitude, we will have the opportunity of playing a part which Britain will not easily play. We are, indeed, more acceptable than Britain and if we are prepared to play a full part, not to hold back and not to put up with these minimalist attitudes, then I think we can have a great influence.
If we do not, one of the by-products of adopting that kind of attitude is that we could gain the reputation that we had in the past of being a British satellite. In the 1950's we lined up with Britain and Scandinavian countries in favour of anti-European policies and it is amusing, looking back on it, to remember that that group was known at times as "the protestant powers". That description is one which is clearly a little inappropriate in this part of the country but it is an indication of the extent to which we were identified with Britain. Indeed, so closely were our policies identified with Britain, I am afraid there were times when we were regarded as a British satellite, voting automatically with the British. We could hardly expect the Europeans to understand that we voted with the British for a federation with the maximum degree of sovereignty because we had only just won it from the British and against the British. It was too much of a paradox to expect people to understand, but that in fact was where we stood. The British wanted to hang on to their sovereignty because they had always had it and they have this superiority complex and we wanted to hang on to ours because we had just got it from Britain. The effect of these two diverse and opposite attitudes was that we both had the same policy. It would be greatly to our advantage if our attitude were much more positive than that of Britain in the European context.
What of the negotiations to come? I believe these negotiations will start; I am less confident about their success. I think they will start in the spring. What preparations have we made for them? I think the Minister should say something about them. On previous occasions we have been well prepared for these negotiations. Frankly, it would surprise me if we were not quite well prepared now. But it would be helpful if the Minister would tell us something about this. Are we right in thinking that the main responsibility for these negotiations has been transferred from the Department of Finance to the Department of External Affairs? Will we hear more about this? It seems to me basically a sound decision but there are always some doubts when responsibility for something is transferred from a Department which is known to have handled it well to one whose handling is necessarily, until we have experience of it, something we cannot be certain about.
Personally I am confident that the Department of External Affairs, if it has taken control of our European policy, will, especially under the present Minister, make as good a job of it—even a better job—than was made of it in the past. I have no fears on this score but I think we should be told something about this change if it has taken place. Hitherto for reasons which are obscure and which I think the Government had a little difficulty in explaining to some other countries, we had two foreign policies: the European policy run by the Department of Finance and the United Nations policy run by the Department of External Affairs. One policy-making Department and control of policy in one Department is likely to lead to a more coherent external and foreign policy than we have had hitherto. If this change has taken place I believe it is to be welcomed.
What are our plans for the negotiations? Britain has announced that she has appointed a Minister, Mr. Thompson, and a senior civil servant brought back from retirement, Sir Con O'Neill, as chief negotiators. What are our plans in this respect? Presumably we have given some thought to this.
What are our views on the issues on which we shall be called upon to express views? The Minister will be familiar with the opinion of October 3rd, the opinion of the European Commission on the question of membership by the applicants and with the annexe to that opinion. I note that in his opening remarks he referred to an unofficial translation being available in the Library. The official or EEC translation, as distinct from our own translation, is I think now generally available and is something which all of us should read and be familiar with. One feature of that opinion is its emphasis on two different things, the strengthening of the Community and its enlargement, to go hand in hand with each other. There is determination evident in every line of this document that the enlargement of the Community must not weaken it but on the contrary the opportunity of enlargement must be taken to secure agreement within the Community, and from the applicant members, for the strengthening of the Community. We shall be asked our views on some of these matters and even if we are not, if we have views and put them forward this will be taken—any anybody who has had experience of the people concerned in Brussels and the other European capitals will accept this—as a sign of real interest and a good mark in our favour in the negotiations.
We shall be expected to have a view for example on the voting procedure in the Council of Members. This must change when there are new members added because it is a voting procedure which is somewhat complex and delicately balanced with a different number of votes given to countries of different size. A new balance must be struck. Have we thought this out and have we any view as to what kind of balance would be good for the Community and what kind of voting rights would be appropriate for a country of our size? This is something on which we will have to negotiate. It is true that it will not be the first thing to be negotiated; it is true that the pattern of negotiations as now foreseen will involve initially negotiations with each of the individual countries on matters affecting that country's particular interest; but those individual bi-lateral negotiations will be followed by, as I understand it, a multilateral conference of the ten powers involved, which will hammer out the institutional changes required to ensure that this enlarged Community will not be weakened but rather strengthened by the admission of new members.
In that multilateral discussion we shall be expected to put forward proposals on such matters as the voting procedure in the Council of Ministers. Have we studied this? What are our views? Also about the Commission— how big should it be? How should its members be appointed, because the present method of appointment is notably unsatisfactory since it effectively gives a right of veto to individual countries? There has been evidence that if some members of the Commission offend an individual country they may be vetoed when their appointment comes up at the end of a fouryear period. Clearly this is unsatisfactory. Have we a view on this? Do we think that such appointments should be made or vetted by the European Parliament?
What about this Parliament itself? What views have we on its powers at the moment? At present this body is effectively powerless. Its only power is such a strong one that it is never used, the power to dismiss by a two-thirds majority the entire Commission or Executive of the Community. Do we feel, as I think we should and as I think most of us would feel, if we thought about it, that the bureaucracy, the civil service, the public administration of EEC should be brought under parliamentary control? Do we feel that the powers of the Parliament should be strengthened so that the Commission would be more directly answerable to it?
Do we feel that it would be a good thing for that Parliament to be directly elected? This is a matter of current interest and something with which we should concern ourselves, something which has always interested me personally. When the 1961 election took place I can recall that writing in the newspapers a weekly article, and wishing to show that I knew an election was on but at the same time not to write about it in any way that would be interpreted as politically partisan, I took perhaps the coward's way out by writing a humorous article foreshadowing a possible European Parliament election in North Connacht in the year 1968. The date was premature; some of the humour may have been misplaced; but I think it was something which perhaps might have helped draw people's attention to a reality—we shall face such elections. Are we in favour of them? I think we had better be, because I think they are coming. In March of this year the European Parliament, after waiting nine years for something to happen about its proposals prepared under the Treaty for direct elections to that at present indirectly selected Parliament, brought forward a proposal in very firm terms that direct elections should be introduced, a proposal which is directly related to the terms of Article 175 of the Treaty under which if any body in the Community fails to act in accordance with the Treaty it can be brought before the European Court of Justice. The Parliament is threatening in very clear terms that if its proposals of 1960 for direct elections are not implemented in the very near future, it will bring the Council of Ministers before the European Court of Justice for dereliction of duty. Indeed, on its reading of the relevant article of the Treaty I think it has quite a strong case because the Article in the Treaty is quite specific that the Parliament, having put forward its proposals, having decided on them, the Council of Ministers "shall" take a decision. At any rate in the French version the future tense is used. I never quite know in translating French into English whether the future is "will" or "shall", but it is the future tense that is used here, and parliament clearly feels that it means "shall" in this case. It should also be said that throughout the countries of the Community resolutions are before the national parliaments on this matter and in several countries these resolutions are likely to be fully adopted by parliament in the near future. In fact the Germans and Italians are thinking of moving ahead themselves to direct elections in their own countries if the other countries drag their heels and fail to agree to direct elections throughout the Community.
What views have we on this? It is not a simple matter. There are many issues that arise on this to which we must give attention, we in this House particularly, for, this is a matter for this House, not just for the Government. Are we in favour, for example, of people being Members of this House and of the European Parliament? This is a much debated point. It is something in which there is deep disagreement among European parliamentarians. Some believe the two roles are totally incompatible. Others believe that they can be combined, just as in this country many parliamentarians believe that we should combine membership of county councils and Parliament. Have we a view on this? I think it is clear that it would be pretty difficult to be a member of a county council, of this Dáil and of the European Parliament, a hat trick which few would achieve with complete success.
Deputy Paddy Burke.
I can think of another gentleman on this side of the House also.
That is not the only question that arises. How is this Parliament to be elected? Is the same election system to be used throughout the Community? If so, should we try to get them all to adopt PR? In fact, some of them have given some consideration to it but it is not used in our form in any of these countries today. Is each country to adopt its own election system?
Moreover, should there be a transitional period during which the Parliament would consist perhaps of a minority of members selected by their Parliaments, as they are at present, and a majority elected directly? That is a proposal which is being considered. Again, what kind of representation should each country have? In the present European Parliament the smaller countries are represented completely disproportionately. Luxembourg has over four per cent of the membership, with barely 0.1 per cent of the population. Should this be continued? Our national interest suggests it should —we may feel "Let us have as many representatives there as we can". Does our belief in one man, one vote preclude us from pressing this issue? This is something we ought to be considering.
What kind of constituencies would we have? This brings this matter nearer home. Travelling to London recently to a meeting to discuss this very matter of direct elections, when I was the Irish Parliamentary representative, I did a few calculations in the train on the back of an envelope and I think we can devise suitable, multi-seat constituencies here broadly related to the regional pattern of this country, that is if we get enough members in this European Parliament, if we get the kind of representation which the small countries have there today. I am sure the Minister for Local Government has started to give some consideration to this matter.
Do not let the Minister for Local Government at it.
This House should give consideration to it before he gets his teeth too far into it.
Those are all matters that we should be considering. Really, when I hear the Taoiseach and the Minister say that it is premature to produce a White Paper, that there is not enough information, that we will have to wait until the negotiations are all over, that we might give away our negotiating case, I am forced to think they have not really considered this matter fully. Of course, there are matters which should not be spelled out in a White Paper because they would involve our bargaining position. If they represent five per cent of the total area of information involved that is about the height of it.
Of course, there are also some problems in assessing the effects of EEC membership, and of course any such assessments have to be speculative. But this does not have to wait until the negotiations are over because the impact on our economy would be influenced by things which are now fairly fixed, such as the prospect of free trade in five or six years, and we know something of what the effects of that would be on agriculture from the studies already carried out of the common agricultural policy. I admit that some of the prices, perhaps of milk, in that policy may be changed in the years ahead. But can we not have an assessment which will perhaps be based on a number of alternative milk price levels.
I would press the Minister very hard on this. I think it is wrong that we should be moving into a negotiation with our people ill-informed, having had no opportunity to consider it or to discuss it. While we have had White Papers in the past I do not think they were adequate at that time and they are certainly completely out of date now.
We need really two White Papers, one which would set out the various issues which we face, including the issues I have been talking about now about the Parliament, the Commission and the Council of Ministers, setting out the issues and opening them up for discussion, putting them down for debate in this House, and we need a second White Paper which would make as sophisticated as possible an analysis of the likely economic consequences of EEC membership on the basis of what we now know of the likely terms of membership. Everybody would accept that negotiations would modify those terms marginally one way or the other, but the basic facts are known, the structure of the agricultural policy, the likely level of prices, with the possible exception of the milk price, and the kind of terms industry will get. The changes we can look forward to in the negotiations are unlikely to affect the economic consequences of this country by more than five per cent and perhaps by not more than two or three per cent. So, to suggest that such an assessment cannot be carried out now because we do not know the terms, is unrealistic and I think the Minister knows that.
He probably is aware that such an assessment would be technically difficult but this country now has an Economic and Social Research Institute, an Agricultural Institute, it has university economists and others who could do the kind of work involved. I am not suggesting that his Department should produce this unaided. I do not think his or any other Government Department has the time that this exercise would require and it would require a wide range of expertise. This exists in the country. Could the people we have available not be put to work on this task? Could we not commission a study of this kind? This decision we are going to take will be of vital importance to this country. It must not be taken in the dark. We must be as well informed as possible. I have my view of the likely consequences but others may have different views. We need an expert, impartial assessment and I think we have a right to look for it.
We need in the meantime a good deal more information than we are getting through the Minister's Department on other matters also. I had some questions down in July on one particular small issue, the question of the regulations, directives or whatever they may be, of the Commission and the Council with regard to professional qualifications. I found in reply to the questions that information was coming very slowly. Information which I had obtained in Brussels as a private individual two or three years ago was apparently only coming to this country this year. I think we need to be clear the European Commission works in a different way from other governments. If I march in to a Government office here and even if I were not an Opposition Deputy but were an impartial economist and that alone—I am not suggesting I am not an impartial economist but if I were merely an impartial economist and not an Opposition Deputy—I would be unlikely to be handed documents of what policies are being put up to the Government. That is not true in Brussels. The European Commission works in a different way. While, of course, they have their confidential documents too, very little is confidential there and anybody who is interested in a particular topic can go in there, talk to the people concerned and find out a good deal of what is going on.
There is a tendency on the part of our Government to treat documents which Brussels does not regard as so particularly confidential as if they were Irish Government documents subject to the Official Secrets Act. I think in the case I have mentioned, which I chose simply as an example just to see what kind of reaction I got, some of the information I got years ago consisted of stencilled copies of speeches made by officials of the European Community, about the policy work they were engaged on, with full details of what they were proposing, to various seminars and groups in France or Belgium. Most of the information I got was not by any standard confidential and yet it does not seem to have reached this country until several years afterwards.
We need to be more active in this matter. The Irish professions should have been kept up to date with regard to the question of professional qualifications. It is a bit absurd that the pharmaceutical profession depended on the fact that I brought home some documents and passed them on to them and that only several years later our Government came up with what was being proposed for pharmacy. Remember these proposals are very detailed. In the case of pharmacy they involved laying down that if the professional qualification for pharmacy is to be recognised throughout Europe then the course must contain not less than 20 hours practical and 20 hours theoretical in this little subject, that little subject, not just broad subjects, but parts of subjects. It is very important that our professions should know those proposals, proposals which will affect the acceptability of Irish professional qualifications throughout Europe in the years ahead and it seems to me that our Government have not been as active as they should have been in this matter, have been over-sensitive to the question of confidentiality, not fully appreciating the different way in which this question of confidentiality is treated in Brussels.
I think I have said enough on the European Economic Community at this time. I dwelt on it for a long time, because of its enormous importance to us and because it has not had the discussion it should have had here. We have tended to ignore it completely when nothing is happening and to discuss it inadequately when something is happening. In the next 18 months, if negotiations are to take place, we will need to debate it more fully in this House than we have in the past. While the Minister can be assured that on this side of the House there will be no pressure on him to disclose anything that might damage our negotiating position I will equally assure him we will not be merciful if he hides behind that to prevent us from finding out things we are entitled to know and which will not affect our bargaining position. It is very important that our people should be as fully informed as possible about anything which is not going to affect the progress of the negotiations. On our side we will press for the fullest possible information while being responsible, as we have always been, and as we have shown ourselves recently in another context in regard to Northern Ireland, by not pressing the Minister on anything which would embarrass him.
I turn now to other issues of foreign policy before concluding because there are other issues to which we need to give our attention too. I mentioned earlier the importance of our playing a role in the détente between east and west. The fact that we are not a member of NATO puts us in a good position to do that. In this context I would like to raise the question whether we do not need, in order to fulfil that role, which I think is potentially an important role for this country, some more direct contact with the countries of eastern Europe. I am aware, as the previous Minister assured the Dáil, that at the UN we have close diplomatic contact with many countries including the countries of Eastern Europe and that we use our good offices as best we can to help improve relations and lower tensions both in regard to East-West relations and to other problems in the world.
However, I am not convinced that this is enough. We ought to consider whether the time has not come to have some kind of direct diplomatic contact with eastern Europe so that our Department of External Affairs will have more direct access to the thinking of these countries of eastern Europe and so, also, that we might be closer to some of the centres of diplomatic activity such as Warsaw where for many years the Americans and the Chinese have had the only direct contact that has occurred between these two countries.
A diplomatic listening post in one of these countries would bring us into more direct contact with them and would make our representations to them more acceptable when we need to press them to be reasonable. These countries are sensitive of this issue. There is a resentment on their part because we do not have diplomatic relations with any of them. They are not inclined to take us seriously if we are not prepared to recognise them although, of course, we do recognise them in the sense that we do not say that they are not the legal governments of these countries. But the way in which we, together with Portugal, which is, I think, the only other country involved at this stage, refuse to have any diplomatic contact with them is not conducive to our having the kind of influence that we would like to have. If Spain and the Vatican can have such diplomatic relations, this holy island could have them also.
Looking at it from another angle, there is the question of trade. Our trade balance with eastern Europe is even worse than our trade balance with western Europe and that is saying a lot. A ratio of 5 to 1 between imports and exports is not uncommon. This is something that can only be rectified by hard bargaining with tough customers and this is not easily done if we keep these people at arm's length. The Minister should consider our position in regard to that matter.
Turning to another area, it is only fair to say that we have not played our full part in the past in the struggle in Vietnam. We are in a favourable position to do so because of our close and friendly relations with the United States for historic reasons. Those relations place a duty on us with regard to our friends by trying to help them when they make mistakes. I do not think it is in any way being unfairly critical of American policy to say that the Americans have made a mistake in Vietnam because they themselves are now openly admitting that they are trying to get themselves out of the position into which they have got themselves. It was a mistake for our Government to wash their hands of this and to feel that by trying to persuade the Americans of their mistakes we would, in some way, damage our relations with them.
We failed to help the Americans when it was our duty to do so. I say this because we could have exercised influence there. We have no influence whatever with the North Vietnamese but it is quite different with the United States. It is now clear that the pressure kept up by certain friendly European countries who are allies of the United States contributed to the realisation by America that they were almost in complete isolation on this matter and that they were, perhaps, following the wrong tactics. We let the Americans work this out for themselves without any help from us. It was, perhaps, a policy pursued for wrong reasons.
It was particularly notable with regard to one particular aspect of American policy that evoked universal concern that we had nothing to say. When U Thant on behalf of the United Nations called on the Americans to stop the bombing of North Vietnam our voice was silent. It was one occasion on which our United Nations presence was not very noticeable. When the Pope added his voice and also called on America to stop the bombing our devotion to the Holy See was even less evident. This is not good foreign policy; it indicates an absence of foreign policy.
There has been a discussion here on another related issue, namely, China. I found that part of the discussion that I heard obscure to the point of absurdity. I listened intently to the remarks made by the former Minister for External Affairs but I was left in a state of confusion as to what exactly his objective was and even as to what he thought the position in Formosa was. He seemed to be pressing for the presence at the United Nations of a representative not only of Red China but also of Formosa, that island off the coast of China occupied by the Chiang Kai-Shek regime since 1949.
Having inferred that there should be this dual representation, Deputy Aiken proceeded to tell us, if I understood him correctly, that what, in fact, he was pressing for, was the representation of the Formosans and he then told us that the Formosans had been massacred in their thousands by the Chiang Kai-Shek régime. Is Deputy Aiken leading a Formosan independence movement against Chiang Kai-Shek? Is he asking for recognition for some Formosan government in exile or is he asking us to continue recognition of the Chiang Kai-Shek régime because of what he described as its massacre of tens of thousands of Formosans? I was left completely confused as to what is exactly Deputy Aiken's policy.
It seems to me that that confusion is not conducive to a clear consideration of the real issue which is that a country which represents a great threat to the people of the world is excluded from any normal contact with the rest of the world. This is a mistake and endorsement of the Formosans or Chiang Kai-Shek does not help clarify the issue. The world is facing a very real danger because of the military power of China which is developing at a faster pace than the liberalisation of Chinese policy. The processes of education which the Soviet Union has been subjected to down through the years and which have led it now to a position where it can be a stabilising force in world affairs and no longer the kind of threat it posed in the past, are ones which are not occurring very rapidly in China. If the Chinese are not brought into the world community, accepting some kind of rules of the game, with a view to preventing a world conflict, they will be a great danger because they have developed atomic weapons on a scale that will threaten the rest of the world. The greatest danger to the existence of the world today is this race that exists between Chinese military power and the liberalisation of Chinese policy, which does not appear to be proceeding at any pace at all.
I believe that success in this race would be facilitated rather by bringing China into the councils of the United Nations than by keeping her excluded. We need to consider this without confusing it too much with the question of Formosa.
There are other régimes in the world, many of which are undemocratic and there is nothing we can do about it, but there are cases where we can take a stand and have not always done so. I do not think from what I understand of it that the Irish attitude to the Greek régime in the Council of Europe has reflected very much credit on us. The Scandinavian countries have pressed for action on this matter which could put the Greek military régime under considerable pressure. We did not support that pressure. I may be unfair on this. Perhaps, I do not fully understand the complicated diplomatic developments at the Council of Europe in recent years. Perhaps, the Minister would clarify this for me when he is replying. It is important that we as a member of the Council of Europe, as one of the members who are dedicated to democratic principles, should stand as firmly as the Scandinavian countries on this issue and be unwilling to accept that any member of the council should find themselves in the position of operating an undemocratic régime against the wishes of the Parliament of that country, and of locking up the Parliamentarians of that country. We have shown ourselves surprisingly insensitive to the imprisonment of Greek Parliamentarians. I should have thought we would all feel a certain concern on this issue.
Other speakers have spoken with greater knowledge than I have about Biafra. I shall not dwell on it. I share the sentiments expressed on this side of the House and, indeed, on all sides of the House. We are all glad the Minister has taken such a personal concern in this matter. He was very modest in telling us about the efforts he has been making and I personally hope his efforts will be successful.
There is one aspect of the question which I did not hear adverted to sufficiently in the speeches I heard. I may have missed it because I was not in the House all the time—I was not here for all the speeches in this debate. I am referring to the question of the British role in this affair. The British policy of supplying arms to Nigeria, which is with a view to a "quick kill" as Deputy Dr. Cruise-O'Brien said, is one which is the cause of great controversy in Britain itself and which I do not think would survive in a free vote of the British Parliament. This policy has not enhanced Britain's reputation in the eyes of the world. I am not clear what we have done about it. We have a duty in a case like this, just as we had a duty with regard to Vietnam with the Americans, to make our views known to the British in no uncertain terms. I am not clear what we have done about it and I would like the Minister to tell us what steps he has taken to prevent the supply of arms to Nigeria by the British. The Minister may tell us that others, like the Russians, are supplying arms to Nigeria or Biafra and that he does not think we have much influence with the Russians. The Portuguese and the French have supplied arms to the Biafrans—Deputy Aiken has told us this. If we have influence with the French or Portuguese we should exercise it. But we have closer contacts with the British than with some of these other countries— not always to our benefit—and we should use these contacts to make our views clear. I am not clear whether we have played the kind of role we should in this affair. Perhaps the Minister would tell us what has been done in regard to this particular aspect of the Biafran affair.
Our inaction in regard to Greece and our lack of action, as it appears, in regard to the British position in Biafra worry people and make them wonder whether our foreign policy is informed by the kind of moral considerations that should inform it. Indeed, the Minister spoke about things that make young people revolt. We should try to avoid the kind of omissions as well as sins of commission in our foreign policy that will have the effect of making people feel that our foreign policy does not express the moral judgments and attitudes of our people.
Deputy Aiken referred in his speech to the 23 resolutions on which we had voted differently from Britain and the USA. I have been unable since last night to trace the publication that contained these resolutions. I recall that the list was published some months ago. When I examined it I found that our different vote in the majority of instances consisted of abstaining when Britain or America voted one way or the other. I speak from memory on this and I am open to correction on it. This is not a very strong mark of differentiation.
It can be. An abstention at times is almost a vote against one. I discovered that.
I appreciate that significance. It can also mean "We are against you on that but we have not the courage to say so". Some of the abstentions were more of that character than the character which the Minister seeks to attribute to them.
A certain number of votes are needed. If a person abstains he is not giving his vote to anyone.
I appreciate that and this is probably true in several of the instances. But my recollection suggests that in many instances we simply abstained on issues because they were issues where voting against Britain or America might have been diplomatically embarrassing but where we thought we should have voted against them and, therefore, we abstained as a half-way measure.
The Deputy is assuming that.
I am not assuming it. I am saying that in my recollection in many of the votes this is the most evident interpretation to me of what happened. The Minister may develop this in reply.
An abstention does not mean a neutral position. It is often a positive stand.
I agree it can be so sometimes. I am saying that in reading the list of votes I did not get the impression, as Deputy Aiken was telling us, that we were taking a stand against Britain and America in virtually everything. It seems to me that we were taking a stand against them in nothing and we were mostly abstaining on issues in which they were involved. I do not want to press the matter further because I have not got the list of votes in front of me. It would be necessary to analyse them one by one. I doubt if the House would appreciate that at this hour of the night. I merely want to put on record that Deputy Aiken's account of our stand against Britain and America in nearly everything is an oversimplification, from my recollection of the information published by the Department of External Affairs some months ago.
The debate we are engaged on is one which groups two votes. This is a necessary and common practice if we are to get through the business. It is a pity, however, because in cases like this the second or subsidiary vote tends to get very little attention. In this case the second vote relates among other things to aspects of development aid. We should give serious consideration to this question of development aid. Few countries in Europe contribute from public funds so little in relation to their national wealth as we do. Few countries in Europe contribute so much from their private resources as we do through our missionary activity. I do not think the scale of our missionary efforts should exempt the Government from playing their full part in this matter. The United Nations set a target of one per cent of the GNP as the contribution which developed countries should make to the existence of this third world. We are a long way away from that in terms of our public contributions. While it is difficult to assess the scale of our missionary contributions, I have the impression that even if they were included, and a generous figure put on them, our contribution to the developing countries falls short of the target set for us. We ought to take this obligation seriously. It has been the subject of one of the most impressive Papal documents of this century, Populorum Progressio. Anybody who has read that document and seen how it appeals to the peoples of the world, not merely to Christians or to members of the Roman Catholic Church but to the states of the world to wake up to the realisation of the problem that is there and to their moral duty will realise that we in this country should be taking this more seriously than we are. In that document the Pope puts to us that the duty of redistributing our goods, which we have accepted within the past half century as applying between people within one country, applies, too, between countries.