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430 _____—-----------------------------------------------------
declaration that I made on Friday has been described, in a
phrase so apt that it has been widely taken up? as a cover
note issued in advance of the complete insurance policy.
I myself emphasised its transitional or temporary character,
and the description of it as a cover note is not at all a bad
one so far as it goes; but where I think it is altogether in-
complete is that, while, of course, the issue of a cover note does
imply that it is to be followed by something more substantial,
it is the nature of the complete insurance policy which is
such a tremendous departure from anything which this
country has undertaken hitherto. It does really constitute a
new point—I would say a new epoch—in the course of our
foreign policy.
" The commitments of this country, whether actual or
potential, were stated some time ago by my right hon. Friend
the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) in a
passage which is famous because it so clearly and carefully
expressed the facts. The speech was made in the country.
That was not so very long ago, and I think that if at that time
it had been suggested that we should add to those commit-
ments something affecting a country in the eastern part of
Europe, it would, no doubt, have obtained some limited
amount of support, but it certainly would not have commanded
the approval of the great majority of the country. Indeed, to
have departed from our traditional ideas in this respect so far
as I did on behalf of His Majesty's Government on Friday
constitutes a portent in British policy so momentous that I
think it is safe to say it will have a chapter to itself when the
history books come to be written.
" The right hon. Gentleman alluded just now to some mis-
understanding of the meaning of that declaration. I confess
that I was myself surprised that there should be any misunder-
standing, for I thought it was clear and plain for all who
run to read. Of course, a declaration of that importance is
not concerned with some minor little frontier incident; it is
concerned with the big things that may lie behind even a
frontier incident. If the independence of the State of Poland
should be threatened—and if it were threatened I have no
doubt that the Polish people would resist any attempt on
it—then the declaration which I made means that France