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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

322   ---------_------------------------------------------------------_-------.
rumours current in a portion of the Press that it is intended
to have a General Election at an early date. It is evident
that some hon. Members do not desire a General Election;
they are anxious, and, if I may say so, suspicious of my
intentions. It is not usual for a Prime Minister to give long
notice of the date when he proposes that a General Election
should take place, but on this occasion I will say this. I do
not want a General Election now, although I cannot agree
with my right hon. Friend, if I may still call him so, the
Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill)-------"
MR. CHURCHILL : " If I am not unworthy/*
THE PRIME MINISTER: "------that it would be consti-
tutionally indecent; but I have two reasons why I should
prefer not to have a General Election now. One is that that
feeling of relief and thankfulness, which everyone knows has
been so conspicuous, goes far beyond the reach of any party.
I do not at all want to capitalise a feeling of that kind for the
sake of obtaining some temporary party advantage. The
second reason is this. Hon. Members may have noticed the
tendency of a General Election to magnify differences. It is
possible that we may want great efforts from the nation in the
months that are to come, and if that be so, the smaller our
differences the better. There are only two conditions which
I can see that would lead me to change iny mind. One is if
some new issue arose which I felt required a new mandate
from the country, and the other would be, of course, if I felt
that I had lost die confidence of my supporters. Neither
condition has arisen yet. I have no reason to suppose that
either will arise.
" As regards future policy, it seems to me that there are
really only two possible alternatives. One of them is to base
yourself upon the view that any sort of friendly relations, or
possible relations, shall I say, with totalitarian States are
impossible, that the assurances which have been given to me
personally are worthless, that they have sinister designs and
that they are bent upon the domination of Europe and the
gradual destruction of democracies. Of course, on that
hypothesis, war has got to come, and that is the view—a
perfectly intelligible view—of a certain number of hon. and
right hon. Gentlemen in this House. I am not sure that it is