FULL STATEMENT WANTED Parliamentary Reporter. WELLINGTON, this day. A declaration that he would vote against ratification of the World Charter if the Prime Minister did not think it worth while to tell him what New Zealand's obligations were and how they were to be faced, was made by Mr. AJgie (Nat., Remuera), speaking in file debate on the Charter in the House of Representatives last night. In opening his speech, Mr. Algie said members on the Government benches had repeatedly referred to the war as a people's war, but lie had not heard one Government member say that the San Francisco document represented the charter of the people's peace. He believed that throughout the length and breadth of New Zealand there was a feeling of disappointment in the document, as it did not realise their hopes and their dreams. It was fine that men should dream and have ideals, but it was necessary that ideals should rest on a basis of reality. Personally he wanted to look at the Charter as a contribution to reality, and in that respect he thought the address of the Prime Minister was sadly disappointing. It was a poor example of salesmanship. If he did believe in the Charter what a chance it gave him for inspiration, but that inspiration was missing.
"Know Virtually Nothing" Mr. Algie said he would approach the subject from two angles—one international, ai.d the other local. He had to ask himself what benefits would the nations of the world draw from acceptance of the Charter. He had to answer another question as a Parliamentarian, and the Prime Minister had it in his power to give the answer. "What do we know of the details and obligations which we shoulder when we ratify the document?" he asked. "Virtually nothing." The Prime Minister had had the benefit of many weeks at the conference and an hour and a half on the floor of the House to explain. Mr. Algie said he would not put his signature to the document until he understood it. The Prime Minister had said that New Zealand, by ratifying the document, undertook certain obligations, some military and some financial. He had said that the Dominion's military obligations would be determined in a subsequent agreement, but the House would not know until they were asked to sign on the dotted line.
"Unless the Prime Minister thinks it is worth his while to tell me, as a member of the House, what obligations we have under this document, and how those obligations are to be
faced, I, with a full appreciation of my responsibilities in this matter, will vote against ratification of this document," added Mr. Algie. "When you are going to commit people to obligations that may plunge them into active service in another war then I say you have no hope of doing it unless you take the people into your confidence. If you do not do that, to use the word 'democracy , is a sham and a piece of blasphemy."
Mr. Algie said he wished they had a foreign affairs committee in the House, as in the United States, because there were some questions he would like to ask members of the delegation. He suggested the Prime Minister might consider setting up such a committee.
International goodwill must be translated into reality of action and fact. What made for ft, 1 * success of the document was, as tjWj'rime Minister had stated, fit';,' "international co-operation; and, secondly, protection of the small nations MrN Algie said he often wondered -Vhat it felt like to be a great statesman. Mr. McCombs (Govt., Lyttglton): You will never know. Mr. Algie replied that he might never know, but he was asking the Prime Minister to tell the House what it felt like to stand a little to the left and a little back ; from the centre of the international stage and talk about co-operation practice something quite different on the home front. Was it not a fach that in this country the present "Government found its way to the Treasury Benches in'l93s partly, at least, by having preached for thirty years the doctrine of class conflict?
Attitude To Minorities He also wanted to know what it felt like for international statesmen to stand up and talk about rule of law by a Government that had been noted for the opposite practice? How did it feel to champion the cause of the small nations and, in one's own country, i ; be completely indifferent to the claims of the organised minority?' The Attorney-General (Mr. Mason) on one occasion had been sent to Auckland to crush out of existence an organised minority that only thought it was being patriotic. Mr. Richards (Govt., Roskill): A very subtle guise, wasn't it? The Attorney-General: Following In Hitler's footsteps. Mr. Richards: Auckland's Mussolini. Mr. Algie: It was sufficiently obvious to penetrate into the mind of the member for Roskill—it couldn't have been very subtle. Referring again to the Charter, Mr. Algie said he thought the people were looking for something in the nature of collective security The Prime Minister had tried to get it for them, but had not been successful. The document gave just a ray of hope and depended for its fruition upon the ability of the States "that had signed it to get together and live together.
On the question of referring matters to the International Court of Justice, Mr. Algie said he would like to ask as a test whether New Zealand would be prepared to refer to such a Court the question of drawing closer by Imperial federation with the Homeland if it meant giving up some of New Zealand's sovereignty? As he was at present advised, New Zealand would not be prepared to do that. He also suggested that New Zealand would not be prepared to submit the question of the withdrawal of the colour bar agartist Asiatic immigration. Simiterlv would Russia submit to the international Court the vexed question of whether the Baltic States shoufd nfV he £ in . de Pendence or be part of the Russian Soviet Republics'
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WORLD CHARTER, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 176, 27 July 1945
WORLD CHARTER Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 176, 27 July 1945
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