Skip to main content

Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

See other formats

74   -----------—--------------------------------—-----
picture as possible of the events which have led up to the
present situation, I must ask for their indulgence while I
endeavour to state once again my own views upon certain
aspects of foreign policy—views which have never altered,
and which have been shared by all my colleagues- On a former
occasion I described that policy as being based upon three
principles—first, on the protection of British interests and the
lives of British nationals; secondly, on the maintenance of
peace, and, as far as we can influence it, the settlement of
differences by peaceful means and not by force; and, thirdly,
the promotion of friendly relations with other nations who are
willing to reciprocate our friendly feelings and who will
keep those rules of international conduct without which there
can be neither security nor stability,
"It is not enough to lay down general principles. If we
truly desire peace, it is, in my opinion, necessary to make a
sustained effort to ascertain, and if possible remove, the causes
which threaten peace and which now, for many months, have
kept Europe in a state of tension and anxiety. There is
another fact which points in the same direction. "We are in
this country now engaged upon a gigantic scheme of rearma-
ment which most of us believe to be essential to the mainten-
ance of peace. Other countries are doing the same. Indeed,
we were the last of the nations to rearm, but this process of
general rearmament has been forced upon us all, because every
country is afraid to disarm lest it should fall a victim to some
armed neighbour. I recognise the force of that hard fact, but
I have never ceased publicly to deplore what seems to me a
senseless waste of money, for which everyone will have to
pay dearly, if they are not paying for it already. I cannot
believe that, with a little good will and determination, it is
not possible to remove genuine grievances and to clear away
suspicions which may be entirely unfounded.
" For these reasons, then, my colleagues and I have been
anxious to find some opportunity of entering upon conversa-
tions with the two European countries with which we have
been at variance, namely, Germany and Italy, in order that
we might find out whether there was any common ground
on which we might build up a general scheme of appeasement
in Europe. It is not necessary now to enter upon a discussion