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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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Germans, and that if the deadlock were not speedily broken,
the German Government might intervene in the dispute, we
were confronted with three alternative courses: we could
have threatened to go to war with Germany if she attacked
Czechoslovakia, or we could stand aside and let matters take
their course, or, finally, we could attempt to find a peaceful
solution through mediation. The first course was rejected,
and I do not believe there was then, or that there is now, any
considerable body of opinion in this country which would
have been prepared to support any other decision. We had
no treaty liabilities to Czechoslovakia; we had always
refused to accept any such obligations.
" The second alternative was also repugnant to us, and,
realising that once hostilities had broken out they might
spread very far, we felt it our duty to do anything in our
power to find means of avoiding conflict, and, accordingly, we
adopted the third course, that of mediation. I need not recall
all the circumstances which led up to the final settlement
arrived at on 29th September at Munich. I would only say
that in the conditions of that time, and having regard to the
alternatives open to us, I have no doubt that the course we
took was right, and I believe it has received the approval
of the vast majority of world opinion. The settlement has not
proved to be final. The State which under that settlement we
hoped might begin a new and more stable career, has become
disintegrated. The attempt to preserve a State containing
Czechs, Slovaks, as well as minorities of other nationalities, was
liable to the same possibilities of change as was the Constitu-
tion which was drafted when the State was originally framed
under the Treaty of Versailles. And it has not survived. That
may or may not have been inevitable, and I have so often heard
charges of breach of faith bandied about which did not seem to
me to be founded upon sufficient premises, that I do not wish
to associate myself to-day with any charges of that character.
" But I am bound to say that I cannot believe that anything
of the kind which has now taken place was contemplated by
any of the signatories to the Munich Agreement at the time
of its signature. The Munich Agreement constituted a
settlement, accepted by the four Powers and Czechoslovakia,
of the Czechoslovak question. It provided for the fixation