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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

414 ------------------------------------------------------------------------
quietly, because I gave little expression to feeling, therefore
my colleagues and I did not feel strongly on the subject. I
hope to correct that mistake to-night.
" But I want to say something first about an argument
which has developed out of these events and which was used
in that debate, and has appeared since in various organs of the
Press. It has been suggested that this occupation of Czecho-
slovakia was the direct consequence of the visit which I paid
to Germany last autumn, and that, since the result of these
events has been to tear up the settlement that was arrived at at
Munich, that proves that the whole circumstances of those
visits were wrong. It is said that, as this was the personal
policy of the Prime Minister, the blame for the fate of Czecho-
slovakia must rest upon his shoulders. That is an entirely
unwarrantable conclusion. The facts as they are to-day
cannot change the facts as they were last September. If I
was right then, I am still right now. Then mere are some
people who say: * We considered you were wrong in
September, and now we have been proved to be right/
" Let me examine that. When I decided to go to Germany
I never expected that I was going to escape criticism. Indeed,
I did not go there to get popularity. I went there first and
foremost because, in what appeared to be an almost desperate
situation, that seemed to me to offer the only chance of averting
a European war. And I might remind you that, when it was
first announced that I was going, not a voice was raised in
criticism. Everyone applauded that effort. It was only
later, when it appeared that the results of the final settlement
fell short of the expectations of some who did not fully appre-
ciate the facts—it was only then that the attack began, and
even then it was not the visit, it was the terms of settlement
that were disapproved.
" Well, I have never denied that the terms which I was able
to secure at Munich were not those that I myself would have
desired. But, as I explained then, I had to deal with no new
problem. This was something that had existed ever since the
Treaty of Versailles—a problem that ought to have been solved
long ago if only the statesmen of the last twenty years'had
taken broader and more enlightened views of their duty. It
had become like a disease which had been long neglected, and