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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

not able to say what he is going to say on the 26th of this
month.
" No one who has watched the growing expenditure on
armaments can doubt that the Chancellor of the Exchequer
has before him a difficult and unenviable task, and no one
questions, I think, the determination of this people to see this
business of rearmament through, recognising as we must
that it is our best security against war, that of all sacrifices
none is so terrible as those of war. You may have read that
at the beginning of this week we had in the House of Commons
a debate, a rather lively debate, on foreign affairs. That
was only the last of a whole series of debates on that subject,
and, although we are told nowadays that people do not read
of what goes on in the House of Commons, I cannot help
thinking that the general outlines of the Government's foreign
policy are fairly freely read.
" We are bound by certain treaties, entered into with general
approval, to go to the assistance of France and of Belgium in
the event of unprovoked aggression against either of those
two countries. But we have declined to commit ourselves
to a similar undertaking in respect of other countries farther
away, in which our vital interests are not concerned to the
same extent, and which might be involved in war under
conditions over which we would have no control. Now it is
quite true that in these days no one can say where or when a
war will end once it has begun, or what Governments may
ultimately be entangled in a dispute which originally might
have been confined to some remote corner of Europe. But
at least we ought to reserve to ourselves the right to say
whether we consider it necessary to enter into such a war or
not, and we ought not to hand over to others the determination
of our action when it might involve such tremendous conse-
quences to ourselves*
" Sometimes we are told that if only we took a bolder
course, if we were to lay down here and now precisely the
circumstances in which we would or would not go to war, we
should give such a warning to the world that there would
in fact be no war. That would be a gamble, and it would
be a gamble not with money, but with the lives of men,
women and children of our own race and blood. I am not