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machine for international collaboration in the cause of peace,
and it supplies a means of conciliation by which disputes
between its members can be peacefully adjusted. But as a
method of enforcing peace and restraining aggression, the
League, in practice, no longer exists. It may be restored
and revived, but the facts to-day have to be faced to-day.*
Do hon. Members opposite accept that statement of the
position ? *'
HON. MEMBERS : " No/'
COLONEL WEDGWOOD : " Certainly not."
THE PRIME MINISTER : " I am sure they recognise the
source from which I have drawn those words. They might,
indeed, have come from a speech of my own, but, as a matter
of fact, they are drawn from a leading article, and, I think
in the circumstances, I should say a courageous article, in the
Daily Herald. I hope hon. Members opposite will be prepared
to accept from their own organ what, perhaps, I could hardly
expect them to accept from me, and that they will be willing
to face to-day these hard facts. Since I am looking now, not
for differences, but for agreement, may I not hope that hon.
Members opposite will also agree with me that the best thing
we could do for the League would be to nurse it back to health,
not only because its original aims were right, but because, if
only we could make it wide enough and strong enough to
fulfil the functions for which it was originally designed, it
might yet become the surest and most effective guarantee for
peace that the world has yet devised ?
" It may be contended that I am giving too restricted an
interpretation of the phrase c collective security.* After all,
for practical purposes it is not necessary for collective security
to ensure the co-operation of every one of the 58 nations
which still remain members of the League, provided that we
can get the co-operation of a sufficient number to present
a front of overwhelming power to any potential aggressor.
Indeed, it might plausibly be argued that to deal with a
smaller number of nations and to dispense with the some-
what slow and cumbrous machinery of Geneva might be
a way of dealing with the problem of the lightning strokes of
modern warlike operations, far simpler than the older
method of collective security through the League as a whole.