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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

11

of those qualities which have specially distinguished Mr*
Baldwin and have given him his great place. My only con-
solation is that I do not know anyone else who does possess
them. He and I have known each other now for 14 years,
during which I have been his close personal friend, and, in
spite of differences of temperament which are almost as
obvious as our differences in personal appearance, our out-
look on politics and on people has been very much the same.
Although every man must have his own method of work, the
main principles which guided him are the ones which I shall
endeavour to follow. Like him, I regard it as of the first
importance to preserve the unity of the Conservative Party,
to-day the most powerful political instrument in the country.1
" I recall that I myself was not born a little Conservative.
I was brought up as a Liberal, and afterwards as a Liberal
Unionist. The fact that I am here, accepted by you Con-
servatives as your Leader, is to my mind a demonstration of
the catholicity of the Conservative Party, of that readiness to
cover the widest possible field which has made it this great
force in the country and has justified the saying of Disraeli
that the Conservative Party was nothing if it was not a National
Party. But to-day the Conservative Party is only an element,
although it is the largest and strongest element in a National
Government, and like Mr. Baldwin I am convinced that the
best interests of the country will be served by the continuance
of the national character of that Government. These next two
years may well be critical in the history of Europe, and,
whether they end in chaos or in a gradual appeasement of
qjd enmities, and the restoration of confidence and stability,
will depend very likely upon the part played by this country,
which is bound to be important, and may well be decisive.
" If we are to exert our full influence in the right direction,
we shall require something more than the devotion and the
1 It was the unity behind the Prime Minister of a democratic
national government, containing representatives of the Conservative,
Liberal and National Labour Parties, which fifteen months later was to
enable Mr. Chamberlain to go to Berchtesgaden, to Bad Godesberg and
to Munich with an authority no less than that of the dictators and to
avert a war which up to the very last hour had seemed inevitable to the
whole world.