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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

280_______________________________________
finally, we could attempt to find a peaceful settlement by way
of mediation. The first of those courses we rejected. We had
no treaty liabilities to Czechoslovakia. We always refused to
accept any such obligation. Indeed, this country, which does
not readily resort to war, would not have followed us if we
had tried to lead it into war to prevent a minority from
obtaining autonomy, or even from choosing to pass under
some other Government.
" The second alternative was also repugnant to us. How-
ever remote this territory may be, we knew, of course, that
a spark once lighted there might give rise to a general confla-
gration, and we felt it our duty to do anything in our power to
help the contending parties to find agreement. We addressed
ourselves to the third course, the task of mediation. "We
knew that the task would be difficult, perhaps even perilous,
but we felt that the object was good enough to justify the
risk, and when Lord Runciman had expressed his willingness
to undertake our mission, we were happy to think that we
had secured a mediator whose long experience and well-known
qualities of firmness, of tact, and of sympathy gave us the best
hopes of success. That in the end Lord Runciman did not
succeed was no fault of his, and we, and indeed all Europe,
must ever be grateful to him and to his staff for their long and
exhausting efforts on behalf of peace, in the course of which
they gained the esteem and the confidence of both sides.
" On 2ist September Lord Runciman addressed a letter to
me reporting the results of his mission. That letter is printed
in the White Paperóit is document No. ióbut perhaps I
may conveniently mention some of the salient points of his
story. On yth June the Sudeten German Party had put
forward certain proposals which embodied the eight points
of Herr Henlein's speech at Carlsbad on 24th April. The
Czechoslovak Government, on their side, had embodied their
proposals in a draft Nationality Statute, a Language Bill, and
aa Administrative Reform Bill. By the middle of August it
had become clear to Lord Runciman that the gap between
these two proposals was too wide to permit of negotiations
between the parties on that basis. In his capacity as mediator,
he was successful in preventing the Sudeten German Party
from closing the door upon further negotiations, and he was