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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

" QHORTLY before the House adjourned at the end of
^ July I remember that some questions were addressed
to me as to the possibility of summoning the House before the
time arranged, and during the Recess, in certain eventualities.
Those eventualities referred to possible developments in
Spain. But the matter which has brought us together to-day
is one which even at that time was already threatening, but
which, I think, we all hoped would find a peaceful solution
before we met again. Unhappily those hopes have not been
fulfilled. To-day we are faced with a situation which has had
no parallel since 1914.
" To find the origins of the present controversy it would
be necessary to go back to the constitution of the State of
Czechoslovakia with its heterogeneous population. No
doubt at the time when it was constituted, it seemed to those
then responsible that it was the best arrangement that could
be made in the light of conditions as they then supposed them
to exist. I cannot help reflecting that if Article XIX of the
Covenant providing for the revision of the Treaties by agree-
ment had been put into operation, as was contemplated by the
framers of the Covenant, instead of waiting until passion
became so exasperated that revision by agreement became
impossible, we might have avoided the crisis. For that
omission all Members of the League must bear their responsi-
bility. I am not here to apportion blame among them.
" The position that we had to face in July was that a dead-
lock had arisen in the negotiations which had been going on
between the Czechoslovak Government and the Sudeten
Germans and that fears were already entertained that if it
were not speedily broken, the German Government might
presently intervene in the dispute. For His Majesty's Govern-
ment there were three alternative courses that we might have
adopted. Either we could have threatened to go to war
with Germany if she attacked Czechoslovakia, or we could
have stood aside and allowed matters to take their course, or,