THEIR VIEW ON UNITED NATIONS
Candidates Probed At Local Meeting
Audience Of 300 At North Finchley
Three hundred members of the United Nations Association, Finchley and Friern Barnet branches, crowded Christ Church Hall, Finchley, on Saturday evening, at a meeting organised by the Association so that the three Parliamentary candidates for Finchley could reply to questions.
The Chairman of the Meeting, the Rev. F. M. Hodgess-Roper, the Chaplain of the British Sailors Society and an officer in UNA, introduced the three candidates: Mrs. Margaret Thatcher (Conservative), Mr. Eric Deakins (Labour) and Mr. Ivan Spence (Liberal).
The first question was “Do you regard the Charter of the United Nations signed at San Francisco on 26th June, 1945, as an International Treaty to which Great Britain is committed?”
Replying, Mrs. Thatcher, said that it was a Charter and different from a Treaty, which was precise and definite. The Charter had been signed, and we were committed to it, and it does form the basis of our foreign policy.
The first article of the Charter stated that the purposes of the United Nations are to maintain international peace and security. One of the faults of the Charter was the “veto” , however, and the lack of police force.
Mr. Spence said Charters and Treaties can be looked at in two ways. One was in the legal sense and the other was the way in which the British people looked upon them. The United Nations Charter was a Charter for the people of the world. Any action contrary to the Charter should be condemned.
Mr. Deakins said that he regarded the Charter as a Treaty in fact. He did not know why the Charter was not international law. He disagreed that it was merely a Treaty, and said it was a “set of rules” by which nations should regulate their conduct towards one another.
The fact that there was no United Nations Police Force to take member nations to task was immaterial. The provisions of the United Nations carried great weight throughout the world, especially to the uncommitted sections. He regarded it as applying to any government of this country.
The second question was “Are you in favour of expanding the work of the specialized agencies, and the U.N. programme of technical, financial and other assistance for underdeveloped countries?”
Answering, Mr. Spence said he was. He thought it was of great importance that all should help under-developed countries—where 1,700,000,000 people were living “below the breadline” .
It was vitally important for the West that these people should be helped, and the United Nations was the organisation to help them.
Mr. Deakins said he thought that aid should be given to the nations. He would like the assistance to go through the United Nations. He did not want to see bi-lateral aid of the type that Russia and America were giving out. It should go through the United Nations and break up the two “blocs” in the world.
In her reply Mrs. Thatcher said that one of the more important departments of the United Nations was the “Technical Assistance Programme” . We contributed about £3,000,000 to this, and it went on building roads, bridges and hospitals.
Our contribution was not so large as that of America, which was the largest of all. We did a great deal of assisting in our own colonies through the Colonial Welfare Fund, which was our own special responsibility. The two forms of help should be kept separate.
Mr. K 's PROPOSALS
The third question was “What do you think of the proposals on disarmament made by Mr. Kruschev to the United Nations General Assembly on 19th September, and how do you think they should be dealt with.”
Mr. Deakins said that he and the Labour Party welcomed the proposals. Not because he or the Labour Party thought that we should have detailed disarmament for the World within four years; that was too soon to bring about such far-reaching changes.
He would welcome it because it showed that even great powers of the world recognised that they had a right and duty to come before the “Bar of the World” —United Nations—with a plan to end the ceaseless curse of war.
Mrs. Thatcher said that everyone was quite right to expect that Nikita KhrushchevMr. K's proposals should be taken up, but they were not so different from proposals but had been put up since 1945.
There was a long history of discussion about disarmament since then, and ending in 1957. The last plans had been approved by United Nations Assembly by a two-thirds majority. There would have to be solid and constructive proposals from Mr. K., and adequate safeguards.
Mr. Spence replied that it was important for Mr. K 's proposals to be considered. Because of their massive space programme, the Russian people had suffered in the way of goods for ordinary human beings. This is what Mr. K, must have in mind. We should be careful but trustful. The stages of the disarmament should be properly arranged so as to be safe for all parties.
A PEACE FORCE
The fourth question was “Would you favour the creation of a permanent United Nations Force to be available for the preservation of peace in areas where there is danger of international conflict?”
Replying, Mrs. Thatcher said she would very much like to see one. One of the faults of the United Nations in the past had been that it could not enforce its decisions. It would solve the whole question of the United Nations.
Mr. Spence said he would like to see it in the United Nations. One of the reasons why there had not been one before was that the Middle Eastern countries had not liked the idea.
Mr. Deakins said he would favour the creation of a United Nations force. There were implications to the creation of such a force. What was the ultimate purpose of United Nations? Either a World Federation of States, or a World Government. In either role, a force would be needed to settle disputes between member states.
Question five was “Are you in favour of a representation of China in the United Nations by the present Government in Peking?”
Mr. Spence said he was in favour of it. It was absolutely unthinkable to exclude such a nation as China—with 600,000,000 people in it, from the United Nations. The effect was totally harmful.
Mr. Deakins said he wanted to see Communist China in the United Nations immediately for two reasons. It was unjust that 600,000,000 people should be cut off from the rest of the world. The second was the United Nations would be incapable of dealing with disarmament at all unless China was in it.
Mrs. Thatcher said that the government recognised Communist China in 1950. The United States had been expected to, but did not as a result of their Congressional Elections.
Then there was Formosa and the off-shore islands. All were crowded with people who wanted nothing to do with Communist China.
She was all for refusing Chiang-Kai-Shek to represent China in the United Nations. Whether we should admit Communist China depended on what one regarded as the United Nations. If regarded as a world forum, then let Red China come in.
But if regarded as a place where human decency and rights were respected, then one might think differently.
The Liberal candidate, Mr. Spence, said that if it was a question of human dignity and rights—then what about Nyasaland? He said that with great respect to Mrs. Thatcher, the United Nations was not an association of “good boys and girls” . It was an association of all.
Question six was in three parts: “If you are not already a member of the United Nations Association, would you be prepared to join” ? “If you are elected and the UNA's all-party Parliamentary Committee is reconstituted would you join it” ? “Would you help the development of UNA's work in this constituency” ?
All three candidates replied “yes” to all parts of the question.
Many other questions from people in the hall were answered by the candidates. At the conclusion Mr. S. G. Mutch, secretary of the Friern Barnet Branch of the UNA, thanked the candidates for attending.