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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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powers with the two parties in Czechoslovakia in the hope of
inducing them to settle their differences. When that failed,
still pursuing our policy of conciliation, we suggested to
them that they should make use of the services of Lord
Runciman as mediator, and thereafter Lord Runciman devoted
all his time and his great gifts to the task of bringing the two
parties together.
" No doubt you recollect the incidents which brought
Lord Runciman's mission to a standstill. From that moment
the situation became one of increasing gravity till at last not
only His Majesty's Government, but all the peoples of the
world found themselves on the very brink of the abyss. It
is needless to relate now the steps that were taken, even at
the eleventh hour, to avert disaster. What I want to stress
to you is this: Peace was not saved by words, not even
by Notes ; it was saved by action.
" Now that the crisis is over, it is very easy to find fault
with the solution, but the fact is that in the situation with
which we had to deal, it was not possible to present the ideal
solution as the alternative to force. We were dealing with
a situation which had arisen from forces which had been set
in motion nearly twenty years before, and the surgeon who
has to deal with long-neglected wounds or disease must cut
more swiftly and more deeply than he who is dealing with the
first symptoms. If the settlement at Munich imposed upon
Czechoslovakia a fate which arouses our natural sympathy
for a small State and for a proud and brave people, yet we
cannot dismiss in silence the thought of what the alternative
would have meant to the peoples not only of Czechoslovak^
but of all the nations that would have been involved. I have
no shadow of doubt in my mind that what we did was right.
In doing it we have earned the gratitude of the vast majority
in Europe and even in the world.
" Now you would make a great mistake if you thought that
Munich began and ended with a settlement of the Czecho-
slovak question. On the day after the conference was ended
I had a long conversation with the German Chancellor, at
the close of which we issued a joint declaration, and I should
like, with your permission, to read to you the three paragraphs
of which it was composed, because it does not seem to me