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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

" I want to turn to another aspect of the consequences that
flow, I will not say from the Munich Agreement, but from the
events which led up to it. The House will remember that
when I spoke last, on 6th October, I told hon. Members that I
was proposing to make a thorough and complete review of
our civil and military defences, in order to see what errors and
deficiencies might have been revealed and to take the necessary
steps to make them good. On the civil side that review has
been made, and, of course, it has shown what, indeed, was well
known before, that our preparations were far from complete.
All the same, I am of opinion that, if they had been put to the
test, they would have been shown to have worked a great
deal better than many people seem to suppose from the
accounts of the deficiencies which were in fact shown up. This
country, sometimes, is rather slow to get to work, but, when
it does get to work, it works in double quick time; and the
amount of work which was actually carried out, and efficiently
carried out, during the crisis, is, I think, an indication that
these air-raid precautions would not have been the complete
and utter failure which some seem to think they would
have been. I need not go further into that matter now, since
it is to be the subject of a Vote of Censure, I understand,
in a couple of days' time. What seems to me to be of much
more interest to the general public than the question as to
what blame should be attributed and where, is what is going
to be done now, in order that there may be no cause for
blame in the future. We had our warning ; we had some sort
of rehearsal; and we are in a position now to get a better
picture of the whole situation than we were before. I think the
House will probably like me to give them some short account
of the measures by which we are proposing to deal with
air-raid precautions in the future.
" We have come to the conclusion that the whole subject
of air-raid precautions has assumed such gigantic proportions,
and has developed such complexity, that the burden is really
too great to be imposed upon the Home Office in addition to
its ordinary duties. We want a separate Minister with special
administrative and organising experience, who could devote
his whole attention to this subject. Accordingly, I invited
my right hon. Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities