nearer and nearer to war ? 1 believe that the policy of the
party opposite, if persisted in, this policy of holding their
hands and turning their backs, of making speeches and of
doing nothing, is a policy which must presently lead us to
MR. GALLAGHER : " Go to the country."
THE PRIME MINISTER : " There may come a time again, as
there have been times in the past, when someone who occupies
the position that I hold to-day will have to face again the awful
responsibility of answering that question: c Will you plunge
your country into war ? ' I pray that that responsibility may
not fall upon me, but does not an almost equally heavy
responsibility lie upon a man who feels, as I do, that if we do
not take action, we may presently be faced with that frightful
question, and who feels that by taking action he may do
something to avert it P1 I feel that I should fail in my duty
if I failed to take that action now, as I have done."
1 It is impossible now to avoid the conclusion that had the Prime
Minister not taken the action he did in opening conversations with Italy,
world war could not have been averted seven months later. It was
Signor Mussolini's immediate response to Mr. Chamberlain's appeal for
mediation on 29th September that alone saved peace at that time.