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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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as a further contribution towards preserving peace in Europe,
now undertake new and specific commitments in Europe, and
in particular such a commitment in relation to Czecho-
slovakia. I think it is right that I should here remind the
House what are our existing commitments, which might lead
to the use of our arms for purposes other than our own
defence and the defence of territories of other parts of the
British Commonwealth of Nations. They are, first of all, the
defence of France and Belgium against unprovoked aggression
in accordance with our existing obligations under the Treaty
of Locarno, as reafiirmed in the arrangement which was
drawn up in London on ipth March, 1936. We have also
obligations by treaty to Portugal, Iraq and Egypt. Those
are our definite obligations to particular countries.
" There remains another case in which we may have to
use our arms, a case which is of a more general character but
which may have no less significance. It is the case arising
under the Covenant of the League of Nations which was
accurately defined by the former Foreign Secretary when he
said:
" * In addition, our armaments may be used in bringing
help to a victim of aggression in any case where in our judg-
ment it would be proper under the provision of the Covenant
to do so.'
The case might, for example, include Czechoslovakia. The
ex-Foreign Secretary went on to say:
" * I use the word " may " deliberately, since in such an
instance there is no automatic obligation to take military
action. It is moreover right that this should be so, for nations
cannot be expected to incur automatic military obligations
save for areas where their vital interests are concerned/
His Majesty's Government stand by these declarations. They
have acknowledged that in present circumstances the ability
of the League to fulfil all the functions originally contemplated
for it is reduced; but this is not to be interpreted as meaning
that His Majesty's Government would in no circumstances
intervene as a member of the League for the restoration of
peace or the maintenance of international order if circum-