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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

IOI

League may be reconstituted, because I still believe that there
is important and valuable work for the League to do. But
I doubt very much whether the League will ever do its best
work as long as its members are nominally bound to impose
sanctions or to use force in support of obligations.
" I would not change an article in the Covenant. (Inter-
ruption.) I am trying to say something which has a serious
meaning, and if hon. Members will not listen to me now, I
hope they will read what I am saying. I am saying what I
would do about the League and I say I would leave the
Covenant as it is. I would not tear up a single article of it,
not even Article 16, in the hope that some day it might be
reconstituted in such a form that we might rely upon being
able to use those powers for the function for which they were
originally intended. But I would have it clearly understood,
to-day, that the League cannot use them and cannot be
expected to use them and that the nations which remain in the
League must not be saddled with liabilities or risks which
they are not prepared to undertake. Nor must other nations
expect that the League will provide that security which it
was once hoped it would provide. I believe that if the League
would throw off shams and pretences which everyone sees
through, if it would come out with the declaration of what it
is prepared to do and can do as a moral force to focus public
opinion throughout the world, it would justify itself. It
would be a real thing; it might draw unto itself again some
of those who have lost faith in it in the past, and the future of
the League might be assured for the benefit and salvation
of mankind.
" The party opposite have been asked what they would
do in these circumstances. You may take the view that
you are not prepared even to talk with those who differ from
you or whose standards of public conduct you do not approve.
That has been, I will not say our intention, but actually what
has happened up to now. Can anybody say that we have
approached nearer to peace by pursuing a policy of that
kind ? Can anybody say that we have taken fear out of the
hearts of men ? Can anybody say that we have lightened the
menace that has been hanging over us ? Must not everybody
a'dmit that month after month we have seemed to be getting