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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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" T BEG to move,
JL " ' That this House approves the results of the recent
Anglo-Italian conversations as contained in the Agreement
signed at Rome on i6th April, 1938.'
" To this Motion the Opposition have put down what, I
think, is generally known as a reasoned Amendment. Any
really impartial person who reads the terms of the Amendment
will see that there is mighty little reason in it. It appears that
the very idea of making any agreement with Italy arouses such
violent emotions in the breasts of hon. and right hon. Gentle-
men opposite that they lose all sense of reality and are tempted
to commit themselves to assertions about the contents of the
Agreement which have no warrant whatever in the actual
terms. In these circumstances I am disposed to treat this
Amendment as merely an emphatic manner of saying ' No/
and I do not propose to say any more about it It seems to me
that the best answer is not so much to be found in dissecting
these overstatements and misstatements as in giving to the
House the reasons why the Government are proposing to ask
the House to say * Yes/
" I do not think that it will be necessary for me this after-
noon to delve very deeply into past history, but, at the same
time, if we are to obtain a proper consideration of the Agree-
ment, I think it is an essential preliminary that I should say
something about the conditions which prevailed before it was
signed. I suppose it was inevitable that the termination of the
Abyssinian affair, ending as it did in the conquest of Abyssinia
and in the failure of collective action to produce the results
which had been intended, should leave behind it a great deal of
bitterness and resentment on both sides* By the Autumn of
1936 the relations between this country and Italy had become
so unsatisfactory and even so dangerous that it was felt to be
necessary to make some effort to improve them. Since it was
in the region of the Mediterranean Sea that the interests of the