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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

2O________________________________------------------------------------
me. Any suggestion that the moment I stepped out of
my cradle I formed the ambition to become Prime Minister
before I died I am afraid has not the slightest foundation in
truth. And so, I suppose, the only explanation I can give is
that I was born and bred in Birmingham. And when I have
said that, what other explanation is necessary?
" After all, there can be only a few Prime Ministers in a
generation, and there must always enter an element of chance
into the question as to whether the office falls to one or
another of those who are capable of filling it. In my case,
unlike my father and my brother, the die has been cast in my
favour; but I should not be my father's son if I did not
recognise that what matters is not the luck that assigns the
office, but what is made of it when it comes.
" I regard my present position not as a prize, but as an
opportunity for service, and any satisfaction I may derive
from it will not be permanent unless I can feel when I lay it
down that I have used my opportunity wisely and in the
interests of the country as a whole.
" We are living in a time of transition, a time when
conditions are changing almost from day to day, and no one
can say how they will ultimately settle down. When we look
abroad we see new systems of government being tried, a^d
although they differ fundamentally from one another, they
are alike in this: that in every case their enthusiastic adherents
claim they have found the only practical method of dealing
with modern conditions. We see every nation vehemently
asserting its desire for peace, and every one of them arming as
feverishly as if they meant to go to war; and, similarly, every
nation declares that it wishes to see freer trade, and yet the
barriers that hinder trade seem as firmly fixed as ever.
" Well, perhaps these inconsistencies and incongruities
are not really as inexplicable as they may appear at first sight
There is a wide difference between what a nation desires
and what it feels it can venture to do in order to attain those
desires.
" It seems to me that in these days the task of statesmanship
is to find ways and means of inducing Governments to.put
aside their mutual fears and suspicions and to give rein to
the longing which, I believe, is at the heart of every one of