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Gaitskell Asks Neutral Central European Zone

Labor Leader Urges Major NATO Nations To Discuss Policies Before Taking Action

By John G. Wofford

Mr. Gaitskell will deliver his final lecture in Sanders Theatre tonight at 8 p.m. on problems confronting Western foreign policy in the "uncommitted" areas of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East as part of the overall problem of "co-existence."

Hugh Gaitskell declared last night that recent events in the Soviet satellites, despite superficial signs to the contrary, do indicate that the countries of the Atlantic Alliance should jointly develop a more flexible foreign policy in Europe. He went on to outline a specific suggestion that the West propose to withdraw NATO forces from West Germany in return for the reunification of Germany and the removal of all Soviet troops from the satellite nations.

The leader of the British Labor Party, in his second Godkin Lecture at Sanders Theatre discussed weaknesses in both NATO and the Soviet bloc, and then put forth his plan for a wide neutral bloc composed of Germany and the satellites as part of "a comprehensive European security plan, in which the various states in the neutral zone would have their territories guaranteed by the great powers as well as by each other."

Gaitskell urged that any such changes in foreign policy "should be worked out by all of us together" within the framework of NATO. He said he felt this could be achieved without new political machinery, so long as more prior consultation takes place.

"What we need is an understanding that no member of NATO will take action on its own, in any part of the world, which affects other members of the alliance without consulting them. Consultation, of course, does not mean obligation to agree. But it does mean taking seriously what your friends say: it does mean making an effort to get agreement.

"I cannot, myself, see any possibility of drawing a distinction on a geographical basis, so that we consult about one area and not about another. Things are much too mixed up for that." Gaitskell said he hoped that the Anglo-French action in the Middle East has created a "revulsion against anybody doing any-thing of the kind again."

He said that he could not really envisage an effective military defence unless the countries concerned "operate what amounts to a common foreign policy," for if they do not, "the centrifugal tendencies are likely to be over-whelmingly powerful."

He said that the tendencies for each country to go its own way had resulted in a failure to meet even the purely military requirements of NATO.

It was clear, he said, that the West has never been in sight of the 1952 target of 85 military divisions in the central sector of Europe, and that while tactical nuclear weapons and the possibility of an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile had lessened the danger somewhat, they also created great uncertainty as to when, and in what manner, NATO forces would actually be used.

"The plain fact," he said, "is that all that exists in the defenses of Europe today is a trip wire, with no absolute certainty of exactly what the trip wire would set off. One can hardly describe that as a very impressive achievement.

Gaitskell declared that not only was NATO militarily weak, but that "its members have been distracted and divided by a series if events in other parts of the world"--notably in Korea, Formosa, North Africa, the Middle East, and Cyprus--and that "even in Europe itself the central political problem of Germany remains unsolved." The latter, he felt, is particularly dangerous now because of the possibility of a revolt in East Germany.

Resistance Certain

He did say that "NATO has made resistance to aggression in Europe certain" and that "nobody doubts that in certain conditions it would operate." But Hungary was not one of those situations, he declared, because intervention by the West would have risked a third world war.

"The plain fact is that in our defense planning and its political framework," he added, "we did not envisage such a situation developing out of a rising behind the Iron Curtain."

Gaitskell guessed that although Russia will try to retain the countries of Eastern Europe as political satellites, nationalism in the area will increase and that an "unstable and fluid situation" will continue. If the satellites are going to produce further grave political trouble, Gaitskell asked whether the Soviets might not be willing to relinquish military control over Eastern Europe in return for security guarantees.

Disarmament Proposals

The gradual withdrawal of Western forces from Germany and Soviet forces from the satellites would "clearly have to be subject to control. But here the latest proposals of the Russians them-selves for a zone in which there would be both aerial and ground controls might be appropriately introduced. Indeed, one could envisage the whole plan as forming part of a wider move towards a disarmament agreement between the great powers."

"Though some of you may think it's too idealistic, and foolish, it seems to me that apart from anything else, we owe it to the peoples of the satellite countries... at least to examine what can be done to win freedom by diplomatic means since we cannot do it by force."

Gaitskell concluded his lecture by discussing possibilities for closer European unity, saying that Britain should favor some closer ties with the Continent so long as they do not interfere with her commitments to the Commonwealth, her more liberal colonial policy, and her "special relationship with the United States."

Britain should be reluctant "to move closer to this continental community," Gaitskell said, "unless the U.S. moves along too... We would prefer to see, in other words, any closer integration taking place with in a more vital and more closely knit Atlantic Community.

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