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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

308 ._____________________---------------------------------       .,
doubt, will carry the mark of it for the rest of our days.
Necessarily, the weight fell heavier upon some shoulders
than others. While all bore their part, I would like here and
now to pay an especial tribute of gratitude and praise to the
man upon whom fell the first brunt of those decisions which
had to be taken day by day, almost hour by hour. The
calmness, patience, and wisdom of the Foreign Secretary, and
his lofty conception of his duty, not only to this country but
to all humanity, were an example to us all, and sustained
us all through the trials through which we have been
passing.
" Before I come to describe the Agreement which was
signed at Munich in the small hours of Friday morning last, I
would like to remind the House of two things which I think
it is very essential not to forget when those terms are being
considered. The first is this : We did not go there to decide
whether the predominantly German areas in the Sudetenland
should be passed over to the German Reich. That had been
decided already. Czechoslovakia had accepted the Anglo-
French proposals. What we had to consider was the method,
the conditions and the time of the transfer of the territory.
The second point to remember is that time was one of the
essential factors. All the elements were present on the spot
for the outbreak of a conflict which might have precipitated
the catastrophe. We had populations inflamed to a high
degree; we had extremists on both sides ready to work up
and provoke incidents; we had considerable quantities of
arms which were by no means confined to regularly organised
forces. Therefore, it was essential that we should quickly
reach a conclusion, so that this painful and difficult operation
of transfer might be carried out at the earliest possible moment
and concluded as soon as was consistent with orderly pro-
cedure, in order that we might avoid the possibility of some-
thing that might have rendered all our attempts at peaceful
solution useless.
" The House will remember that when I last addressed
them I gave them some account of the Godesberg Memoran-
dum, with the terms of which I think they are familiar. They
will recollect also that I myself at Godesberg expressed frankly
my view that the terms were such as were likely to shock