Skip to main content

Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

See other formats

White Paper which we are discussing this
afternoon is the fourth of its kind. It is significant
of the state of international affairs and international rela-
tions that for four successive years we have been discussing
these subjects and turning our attention to figures of such
magnitude. I think it is no less significant that, generally
speaking, throughout the country there is a conviction that the
course we embarked upon when we began our rearmament
was one which could not have been avoided, and one which
must now be carried through to the end. The White Papers
of 1935 and 1936 were devoted largely to explaining the
circumstances which had led His Majesty's Government to
the conclusion that the deficiencies in our armaments must be
made good, and they also defined in broad terms the objectives
which were aimed at in the plans which we were putting for-
ward for the reconditioning and the modernising of our Forces.
The White Paper of 1937 gave some indication of the extent
of the field to be covered, and pointed to the total sum
which we might expect to have to spend in the course of the
next five years.
" The White Paper of to-day is in the nature of a survey
of the progress made, and it contains also some account of the
measures taken by the Government for the protection of
civilians against the effects of air raids. A statement of this
kind must necessarily, for purposes of preserving the public
interest, be on somewhat broad lines. On the Estimates
which will presently come before the House, it will be possible
and desirable to go much further into details; but this
afternoon I propose to avoid details as much as possible,
and confine myself to more general observations. I would
like to begin by saying a few words about the work of the
Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence. I remember that
when he was appointed, i sjood many doubts were expressed
úS* to whether, in fact, i ly such Minister could have the