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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

140_________________________________________      .
we to achieve this purpose of maintaining peace in a world in
which conditions are constantly changing and in which, there-
fore, we must from time to time change our own methods in
order to meet new situations as they arise ?
" For a long time a majority of the people of this country
cherished the belief that in the League of Nations we had
found an instrument which was capable of enforcing and
maintaining peace. Some recent words of mine have, in some
quarters, been taken to mean that there has been a sudden
change in the attitude of His Majesty's Government, not only
to that thesis that the League could give us security, but to the
League itself; that we had thrown over the League and that
we had abandoned it as one of the principal elements in our
policy. I do not deny that my original belief in the League
as an effective instrument for preserving peace has been
profoundly shaken. That arises from the present condition
of the League itself. But it has not arisen from any recent
events. As long ago as June, 1936, speaking in London, I
referred to the failure of the policy of collective security to
prevent war, to stop war once it had begun, or to save the
victims of aggression. I went on to say:
" * There is no reason why, because the policy of collective
security, in the circumstances in which it was tried, has failed,
we should, therefore, abandon the idea of the League and give
up the ideals for which the League stands. But if we have
retained any vestige of common sense, surely we must admit
that we have tried to impose upon the League a task which
was beyond its powers to fulfil.'
I have not changed the views that I expressed nearly two years
ago. I have not ceased to believe in the possibility that the
League might be so revivified and so strengthened as to serve
as an effective instrument for the preservation of peace. But
I say that is not the position to-day. It is interesting to
observe that while I have not changed my views, others, who
did not share them at the time, have since come round to my
way of thinking. Let me quote a few words from a journal
published not many weeks ago :
"c The League has, for the moment, ceased to be an
instrument of collective security. It remains as a useful