Skip to main content

Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

See other formats

if he and I had a talk with Count GrandL My right hon.
Friend in his statement was anxious to put the situation as
objectively as he possibly could, but I must ask him to forgive
me if I say that at one point he was not quite fair. He repre-
sented to the House that the Italian ^Government had called
upon us to enter upon conversations now or never, and that
we were being asked to submit to a threat. There is nothing
in any of the communications which passed between us and
the Italian Government which, in my judgment, would justify
that description/*
MR. ATTLEE : <c As the Prime Minister is alluding to a
number of communications and conversations, I take it that
we shall have a White Paper to enable us to judge foj
ourselves ? "
THE PRIME MINISTER : " I do not think there is anything in
what I have alluded to which I should be in the least afraid to
publish so that judgment might be exercised upon it. I repeat
that in my judgment, and, I am sure I can say, in the judgment
of my colleagues, with the exception of my right hon. Friend
(Mr. Eden), nothing that has been said on behalf of the Italian
Government would justify anybody in saying that they have
used threats. It is, therefore, not fair to the House to suggest
that they are being asked to submit to demands from another
Government to which it would be derogatory to our dignity to
submit. I have stated that they informed us of their earnest
desire that conversations should start as soon as possible, and
it was upon the expression of that desire that the conversation
between the Italian Ambassador, the Foreign Secretary and
me took place. The Foreign Secretary concurred in my
suggestion, but later in the day sent me a note asking me not
to commit the Government to anything specific during the
conversation. As a matter of fact, I did abstain from anything
of the kind.
" When the conversation was over the Foreign Secretary
and I discussed what were the conclusions that should be
drawn from it. It was then, as it seemed to me, that for the
first time our differences became acute* This was on Friday.
I was convinced that a rebuff to the Italian expression of their
desire that conversations should start at once would be taken
by them as a confirmation of those suspicions which I have