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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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Of course, I have only been able to look at a tiny fraction of
them, but I have seen enough to know that the people who
wrote did not feel that they had such a cause for which to fight,
if they were asked to go to war in order that the Sudeten
Germans might not join the Reich. That is how they are
feeling. That is my answer to those who say that we should
have told Germany weeks ago that, if her army crossed the
border of Czechoslovakia, we should be at war with her. "We
had no treaty obligations and no legal obligations to Czecho-
slovakia and if we had said that, we feel that we should have
received no support from the people of this country.
" There is something else which I fancy hon. Members are a
little too apt to forget. They often speak of the British Empire.
Do they always remember how deeply and how vitally the
great self-governing nations of the British Empire are affected
by the issues of peace and war ? You may say that we are the
country that is directly affected in such a case as that which we
are considering, but must not the very loyalty of the Dominions
to the Empire, their consciousness of their sympathy, make
them feel that where the mother country stands they would
wish to stand, too. They have a right to be brought into con-
sultation before we take a step which may have incalculable
consequences for them. Although it is not for me to speak
for them, I say that it would have been difficult to convince
them that we should have been justified in giving such an
assurance as has been suggested.
" I am told that if you were not prepared to put the issue of
peace and war out of the hands of this country .and into some-
one else's hands in that way, you should have told Czecho-
slovakia long ago that in no circumstances would you help
her and that she had better make the best terms she could with
the Sudetens or with Germany. Was the issue as simple as
that ? Consider France, who was under Treaty obligations to
Czechoslovakia to go to her assistance by virtue of her Treaty.
Were we to say that we would not go to the assistance of
France if in consequence she became involved in conflict with
Germany ? If so, we should have been false to our own
obligations. Therefore, it would not have been enough for us
to tell Czechoslovakia that we would have nothing to do with
her and that she must make the best terms she could. It