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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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the Budget. Secondly, we declared that the loans should not
be used to relieve current expenditure on the maintenance
of the Forces, and, in the third place, the Act provided for a
fixed rate of interest to be charged to Defence expenditure
upon the money borrowed, and that after five years arrange-
ments should be made to repay the capital at such a rate as
would result in the entire redemption in the course of 30 years.
The time has now come to review these arrangements, but the
Government, having reviewed them, see nothing to change
except such necessary modifications of the total figures as have
arisen out of further developments since they were first
announced. In 1938 the Defence Estimates amounted to
£343,500,000; in 1939-40 they must inevitably be more than
that. That year may see the peak of our expenditure, but it is
too soon yet to speak with certainty, and further increases or
diminutions must depend on the circumstances of the time.
One thing we can say with certainty is that the £1,500,000,000
which we contemplated only a little time ago is now not
sufficient for our purpose. It is too soon to say what figure
will be substituted for that £1,500,000,000, but I am afraid
the House must expect a substantial advance upon it.
" I need not impress upon hon. Members the gravity of
these figures or of the prospect which lies before us if no
alleviation of the situation takes place. Hitherto we have
endeavoured to avoid undue interference with trade, and I
think that, on the whole, we may congratulate ourselves upon
a very considerable measure of success. It is interesting to
observe that while in 1935 our exports amounted in value to
£426,000,000, in 1936 they had gone up to £441,000,000
and in 1937 to £522,000,000—nearly £100,000,000 more
than in 193 5. I trust we may be able to maintain that attitude,
and that we may be able to pursue the course of our rearma-
ment without undue acceleration, though we fully realise the
burdens that must mean for the people of this country.
Although we shall not cease our efforts for an amelioration of
the position, we ought to make it known that our desire for
peace does not signify a willingness to purchase peace to-day
at the price of peace hereafter.
" Nor can we abrogate our moral responsibilities to our
own people or to humanity in general. We cannot divest