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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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" T BELIEVE it will be the general wish of the House that
J[ I should initiate a Debate on Foreign Affairs this
afternoon by making a statement as to the attitude of His
Majesty's Government as affected by recent events in Europe.
I deliberately choose the word 'attitude9 rather than
1 policy/ because I cannot imagine that any events would
change the fundamental basis of British foreign policy which
is the maintenance and preservation of peace and the establish-
ment of a sense of confidence that peace will, in fact, be main-
tained. That must, I think, always be the aim of any Govern-
ment of this country, because, as has so often been said, peace
is the greatest interest of the British Empire. But that does not
mean that nothing would make us fight. We are bound by
certain Treaty obligations which would entail upon us the
necessity of fighting if the occasion arose, and I hope no one
doubts that we should be prepared, in such an event, to fulfil
those obligations. Then there are certain vital interests
of this country for which, if they were menaced, we should
fight—for the defence of British territories and the com-
munications which are vital to our national existence. There
are other cases, too, in which we might fight, if we were
clear that either we must fight or else abandon, once and for
all, the hope of averting the destruction of those things
which we hold most dear—our liberty and the right to live
our lives according to the standards which our national
traditions and our national character have prescribed for us.
" All the same, our object must always be to preserve these
things which we consider essential without recourse to war,
if that be possible, because we know that in war there are no
winners. There is nothing but suffering and ruin for those
who are involved, and even if we ourselves were not involved,
with our world-wide ramifications of trade and finance, we
could not fail to be involved in the consequences of war and
the destruction of life and property which sooner or later
must react upon ourselves. The problem, then, is how are