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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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a world conference. Mr. Noel-Baker, in deploring the loss to our
defences " ofi-poo^ooo Czechoslovak soldiers^ 1000 Czechoslovak
aircraft^ 3000 modern Russian aircraft^ 2000 Russian tanks and
a vast Russian mechanised armyj* -went so far as to say that the
Pact the Prime Minister had signed with Herr Hitler had
" committed us never to take part in any collective action against
aggression again" At the end of a four-days' Debate, on
6th October j Mr. Chamberlain replied for the Government.
" The Leader of the Opposition remarked a few minutes
ago that in his view the four days which have been occupied
in these discussions have been fully justified. Although I
confess that I did not share his view before the Debate began,
that three days was too little, I must say, having listened
to a great part of it, that I feel inclined to agree with him and
to say that it was worth while to carry on our discussion
for another day, if only for this reason. It seems to me that
as the Debate has progressed, so has the general tone of it
tended to leave more passionate aspects and more partisan
aspects of the problems on one side and to approach a more
serious and more thoughtful review of the situation. There
is a great contrast between the speech to which we have just
listened and some of the speeches from the Front Opposition
Bench to which we listened only a day or two ago. I suppose
that, in discussing recent events in which I have taken a
prominent part, it was inevitable that the speeches should take
a somewhat personal tone, and, indeed, I do not remember a
Debate in which there were so many allusions to a single
Minister, some of them complimentary—for which I am sin-
cerely grateful—and some of them which could not be
described by that name. I have been charged with cowardice,
with weakness, with presumption, and with stupidity. I have
been accused of bringing the country to the edge of war, and
I have been denied the merit of having snatched it back to
safety.
" It seems to me that some of those who threw these accusa-
tions across the Floor of the House have very quickly for-
gotten the conditions of last week, and the thoughts and the
emotions which then filled our minds and hearts. Anybody
who had been through what I had to go through day after day.