Courtesy Reuters

The Labor Party's Defense and Foreign Policy

If the Labor Party wins the General Election, the prime concern of a Labor Government would be the maintenance of the Western Alliance and, above all, Britain's close relationship with the United States. This does not mean that things can simply go along as they are. I am much disturbed by developments in NATO. This treaty is, in any case, drawing toward the end of its 20-year term and we must all soon begin to think very hard about its renewal. The British Labor Party has for some time given close thought and attention to the future of the Western Alliance-even before the American proposal for the Multilateral Force. We think our ideas offer a far better solution to the problems that the M.L.F. is intended to meet.

Over and above all these particular problems, the world situation-the framework within which defense and foreign policy must be framed-is changing. I think that the Cuba crisis was a major turning point. In those heart-stopping days President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev, as the representatives of humanity, looked together over the abyss of actual nuclear war. Both men not only drew back from the edge with very considerable political courage; both also left a way open for the other to withdraw.

This was because it was nuclear weapons that were in play. If the world had still had only the weapons of the Second World War, these would almost certainly have gone off. But nuclear weapons are weapons of suicide-this was what became clear in the Cuba crisis in a more vivid and actual way than ever before. At last weapons wholly new in kind brought with them a corresponding change in kind in foreign policy. It became clear that nuclear weapons could never, of purpose and intent, be deliberately used. For the first time in human history the settlement by force of major and vital disputes between the great powers became impossible. Simultaneously, the United States and the Soviet Union realized

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