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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

-----------------------------------------------------..                   145
stances were such as to make it appropriate for them to do so.
And I cannot but feel that the course and development of any
dispute, should such unhappily arise, would be gready
influenced by the knowledge that such action as it may be in
the power of Great Britain to take will be determined by
His Majesty's Government of the day in accordance with the
principles laid down in the Covenant.
" The question now arises, whether we should go further.
Should we forthwith give an assurance to France that, in the
event of her being called upon by reason of German aggression
on Czechoslovakia to implement her obligations under the
Franco-Czechoslovak Treaty, we would immediately employ
our full military force on her behalf? Or, alternatively,
should we at once declare our readiness to take military action
in resistance to any forcible interference with the independence
and integrity of Czechoslovakia, and invite any other nations,
which might so desire, to associate themselves with us in such
a declaration ?
" From a consideration of these two alternatives it clearly
emerges that under either of them the decision as to whether
or not this country would find itself involved in war would
be automatically removed from the discretion of His Majesty's
Government, and the suggested guarantee would apply
irrespective of the circumstances by which it was brought
into operation, and over which His Majesty's Government
might not have been able to exercise any control. This
position is not one that His Majesty's Government could see
their way to accept, in relation to an area where their vital
interests are not concerned in the same degree as they are in
the case of France and Belgium; it is certainly not the position
that results from the Covenant. For these reasons His
Majesty's Government feel themselves unable to give the
prior guarantee suggested.
" But while plainly stating this decision I would add this.
Where peace and war are concerned, legal obligations are not
alone involved, and, if war broke out, it would be unlikely
to be confined to those who have assumed such obligations.
It would be quite impossible to say where it would end and
what Governments might become involved. The inexorable
pressure of facts might well prove more powerful than formal