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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

394--------------------------------------           •   '------------------
THE PRIME MINISTER : " The hon. Member says * You
destroyed it.' Of course it is part of the old political stock-
in-trade of his Party to say that the League of Nations has
been killed by the action of the present Government, but I
think that the historian of the future, who will perhaps look
upon events with a somewhat more impartial eye, will recall
that in the crisis of the League of Nations there was no
country which sacrificed so much, which took such risks,
which incurred such obloquy and which made such efforts
to carry out the methods which were contemplated by the
constitution of the League, as did this country. He will
remember that striking phrase which was used by my right
hon. Friend the Home Secretary (Sir Samuel Hoare) when
he said that no country but this had moved a ship, or a gun,
or a man. Perhaps the historian will come to the conclusion
that if the League failed to carry through the policy of
sanctions, then it was not due to the action or inaction of this
country, and indeed that blame cannot be attached to any one
country or any group of countries in that connection, but the
real explanation was that it had been sought to impose upon
the League a talk which was completely beyond its powers.
I do not despair of the view that the Party opposite may
presently arrive at the conclusion that the only chance that
the League has of becoming again an effective factor in the
preservation of peace will be when it has abandoned the
idea that peace can be imposed by force.
" The change I observed, however, was not confined to
the Opposition. The change was visible in all parts of the
Committee, and certainly it was very remarkable that when
my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was
putting before the Committee the amazing figures which are
contemplated in the defence expenditure of the coming year,
the attitude of hon. Members appeared almost to show an
indifference, an apparent indifference, to the tremendous
significance of the figures, and it was only when he came to
that part of his speech in which he told the Committee how
he proposed to divide the expenditure between revenue and
borrowing that what used to be called * a certain liveliness *
became apparent. I am aware that conclusions have been
dwwn frpRJ what my right hon. Friend then said $9\it thi§