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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

282   _______________________________________.
the calling up of reservists, the service of second-year recruits
beyond the beginning of October, when they would normally
have been released, the conscription of labour for the com-
pletion of German fortifications on her Western frontier, and
measures which empowered the military authorities to con-
script civilian goods and services. These measures, which
involved a widespread dislocation of civilian life, could not
fail to be regarded abroad as equivalent to partial mobilisation,
and they suggested that the German Government were deter-
mined to find a settlement of the Sudeten question by the
autumn. In these circumstances His Majesty's Ambassador in
Berlin was instructed, in the middle of August, to point out
to the German Government that these abnormal measures
could not fail to be interpreted abroad as a threatening gesture
towards Czechoslovakia, that they must therefore increase the
feeling of tension throughout Europe, and that they might
compel the Czechoslovak Government to take precautionary
measures on their side. The almost certain consequence would
be to destroy all chance of successful mediation by Lord
Runciman's mission and perhaps endanger the peace of every
one of the great Powers of Europe. This, the Ambassador
added, might also destroy the prospects of the resumption
of Anglo-German conversations. In these circumstances it
was hoped that the German Government might be able to
modify their military measures in order to avoid these dangers.
" To these representations Herr von Bibbentrop replied in
a letter in "which he refused to discuss the military measures
referred to and expressed the opinion that the British efforts in
Prague had only served to increase Czech intransigence. In
face of this attitude His Majesty's Government, through the
Chancellor of the Exchequer, -who happened to be speaking
at Lanark on zyth August, drew attention again to some words
which I had used on 24th March in this House. He declared
that there was nothing to add to or to vary in the statement
which I had made. Perhaps I may just refresh the memories
of hon. Members by reading that statement of 24th March
once again:
" * 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