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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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"T SUPPOSE I need hardly say to you that the resolution
X which has just been read to me is very gratifying to me
at this moment when I have just assumed the duties and
responsibilities that attach to the office of Prime Minister.
I am entering on them at an age when most people are think-
ing of retiring from active work, but I have hitherto led a
sober and a temperate life. I am informed that I am sound
in wind and limb, and I am not afraid of the physical labours
which may be entailed upon me. Indeed, I do not think
it is the long hours or the hard work that form the most
alarming aspect of the duties of a Prime Minister. It is
rather, as it seems to me, the knowledge that in all the per-
plexities and the problems which rise up day after day in
front of any Government in these troublous times, the
ultimate responsibility of the final decision must rest upon
the shoulders of the Prime Minister. No major point of
policy can be decided, no real fateful step can be taken
without the assent, either active or passive, of the Prime
Minister, and if things go wrong he can never escape the
reflection ' I might have prevented this if I had thought or
acted differently.'
" I believe it is that ultimate and inescapable responsibility
which is the real root of the anxieties which have worn
down the energies of our recent Prime Ministers, and it
is that responsibility which now lies in front of me. And
so, while I have been waiting in that little room to know
what is to become of me, I have not been so much racked
by anxieties as to the result of your deliberations, but
I have rather been thinking how much easier my sleep
would be to-night if your choice had fallen upon some-
body else. But, though I have never sought this or any
other office, I have never thought it right to shirk any
duties which other people thought me capable of performing,
I shall have the good fortune to be able to count
upon the assistance of a lady whose affection and